On April 30th, 2021, the sensational Nigerian rapper and songwriter, Blaqbonez, released his debut album and 6th project Sex Over Love. The album contains 13 songs from genres including Hip-hop, Trap, Afro-fusion, EMO, and R&B. His hit single, Haba, also appeared on the work as a bonus track.
All tracks were produced by BeatByJay, Spax, Blaisebeats, Xquisite Beats, Type 1, and Tuzi. Nasty C, A-Q, Tiwa Savage, Joeboy, Buju, Amaarae, Laycon, PsychoYP, BadBoy Timz, and 1da Banton all featured on the album.
Sex over Love is in stark contrast to the societal norms, ethos and ideology. It is a glimpse into the mind and thought process of the modern-day youth from the standpoint of rebellion against the moral hypocrisy of generations before them. Blaq seeks to demystify the reverence and penetrate the veil of sacredness built around relationships and romance. And the recent events of cheating and paternity frauds fell into his lap. He presents himself as a man who has tried true love, failed and has concluded that casual sex trumps any butterfly in one’s stomach.
From the intro, Novacane, to the outdo, Cynic Route, Blaq presented his arguments in musical style.
Medically, Novacane(or novocaine) is associated with a drug given to people to stop them from feeling pain, especially during an operation on their teeth. Blaqbonez prescribed a dose of this medication to his audience as an opener. It appears to be the only effective way he could have successfully put forward his controversial position about intimate interpersonal relationships, which challenges the superiority of love and places sex over it. He knew the concept of the album was going to ruffle a few feathers, hence, Novacane, to numb the pain. Talk about being intentional! That’s Blaqbonez right there.
In that song, he narrates his journey so far. How he navigates his way to stardom and maintains it up there despite the hate and negative criticisms – “They never happy that I’m back again, they tryna stop me… I just drop my shit and let it advocate” – With the smooth cadence and nice delivery that he is known for, the rapper served every lyric in the song perfectly on a slow, thoughtful hip hop beat. Looking for a piece of chill-out music or one to put on repeat when driving? This is definitely a song for you!
On Heartbreaker, he hired the professionalism of one of the best rappers in Africa, the South-African lyrical maestro; Nasty C. As you might have guessed from the title, the track argues for noncommitment in a lasting relationship. Both rappers glided on the bumpy trap beat produced by the legendary BeatyByJay with the precision of a boss as they channel their inner Indabosky – “I’m a heartbreaker, not a lover”. The Zulu man showed no sign of restraint whatsoever, he understood the assignment and delivered accordingly. He brought his immense knowledge of trap music into the mix and dropped quotables like “I make her touch on her ankle but won’t put a ring on her finger”. A Yoruba Demon is probably somewhere right now, grinning from ear to ear in satisfaction as he sings along to the song.
International collaboration is a big deal for BlaqBonez at this point of his career, the reason why some believe that he could have featured The Black and White crooner on another song, preferably a hardcore rap while others are in tune with Blaq’s decision.
Many listeners will certainly google Amaarae after listening to Bling. She beautified the joint with her sonorous voice and in less than 30 seconds, she left an impression good enough to make anyone check out her music. If you think her verse sounds a lot like soundtracks from Indian movies, don’t fret; you’re not the only one. We were still in the Bollywood dreamland before Buju interjected and gave the verse a soft landing.
Barring the messages, Never Been In Love exudes the same energy as Bling. While the latter addresses luxury possessions and why they are often the point of attraction in relationships rather than true love and affections, the former presents not being in love as a way to avoid the disappointments and pain that come with separation – “If we no dey for inside relationship, we no fit breakup”
The melodious sound of the guitar on Don’t Touch, no doubt, compensated for the harsh, nasal noise BlaqBonez was making with his high notes. However, this was where the album got interesting. The rapper left those following his sermon closely in a world of confusion when he started promising love and devotion to a certain romantic partner – “I know I’ve got commitment issues but I’m willing to try for you”, he even sent out a word of warning to everyone trying to bring harm her way. Was Blaq backing out on his mission or was it just a throwback to when he (BlaqBonez) was still a loverboy? We will find out in the next tracks.
Although Sex over Love was widely accepted by the rapper’s fanbase, it doesn’t take a genius to see through his attempt to appeal to the commercial music market. You’d have to go back in time, to the days of Bad Boy Blaq, if you want to hear him rap. In the meantime, TGF Pussy is a glimpse of what Blaq can do on a hardcore beat. Okwaraji got him back on track as he tried to justify his risque behaviour, this time on a soft guitar emo music beat.
Fendi and BBC (Remix) featured Joeboy and Tiwa Savage respectively. BlaqBonez got extra creative with the Afrobeats. The funky drum line on both songs is a call to the dance floor, especially if you are a stepper yourself. Joeboy’s vocals came in very handy on Fendi as he belts out his verse with the composure of Wizkid. The African Bad Girl has always been known for making an already good song better; BBC (Remix) was not an exception. It is a freaky experience when the Bad Boy links up with the Bad Girl.
An important aspect of living a promiscuous life is having frequent and unlimited enjoyment. On Faaji (Enjoyment), Blaq came through with an enjoyable tune as he collaborates with BadBoy Timz and, 1da Banton.
Zombie is an OG, new school and JJC get together. BlaqBonez got the Headies Lyricist on a Roll award-winning wordsmith and boss; AQ, the BBNaija Lockdown winner; Laycon as well as the amazing PsychoYP on a hard trap song. They all narrated how they journeyed to riches and commitment to making more money. Also, AQ had a few words for rappers beefing him – “you ain’t got the skill or range…”.
On a song titled Best Friend, the rapper teamed up with his best friend, Cheque. Together they made magic on the soulful trap beat as they recounted their success stories and promised to always bring the best out of each other. This song can really get you emotional to the point of crying, like the first time you heard Juice Wrld‘s Lucid Dreams.
In the end, BlaqBonez admitted to being a cynic or maybe an aspiring one as he drew the curtain with a 1:32 minutes outro titled Cynic Route. The song started with the voice of a lady in distress over the phone. Apparently, she was worried because BlaqBonez had not been returning her calls. As a man who values Sex Over Love, the rapper responded with the bluntness of Simon Cowell, “Girl I cannot love you, I just want to fuck you…”. He is truly on the Cynic Route.
Whether or not Blaqbonez‘s perspective on love and sex is right is a question we’d have to leave for moral philosophy. Musically, there is no denying that the Haba crooner delivered one of the best hip hop albums so far this year. Hardcore rap purists might say otherwise, but Sex Over Love is really a solid body of work.