The West African Goat Lp is arguably Paybac Iboro’s best work yet. It is also one of the top-tier projects released this year – so far. The project is introspective, politically conscious, poignant, and revealing. The project serves as an archive of present-day Nigeria for future Nigerians (if the country somehow manages to stay together).
Goat Chop Lion introduces the context and concept of the West African Goat. Think of it as an introductory class in Uni; Chemistry 101. A goat that does the impossible despite the odds stacked against it; “Goat weh dey chop Lion, cause I strong like Iron” in the hook is a reflection of the herculean tasks he underwent.
All men were once boys and all goats were once kids. Talented is a reflection of the life of a naive kid or rookie who is yet to get an epiphany about the realities of life – the hard decisions and sacrifices one must make to achieve their dreams. On the flip side, it is a song of the debauchery lifestyle folks enter after their first big break – like the Yoruba adage goes “the first monies a kid makes is used to buy Akara.”
With Sacrifice comes the long-awaited epiphany. One must sacrifice the things – pleasures and distractions – they love the most to (try) achieve their dreams. Or at least that is the role the song is meant to play on the tracklist, thus closing out The Kid section of the album.
For a metal to be refined and valued, it must go through fire. Land of the Tiff ushers us into The Fire section of the album by first identifying the furnace that refines – and other time destroys – the average Nigerian living in Nigeria.
“Politicians taking everything/N*ggas hit the internet and did the same,” is a cause and (a type of) effect of the furnace. Politicians through their actions have created a chain reaction of mostly negative effects (and justification) which he buttresses with the line “In the jungle with the lion tigers bears wolves/Rather be a f*cking snake than a f*cking prey,” and Monkey See Monkey Do.
This was the turning point of the tape and remains my favourite track on the album. The song ties the album – The Kid and The Goat – sections together. It is also a transition from an introspective to political consciousness – From the individual to the masses.
From this point on he highlights the types of metals the furnace continues to forge; The Story of Hushpuppi (white-collar criminals), Look Me Less (violent criminals), Brother Bartho (the beaten and downtrodden).
The transition back to introspection was then made in Ekeres Song, sharing his pain of loss. Thus closing the chapter on The Fire section of the West African Goat.
Danfo To The Headies introduced us to The Goat section of the West Africa Goat album. A human that has been through the fire and survived will have a change of perspectives; an appreciation for life and its rewards (big or small); acknowledging and accepting one’s demons. Regardless of the curve balls, keep moving towards your goals. Are you tired, broken, or discouraged? Just show up and give your best.
Like it or not, West African Goat is not only solid but also well put together. The concept, the link between the songs and the stories they tell makes it qualify as classical literature such as The Animal Farm, 1989, and my personal favourite To Pimp A Butterfly.
Paybac is well on his way to being an inspiration for 2-3 generations of rappers in this country. A hard pill to swallow, but one doesn’t need a PhD to relate to every single track because it is the life we all live every waking and sleeping hour in Nigeria.