If there is any way to measure a dancehall music then it must be its ability to pull any crowd to dance. Adewale Mayowa Emmanuel aka Mayorkun has shown with this album that he has the right sauce to keep the Nigerian sphere dancing in the years to come. This album is up there with some of the best dance hall sounds of the year. The wise saying of copying people you aspire to be like and watch yourself become it is one valid tale when you think and talk about Maryokun and his Mayor of Lagos Album. When Mayorkun broke into the music scene about a two years ago; people criticized him of copying the musical styles of some musician. Fast forward to 2018 and Mayokun has an album which has a total imprint of his brand on it. He is indeed taking the dancehall musical scene by storm and DMW records is giving good fuel for his rocket.
What makes an album special is the number of unusual songs in the album. Mayorkun is known for his ponpon Afropop sounds and to be honest I was not expecting smoothing new from him but I was surprised. “Drama Queen”, “mofo” and “feelings” intro are two songs that paused my attention because of the diversion of sound, lyrics and production. Mayorkun being himself finds a way to fuse elements from different musicians: from Phyno and Olu-maintain in “Fantacy” to Jason Durello in “Sope”.He does this copy style that he is known for; using it to create a new music with his own style. The slight ill in this album is the increased number of featured artist. This album is more of a feature album with musical weights like Dbanj, Sakodie, Patoranking, Dremo, Perruzzi and Davido in it. Mayorkun may have not produced a five star album but he sure has made a good album for his fans and the world.
Dancehall artist in Nigeria are drawn to two major topics when making music which are money and women. Mayorkun discusses those two and also adds some elements of motivation and discussing societal ill. In “Fantacy”, he talks of a certain lady being his fantasy. He tells the girl that she is beautiful and needs a man with money like him. Teaming up with Ghanaian rap veteran Sakodie, they made the song titled “Jonze”. They sing about loyalty of a female partner in a romantic relationship. They ask a simple question which is: “if I loose all I have in the near future, hope you won’t leave me”? Also teaming up with Patoranking, they sang about an obsessed lady lover who is ready to do anything for them.
Dbanj who makes an appearance in the album with his harmonica, made a usual flirt music with Mayorkun. They talked about flirting with a girl and giving her money in exchange for time. They did this in a three munite song titled “oshepete”. In Tire, Mayokun describes his feelings to a lady and how he makes his heard race after her in deep thoughts. In “Drama Queen” he talks about the societal ill of prostitution describing the ladies who involve in this business. Feelings had him pour his heart out to fans on being broke, hustling and making it because of the supports he has had from friends and family.
In general, this album can be summed as an album which is dominated with stories of love, hustle, women and morals. On a personal level, I love “Feelings” and “Drama Queen” or as I like to call it: “Olosho”.
Fresh, Kidomina and Phantom working with Mayorkun teamed up in making the beats and Engineering of this album. Fresh is a producer who has made 95% of his songs as pon pon sounds and that was highly influential in this album. In an album of about 12 songs, about nine are ponpon tracks except from “Drama Queen” and the song featuring Patoranking which was a konto sound. In the production of Drama Queen, Fresh made a sound that could be traced back to early 20th century when music was still been played with Gramophone. Listening to it made me feel like I was watching a Charlie Chaplin video. I personally applaud his courage by trying something new. In the production of “feelings”, he went full RnB with his sound which for me gives Mayorkun a song to really market outside Nigeria.
“Fantasy” had Kidomina show Mayorkun his skills in production. The sound with is drawn from Makosa and Afro beats has the use of some local production style. It has influences of indigenous Igbo sound especially when he uses the flute interlude. This beat has the highest number of percussion sounds in it with triangle, snare, toms, claps are used with some occasional use of octave sounds. Also the use of flute in the part of the beat that Mayorkun uses Igbo language is just creativity at its raw state. This is because the Igbo people have a serious regard for flutes in their music. Phantom is another producer who added colour to this album with production. His ponpon sound sounded totally different because of the way he uses his instrument. The string lead instrument used in this song has close relation to Chinese guitar sounds. He kept it simple and Sakodie helped him give the song a supersonic feel with his rap verse.
Possible Hits and Flops
All the songs in this album have the possibility to become hits but depends on the level of promotion given to each song. “Fantacy” and “Jonze me” are songs that will turn up any dance floor any day anytime. “Feelings” and “Drama Queen” are songs that anybody can play while driving through a calm road and get lost in the music.
“Mofo” is a song that may not be generally accepted because of the konto sound. However, if this song is promoted in the right areas and radios in Nigeria; there is huge possibility of becoming a song for Nigerian and Caribbean music lovers. The other songs such as “red handed”, “Oshepete”, Sope and Tire will always get a crowd dancing whenever a DJ mixes it in his play list.