Terry tha Rapman released a new album a decade after his debut album, Boiz Are Not Smilin’. It seems the OG and the entire production crew finally cracked the puzzle to creating a localised hip-hop sound for Northern Nigeria. They found a way to fuse hardcore hip-hop beat with a local sound that softens it enough for commercial consumers without compromising its hardcore appeal.

The project touches on several topics from the 1st and 3rd persons’ perspectives. 10 producers were involved in the creation of this superb 11 track tape, they all didn’t sound far off from each other. Kudos!

The album opener exposed the heightened sense of awareness of the average Nigerian due to high insecurity in the country. Just a question and he was all about “You trynna rob me?”. The average citizen now treat questions from strangers with suspicion. We are almost all guilty of this reaction to strangers because there is no crime that cannot be committed in broad daylight in Nigeria. You are always almost your first and last line of defense against crime.

The humanity left in him allowed him to keep these thoughts to himself. He was polite and answered the questions. Tough times and creating tough people. The song that followed is just the hook, line, and sinker every fisherman (hobbyist and professional) needs for a good catch or haul. The beat blended the sample with the brass and percussions at the right sequences, each of them enjoying somewhat of a solo.

The progression of these instruments cannot not be noticed as it softly bounces off the drums the entire track was laid on. It was almost like EX O had a “Hold my beer” moment and delivered a smooth cocktail that was garnished with not just good lyrics but one of the smoothest flow and delivery out there.

The nepotism and na my person culture in the music industry was talked about in Lagos (City of Dreamz) with his long-time friend and producer, Pherowshuz. He also left in a word or two for music critics and gave AQ a shout for the amazing work he did with God’s Engineering. It might be early to say, but AQ‘s God’s Engineering caused a shift in the Naija hip-hop paradigm. You can stay true to hardcore and make good revenue without compromising for commercial sound and lyrics. Kinda like the underground finally broke out.

A bit of advice from the OG on Bans Is the Motto, about not balling on loans and staying true to your grind, regardless of the challenges you might face. Jan Wuya really came upfront with the local sound, he unleashed his flows and showed off his breath control in the song. He made it known that the flows displayed were intentional when he likened himself to Rakim. Legend of Bayajiddah was a Bar fest, crazy wordplays, and a sprinkle of humour. Mo ma fuck eh up like a bad haircut had me looking into space for a while thinking how someone could come up with that rhyme set.

Paybac left his mark on Danny Shittu. Give that man his flowers, especially Oluwa Heavy L for a great production. The song had this darkness and horror type of sound, reminds one of the Three 6 Mafia. The OG subtly moved the topic from regular Lagos life to that of an oppressed Nigerian. He called out Nigerians to not give up the fight and we need to go beyond Twitter. The #LekkiMassacre was a suppression tactic, but the truth is we will never get change or freedom by sticking to Twitter. The way I see it, Twitter without action is like praying without taking action.

Feel Good with Marvis shifted the discourse to lust, and I have to say Blaise did great on both the beat and the production. Marvis was at home on the beat and she sounds very much like Dej Loaf. She held her own in the lustful song and her vocal presence is certain to get her to the top. Ginger, a love jam, and to me, the most commercial sound in the album. The track is wanting, and it didn’t sit well because I don’t picture myself playing or singing it to my lady.

G.O.A.T Pepper Soup was another lyrical track with humour as he sent out shots to several best rappers in Africa. It reminded me of Royce da 5’9″ in Not Alike, where the new gangsters in music can be robbed at fist point. The same way the OG must have felt when talking about these best rappers. Every song from this point on was hard. His verse on Summer Hijack is sure to be in the 2021 Top Verses of the Year discussion.

With this album, Terry has passed a message that he works out with his pen regularly and he isn’t backing down until the industry pays what he is owed. He showed off his breath control, cadence, flow, rhyme scheme, rhythm, and penmanship. Ol’ Boy still has it!

The album will be decent commercially; it will do great in the North, but the nepotism mentioned in Lagos (City of Dreamz) will make it perform decently in the South. It will never enjoy heavy airplay here in the South, but the album is so good that every hip-hop head will have it and jam it frequently. I guess that is a decent pension for the veteran emcee.

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