In terms of album releases, 2015 has been the year of the men.
The music business has always been an all-boys club, but one that concedes to let in the determined female into its ranks.
This year though, the guys dominated all the major releases.
We bring you our list of the 10 best albums 2015 birthed.
From descending to ascending order.
- Wanted- Wande Coal
Wanted as an album title indicates that the project is so hotly anticipated that its scalding arrival deserves to be printed on asbestos. But Mr Coal’s Wanted does not burn with that kind of white hot flame. It burns brightly, then flickers, misled by an improbable assurance that an audience is assured irrespective of quality of content.
- The Gehn Gehn album- Orezi
The Gehn Gehn Album lives up to its title in some ways. In others, it falls prey to the usual Nigerian album failings; explosive beats, average song writing, uninspired arrangement and an undisciplined length. However when one is willing to forgive that this is after all said and done, a debut album by an artiste struggling for a piece of the pop market after some time in music industry purgatory, what Orezi presents on The Gehn Gehn Album isn’t half bad.
- 2 Kings- Phyno, Olamide
2 Kings sounds like a mix tape, at times, raw and unpolished technically, at other times, it plays like a made for the times slick pop/rap effort, complete with Wizkid collaboration. Phyno and Olamide, now unassailable superstars, do not necessarily have anything fresh to say on this disc, neither do they rejig old inclinations with fresh points of view. They talk the regular; about getting money, upgraded statuses, girls, fast cars, more money, haters, more girls…you get the drift.
- Baba Hafusa- Reminisce
After multiple spins of the album, it turns out the only inspiration tangentially relating to Reminisce’s daughter, Hafusa on this record is financial security. Playing down the wild, untamed, underground hot head of his previous 2 records, Reminisce has taken it upon himself to deliver a record that is as acceptable to mainstream audiences as anything his 2 more successful compatriots (Olamide, Phyno) have done.
6 The Incredible Choc Boi Nation- Choc Boi Nation
TICBN isn’t a shoo-in for album of the year but it plays way better than the average, vanity inspired compilation label. Perhaps in recent times, only the Mo’Hits Curriculum Vitae record and the EME All Stars project, Empire State of Mind can rival it for pure thrill seeking pleasure. It puffs, it floats, it sings, but it doesn’t quite sting.
- Naked- Darey
In terms of cohesion, Naked is more UnDAREYted than Double Darey. He goes full retro and embraces the sounds of days gone past. Perhaps much of the credit for this should go not to Darey, but producer Oscar Heman-Ackah. In this regard, he is assisted by frequent Darey collaborators, Cobhams Asuquo and Vtek. Experimenting with golden highlife melodies, mysterious lyrics, talking drums with a side of Juju, Darey crafts a record that is both fresh and tastes like old wine at the same time.
- Skillz- JJC
Music doesn’t have to be terrible just because it comes packaged in pop coverings and JJC’s Skillz is here to prove that. For an industry big on youth and always on the lookout for the next flavour of the month, Skillz also offers lessons for artistes on how to evolve musically while still retaining that core feel good sound that is necessary to conquer the pop charts. Properly arranged, well written and tidily mixed and mastered, the songs on Skillz point to an artiste who knows exactly what a pop album is about and how to go about putting together a solid one
- Ise Ise Mukan- NNB
The music of NNB is at once a pleasant surprise and welcome departure from the madding crowd of pop music. The band’s debut album Ise ise mu kan is a furious blend of jazz, gospel and afro-soul with a dash of modern hip hop. At 11 tracks long, it knows exactly where to quit and does not overstay its welcome for a single moment. With its sweet, innocent blend of fine indigenous African sounds with western inclinations, Ise ise mukan celebrates the beauty of team work over individual display and elevates it to a subtle, bubbly art form.
- Stories that touch- Falz
Rapper Falz makes his grand entry into the mainstream charts with his sophomore album, Stories that touch, a sweet toothed, good natured collection that showcases his stellar rhyming skills and knack for picking songs with cross over potential.
- Soundbender- Beautiful Nubia
Those who are familiar with the music of Beautiful Nubia and his Roots Resistance Band are certainly not surprised to find him atop this chart. His latest studio release, Soundbender is a vital, vibrant mash up of folklore, reggae, highlife, afro beat, spoken word and Bata. Alive and throbbing with feeling Soundbender, performed in Yoruba and English is a fine, affecting slice of the human experience.