Mixed reactions have trailed Olamide’s 7th studio album, Lagos Nawa since the project hit digital stores during the week. Agreed, the rapper has been known to mostly aim for the singles market, and the lukewarm reaction to this album is atypical for an Olamide album.
On his latest album , we get an Olamide who has become seemingly intent on living by market dictates alone. In fairness to him, the market does dictate what pops. If the rapper has learnt anything from the underwhelming acceptance for his last album, The Glory, perhaps it will be that, giving fans what they want (i.e a hip-hop album with more rap than singing), is not always the solution to staying criticism. The similarly mediocre acceptance for his Eyan Mayweather album, where fans criticised Olamide for veering further into singing and away from rapping, spurred The Glory tilting towards a more hip-hop sounding Olamide. The fail of the concept however comes at the rapper’s attempt to lean into the trap sound unsuited for this thin voice, and average to mediocre collaborations with relatively unknown rappers, who still manage to eclipse Olamide bar-for-bar despite being unremarkable themselves.
Thus, as the rapper sort of confirmed that giving the people a rap album didn’t change his rut with albums, Lagos Nawa became Olamide’s repose to genre-boxing and an attempt to return to doing what he does best: make souless Afropop for the dancefloor. Only problem is, “Lagos Nawa” even further proves to be one of his most disjointed projects till date. That the rapper recorded the 17-track album in 48 hours may be one reason for how the project turned out, but it is also becoming evident that fans hoping for artistic maturity from Olamide may never get it in the near future.
Olamide is a smart artist no doubt, and as he as reassured repeatedly on wax and during interviews, his modus operandi is to make money off rap. In a sense this means the rapper is a goal-driven go-getter who will exploit any means necessary to get his due and thus explains why he would always lean composition methodologies that captures the most amount of ears possible (though not always successfully). But while this is understandable to leaves a widening void in Olamide’s legacy.
Olamide’s repeated failure to deliver solid album strips his entire artistry of an identity worth valuing for years to come. This is in part because part of an artist’s process is often earmarked by how they have reflected growing through the years in the different eras of their music. Because Olamide has been solely focused on the market however, his albums don’t glimpse growth or maturity through the years. There is no story or narrative to hold on to, and thus there is no history to reference. If nothing changes anytime soon, by the time Olamide’s final mic drop comes, we may all be talking in past tense about a YBNL boss who talked a lot but didn’t say anything worth remembering.
Stream Lagos Nawa via Apple Music here.