Like clockwork, Olamide has put out a new project in anticipation of his annual concert. Lagos Nawa recently went up on digital stores across the internet and first listen reviews are already coming back on the project. So far there seems to be a mix of opinions on how best to approach Olamide’s latest project. For a rapper who is mostly known for his dance-themed party-anthems, Olamide has fulfilled all righteousness over the past 5 years with an annual album release. The idea seems to be an attempt to circle back some of the criticism about his weightless discography with projects, but it would seem a lot of fans are no longer settling for for this formula.
First, a bit of a context. He announced his 7th studio album earlier this month, as prelude to dropping a a monster 17 track collection with “Wo”, as the album’s only pre-released single. His new project Lagos Nawa, attempts to reconnect Olamide’s effervescent romanticisation of Lagos with his sound, as the album is sold with the alternate tag describing the project as a collection of ‘Wobe Sounds’.
Regardless of a bright yellow cover—styled after local Lagos Danfo buses—that may have been indicative of concept for any other artist, Olamide is mostly aloof on his 17 track tape, except when he seems to come up for air on “Shine”, where he branches to sing-song rap, to call out music industry players who undermine the work of the artists themselves. Album title track, “Lagos Nawa” starts off with impressive guitars almost reminiscent of Mr Eazi’s leanings towards a fusion of Afrobeat and Hip-life, but his cluttered delivery almost ruins that harmony.
For anyone looking for the party-starting Olamide we can all settle for if all else fails, the house-inspired “Saysaymarley” and “On a Must Buzz” featuring rapper, Phyno will perhaps suffice. However both songs also suffer from the same hollowness you notice of his music once all topics centered around his aggrandised streets persona and success are removed.
Lagos Nawa is another typically Olamide album, chock-full with party tracks, album fillers and lacking a central narrative that connects the core idea behind the project with anything purposeful. He has been on this annual album crusade for a minute now, but this clear refusal to take past negative feedback of his last three albums into consideration, almost shows a kind of disdain for artistic refinement. Which is almost ironic because Lagos Nawa, does not only fail at rescuing him from his 7-album long rut, it also shows no clear sign that the rapper is concerned about mapping growth, which has been one of the biggest narratives surrounding his yearly album drops.
His long-standing approach to music releases has always been to make whatever the streets will positively accept, but inadvertently this also means he will always peter his sound for popularity points, without regard for carving a long-lasting legacy for himself.
That said, we probably need to stop expecting more from this man, period.