by Wilfred Okiche
‘’Everybody Loves Ice Prince’’, the debut album from Chocolate City rapper Ice Prince Zamani finally arrives amidst the kind of hype and hoopla that would make many an industry veteran green with envy. Is it the best thing to hit the market since M.I sent everyone packing with “Talk About It” or is it just another debut CD? You decide but pray, let us help you do so.
It begins with a thoughtful homage to a lot of the guys that have paved the way (eLDee, Ruggedman) and having dispatched of that, quickly settles into the business of the day, giving us 101 reasons why exactly we love Ice Prince (just in case you had forgotten any). There is a recurring theme in 17-track record and it is that of a local boy making good and living out his dreams. Between the monstrous “Oleku’’ and it’s follow up “Superstar’’, you may have heard the best bits already, which is not saying he does not try to make a complete album.
Not the best lyricist around, he recognizes it and goes the pop route enlisting some of the hottest artistes working today to spice up the dish. There is Wizkid on “Olofofo’’, Samklef on “End of Story ” and Tuface on the playful “Wassup Wassup” and while these top guns play their part, there is as yet no “Aha” moment. Quite formulaic in approach, there is a song for everyone here but the forced attempts at infusing highlife into the mix are glaringly obvious. While the M.I/Flavor collabo “Number One” was fresh and became an instant classic, Ice Prince’s attempts at recreating that kind of magic feel like he is treading a well worn path.
Jesse Jagz takes charge of production and does a superb job making slick, danceable beats that are sure to get you moving. It is music for the time, music for today. Who cares about tomorrow right? Unfortunately we do. Lest we forget, the Choc Boiz reunite for the final track “Thank You” and wrap things up deftly.
As first efforts go, this one is good not great. Lacking the effortless charm of M.I’s classics or the crowd pleasing appeal of “Jagz of All Trades”, It is the weakest of the four records released by the Choc City group so far. And Ice Prince? He will still be known as the guy who gave us “Oleku”.