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Wiley, the 'Godfather' of Grime, Delivers a Flawless "Final" Album

Not a single track on Wiley's 17-song rumoured "final" album, 'Godfather,' is poorly conceived.

It takes bold vision and excellent execution to marshal close to two dozen MCs and as many producers into a cohesive whole. That's just what Wiley has done on his eleventh album Godfather, which is rumoured to be his last.


If it recalls Kanye West’s powers for orchestral machinations, the comparison is not misplaced. The first single “Speakerbox” opens with a snippet from what might have been a recorded interview and finds Wiley asserting that “there's no money record labels can offer us” before opening the verse with the words “I know my name is bigger than I make out."

Brag-swag such as this is indistinguishable from self-aggrandisement, just as when Jay Z asks “what's fifty grand to a motherfucker like me?,” rhetorical in his case, but plain truth-telling in both.

Wiley in grime approximates to Jay Z in hip-hop by way of longevity and sustained respectability. But where Hov seems to hog every watt of limelight shone on him, Wiley’s selflessness and generosity to younger artists—in the form of free studio time, features-as-plugs—should continue to be lauded.

It would take bags of confidence to title a song “No. 1 hit” on an album called The Greatest Yet, but this, in effect, is what Wiley has done with his album's fifth song “Back With a Banger”—an actual banger, which knows it's a banger, and is happy to tell you so. It's meta with the biggest wink.

The one true love song on the album is the most unlikely one, and if it sounds like an endorsement for Apple, it's a brilliant one. But far from it, “Laptop,” is a genuine worship-song for Wiley’s most faithful companion, the MacBook Pro.

It's endearing to see the genre-inventor and iconic figure that he is, pledging fidelity to his tool of trade, rather than casually trumpeting his skills in using it. Even though he sometimes succumbs to that temptation, casually confessing to having “bare records on the wall, it was looking like a New Era shop." The tropical-feel of what must be a xylophone on Zeph Ellis’ trippy beat adds a great deal of warmth to the mostly synths and bass-heavy production on the album

Grime’s growth from an inner city curiosity to an arena selling genre has earned it genuine fans, as well as wave-riders who Ghetts takes pointed aim at on “Bang” when he snarls: “culture vulture they owe us / oh now they know us.”

Ghetts’ delivery is sometimes like a deranged see-saw, which rhythmic beats and song structures only manage to keep in check. This imagined curtailment is not needed on “Bang,” for the zig-zagging of the violin strings perfectly accompany Ghetts’ whirlwind delivery.

The many standout features here all deserve mentions which only few will get. P Money’s verse on “P Money Remix” is a gale of wind when least expected. His verses are high voltage, for which Wiley’s own solid bars double as stabilizers. Most impressive is the absence of any weak songs. Each one is better than the other by degrees and none is poorly conceived.

The brief period between release date and the publication of a review often means giving less consideration to tracks that take longer to digest. “Bait Face” with Scratchy and “My Direction” with Lethal Bizzle are are two of such tracks. Perhaps some new releases deserve two reviews—a first reaction and weeks later a more considered one.

Save for the lush R&B of “U Were Always Pt 2” featuring his chief protégée Skepta and Belly, there aren't concessionary songs to the uninitiated.

For the genuine fans, a majority of the starkly brilliant seventeen songs here are a bounty.

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.

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Introducing OkayAfrica's 100 Women 2020 List

Celebrating African Women Laying the Groundwork for the Future

It would not be hyperbole to consider the individuals we're honoring for OkayAfrica's 100 Women 2020 list as architects of the future.

This is to say that these women are building infrastructure, both literally and metaphorically, for future generations in Africa and in the Diaspora. And they are doing so intentionally, reaching back, laterally, and forward to bridge gaps and make sure the steps they built—and not without hard work, mines of microaggressions, and challenges—are sturdy enough for the next ascent.

In short, the women on this year's list are laying the groundwork for other women to follow. It's what late author and American novelist Toni Morrison would call your "real job."

"I tell my students, 'When you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else."

