Audio

Odunsi & Nonso Amadi Are Making Nigerian R&B For The Future

Buzzing Nigerians Odunsi The Engine and Nonso Amadi showcase their outstanding afro-fusion sound in ‘WAR.’

WAR is the bellicose title of this new EP by the most un-bellicose pair, Nonso Amadi and Odunsi The Engine.


On the surface, two good-looking, sweet-voiced singers titling their joint project WAR seems like an attempt to harden a soft image. But then, calling it LOVE would seem like the most obvious thing to do.

All four songs on WAR have one word titles, suggesting singular emotional focus.

The sun-dappled “Oceans” likens cascading emotions to drowning in a sea, which as metaphor would impress any love interest, but in practice should really be discouraged.

The influence of Craig David’s “Rendezvous” can be heard in the light piano arrangement and use of treated vocals on the chorus.

As if not to overstay it’s welcome, “Stay” comes under two minutes and finds the pair imploring a lover not to leave.

Far from simply avoiding conflict, the pair turn out to be pacifist on the titular “War,” ceding much more ground to a lover than the title suggests,“I’ve been waiting for you girl, I’ve been patient for so long” and elsewhere “maybe you could text me later.”

The beat-change on the last 35 seconds may n0t alter the song in any significant way but is a nice touch, if only because it is unexpected. It also, for a moment, brings back the old feel of real surprise when bonus songs, unadvertised, are found on albums.

The most affecting song here is “Don’t.” Rarely do songs about rejection sound like declarations of love but this one does.

On it, a lover is being told “Don’t make me love you, I don’t want to love you” but sung as sweetly and earnestly as Amadi and Odunsi have done, it begins to sound like “make me love you, I want to love you”—also insistent but not quite the same thing.

Sabo Kpade is an Associate Writer with Spread The Word. His short story Chibok was shortlisted for the London Short Story Prize 2015. His first play, Have Mercy on Liverpool Street was longlisted for the Alfred Fagon Award. He lives in London. You can reach him at sabo.kpade@gmail.com

Interview

Sarkodie Is Not Feeling Any Pressure

The elite Ghanaian rapper affirms his king status with this seventh studio album, No Pressure.

Sarkodie is one of the most successful African rappers of all time. With over ten years of industry presence under his belt, there's no question about his prowess or skin in the game. Not only is he a pioneer of African hip-hop, he's also the most decorated African rapper, having received over 100 awards from close to 200 nominations over the span of his career.

What else does Sarkodie have to prove? For someone who has reached and stayed at the pinnacle of hip-hop for more than a decade, he's done it all. But despite that, he's still embracing new growth. One can tell just by listening to his latest album, No Pressure, Sarkodie's seventh studio album, and the follow-up to 2019's Black Love which brought us some of the Ghanaian star's best music so far. King Sark may be as big as it gets, but the scope of his music is still evolving.

Sonically, No Pressure is predominantly hip-hop, with the first ten tracks offering different blends of rap topped off with a handful of afrobeats and, finally, being crowned at the end with a gospel hip-hop cut featuring Ghanaian singer MOG. As far as the features go, Sark is known for collaborating mostly with his African peers but this time around he branches out further to feature a number of guests from around the world. Wale, Vic Mensa, and Giggs, the crème de la crème of rap in America and the UK respectively all make appearances, as well as Nigeria's Oxlade, South Africa's Cassper Nyovest, and his fellow Ghanaian artists Darkovibes and Kwesi Arthur.

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