#YNaija2016Review: New Era, El-Hadj, The Playmaker… See the 10 best albums of the year

by Wilfred Okiche

  1. Mama Africa (Diary of an African Woman)- Yemi Alade

The title is only a ruse for Yemi Alade to thread her influences and copy-catting into a cohesive effort. But at the end of the day Mama Africa is as Nigerian pop as they come, only presented by an artiste with increasing foreign tastes. Azonto, Swahili, Coupe-decale, Juju, Fuji, Miss Alade tries them all and doesn’t always succeed. She deserves credit for effort still.


  1. The Playmaker- Phyno

The Playmaker is a big sprawling, glossy, messy but ultimately worthwhile outing. It is a project that can only come from a star at the peak of his fame, confident that his audience will be quick to forgive his excesses. And they are many. The disc does not aspire to perfection, wears it flaws proudly and seeks legitimacy in its failings. Do not be afraid to be human or to take risks, Phyno seems to be saying. And have fun while at it. The Playmaker is plenty fun.

  1. Frankincense- Frank Edwards

It is near impossible to listen to Frankincense and not come away with a modicum of appreciation for the man who has managed to string together all these influences with his faith and make it work for a mainstream audience ever on the search for cheap thrills. Frankincense is just perfect for its time. Praising God never sounded this rewarding.


  1. El-Hadj- Reminisce

With big name collaborations, slick production work and familiar themes of sex, religion and the hustle, El-Hadj may be Reminisce’s most accessible album yet, a pilgrimage to the mind of the man and his experiences so far. The genuine revelations are few and far between but having arrived without the unnecessary tell all promised teased by last year’s Baba Hafusa, ElHadj still lands with a thud.

  1. God over everything- Patoranking

God Over Everything is an interesting record, reflecting an unlikely choice of direction for an artiste still high on his breakout success. The usual suspects- Wizzypro, E-KellySarz – all contribute to the production but Patoranking shows little inclination to pursue the hit-making tendencies that made him such a successful singles artiste.

  1. Oba Orin- Jaywon

Oba Orin is a fine collection of sounds that reflects Jaywon’s superior talent and the current state of pop music. It is rich, live, refreshing, timely and timeless all at once. Occasionally bewildering, it could have been arranged better and the lengthy track listing cut to a more responsible length. Jaywon may make a bold claim but none can say he doesn’t work for it every step of the way. Only time will tell if he has indeed earned the title.

  1. Klitoris- Brymo

No two songs on Klitoris are quite similar and Brymo confidently stretches himself across a range of sounds and indulgences. The mixing, composition and finish on the album is indeed second to none and one leaves the record instantly itching to relive the experience all over again. There can be no higher praise than that.

  1. Taabaku- Beautiful Nubia

Beautiful Nubia, the alternative artiste and folk hero returns for his twelfth studio merry go round with 2016’s Taabaku, an engaging rich tapestry of sounds that mines the author’s roots in Apala, folklore, Jazz and storytelling. For the newcomers, now is as good a time as any to be initiated into the immersive sounds of Beautiful Nubia and the Roots Renaissance Band. For the cult members, Taabaku represents another wondrous slice of real life.

  1. New Era- Kiss Daniel

Kiss Daniel proves himself a chip off the old block, but one with a style and essence that is all his.New Era is a delightful mix of breezy pop tunes crafted to fly by effortlessly. Hints of old masters (2face, 9ice) are present but Daniel still manages to come across as a refreshing change in a climate coloured by bland homogeneity.

  1. …And the Bass is Queen- Lindsay Abudei

…And the Bass is Queen. demands to be consumed as a whole as the songs segue deftly into the next. Radio will find it difficult identifying one hit single and this, instead of working as a disadvantage, is a testament to how compelling and complete the record is. At just about 50 minutes short, …And the bass is Queen. never outstays its welcome and builds to a deeply satisfying climax. Forget the bass, Lindsay Abudei is Queen.


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