And that's what inspired us in the curation of this year's list. Our honorees use various mediums to get the job done—DJ's, fashion designers, historians, anthropologists, and even venture capitalists—but each with the mission to clear the road ahead for generations to come. Incredible African women like Eden Ghebreselassie, a marketing lead at ESPN who created a non-profit to fight energy poverty in Eritrea; or Baratang Miya, who is quite literally building technology clubs for disadvantaged youth in South Africa.

There are the builds that aren't physically tangible—movements that inspire women to show up confidently in their skin, like Enam Asiama's quest to normalize plus-sized bodies and Frédérique (Freddie) Harrel's push for Black and African women to embrace the kink and curl of their hair.

And then there are those who use their words to build power, to take control of the narrative, and to usher in true inclusion and equity. Journalists, (sisters Nikki and Lola Ogunnaike), a novelist (Oyinkan Braithwaite), a media maven (Yolisa Phahle), and a number of historians (Nana Oforiatta Ayim, Leïla Sy) to name a few.

In a time of uncertainty in the world, there's assuredness in the mission to bring up our people. We know this moment of global challenge won't last. It is why we are moving forward to share this labor of love with you, our trusted and loyal audience. We hope that this list serves as a beacon for you during this moment—insurance that future generations will be alright. And we have our honorees to thank for securing that future.

EXPERIENCE 100 WOMEN 2020

The annual OkayAfrica 100 Women List is our effort to acknowledge and uplift African women, not only as a resource that has and will continue to enrich the world we live in, but as a group that deserves to be recognized, reinforced and treasured on a global scale. In the spirit of building infrastructure, this year's list will go beyond the month of March (Women's History Month in America) and close in September during Women's Month in South Africa.

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Burna Boy 'African Giant' money cover art by Sajjad.

The 20 Essential Burna Boy Songs

We comb through the Nigerian star's hit-filled discography to select 20 essential songs from the African Giant.

Since bursting onto the scene in 2012 with his chart-topping single, "Like to Party," and the subsequent release of his debut album, L.I.F.E - Leaving an Impact for eternity, Burna Boy has continued to prove time and again that he is a force to be reckoned with.

The African Giant has, over the years, built a remarkable musical identity around the ardent blend of dancehall, hip-hop, reggae, R&B, and afropop to create a game-changing genre he calls afro-fusion. The result has been top tier singles, phenomenal collaborations, and global stardom—with several accolades under his belt which include a Grammy nomination and African Giant earning a spot on many publications' best albums of 2019.

We thought to delve into his hit-filled discography to bring you The 20 Essential Burna Boy Songs.

This list is in no particular order.

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(Photo Illustration by Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Rejoice! WhatsApp Places New Restrictions on Chain Messages to Fight Fake News

To combat the spread of misinformation due to the coronavirus outbreak, users are now restricted from sharing frequently forwarded messages to more than one person.

The rise of the novel coronavirus has seen an increase in the spread of fake news across social media sites and platforms, particularly WhatsApp—a platform known as a hotbed for the forwarding of illegitimate chain messages and conspiracy theories (if you have African parents, you're probably familiar). Now the Facebook-owned app is setting in place new measures to try and curb the spread of fake news on its platform.

The app is putting new restrictions on message forwarding which will limit the number of times a frequently forwarded message can be shared. Messages that have been sent through a chain of more than five people can only subsequently be forwarded to one person. "We know many users forward helpful information, as well as funny videos, memes, and reflections or prayers they find meaningful," announced the app in a blog post on Tuesday. "In recent weeks, people have also used WhatsApp to organize public moments of support for frontline health workers."

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Sarkodie Hits Hard With His Latest Single 'Sub Zero'

The Ghanaian heavyweight rapper shows up with the fire bars over an Altra Nova-produced beat.

Sarkodie has dropped a new aggressive track in the shape of "Sub Zero."

"Sub Zero" follows the star Ghanaian rapper as he throws back criticisms that have come his way from other rappers with his own ice cold flow. The new track was produced by Ghanaian beatmaker Altra Nova and mixed by PEE On Da BeaT.

"Sub Zero" follows Sarkodie's turn-up single "Bumper," which dropped bak in February.

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