Here is God’s Engineering 2 review! It’s been roughly three years since the infamous split between Gilbert Bani and his bedrock label, Chocolate City. The former, popularly known as A-Q, however, kept his hands operative, veering into several prospects ranging from a music incubator to a music label subsidiary, to a tech company designed specifically for creatives, and to co-execution of live musical events such as the much revered Martell Cyphers.
Indefinitely, A-Q was busier than ever, but as demanding as the musician cum business mogul’s new-found projects seemed to be, he never took his eye off his first love, rap.
In recent years, the consistency of his discography had been lauded by many (a total of four albums and one EP since 2020), and frankly, the appraisals were understandable as this was no easy feat. A-Q pulled this remarkable stunt as a rapper in modern-day Nigeria, a nation that had increasingly grown tone-deaf and weary of the hip-hop genre over the years.
Luckily for hip-hop, its de facto messiah made it an obligation to be on cue (no pun intended), saving a dying music style at a crucial time. Based on his reputation as a headstrong individual, A-Q isn’t one to fold his cards and let his beloved genre fade into the abyss, he isn’t one to rely on popular trends, after all, the man’s default regalia was a formal outlook. In retrospect, what kind of rapper wore a suit to an award show? most certainly, a no-nonsense kind.
The kind to throw a not-so-subliminal jab at a former label boss and collaborator without flinching, the kind that wasn’t afraid to burn bridges albeit formidable ones, the kind that wasn’t afraid to call bullshit when he saw it, that was the kind of badass rapper Gilbert Bani had positioned himself to be in recent years, at least in the sight of his most religious supporters.
In 2022, A-Q released two joint projects, ‘Behold The Lamb’ alongside serial collaborators like LooseKaynon, Blaqbonez, and former label boss M.I. Abaga, and ‘Ethos’ alongside controversial alternative/folk singer, Brymo. Both projects received critical acclaim and marked the third and fourth musical projects he had dropped within the time frame of two years.
Come February 2023, A-Q would announce the second installment to his 2020 solo project, ‘God’s Engineering.’ The rapper had indicated via his social media platforms that he would be dropping the project in the middle of March but later changed it to April, and naturally, the announcement came with a frenzied response.
God’s Engineering 2 is supposedly the missing piece to the rapper’s sonic puzzle, however, the eleven-track oeuvre is a familiar audiobook that portrays the usual A-Q- from sagey nuggets to subliminal shots(Blueprint), to braggadocious rhyme schemes…But hey, as the cliche saying goes: if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, right?
For all its worth, God’s Engineering 2 also features occasional thematic nuances such as childhood trauma (introspection) and subtle activism (what’s happening).
A-Q is an avid bibliophile, and he shows it off each time he gets, I mean, no average cognitive Mcee would outrightly reference a medieval sultanate; only one who scopes through varieties of encyclopedic sources, and this knack has subsequently influenced the nitty gritty of the rapper’s discography over the years.
Speaking of relics, A-Q rhymes incessantly on ‘Solomon‘- touching various discussions, ranging from subliminal shots aimed at certain brilliant yet bigoted ‘crackheads’, to righteous obsessions, to the inevitable rise of artificial intelligence and sibling rivalry.
A-Q further makes bold assertions on ‘Pay For’, referring to the music industry’s heavy reliance on Payola as opposed to organic music growth, “It’s all paid for; number one on the charts is paid for; Twitter opinions are paid for, influencers can’t get a day off, streaming farms are a paid job,” he punches on.
Ultimately, dogmatic outbursts like this have made him unpopular amongst sketchy industry personnel, yet he maintains an indifference that speaks volumes of his character.
The rapper is very particular about family; he explored this theme heavily in the first installment, and he further reprises it in the second, only this time, he enlists 100 Crown signee and mentee, Blaqbonez (Family). Blaqbonez also appears on the project, delivering a classy hook on ‘PS2.’
Interestingly, Blaqbonez is only the second featured act on the album, the other is the super-talented and legendary Nigerian music producer, Cobhams Asuquo.
Cobhams’ contribution to the body of work is phenomenal, to say the least, his vocal dexterity and outright composure on ‘Fate Vs. Destiny’ crowns the body of work with the aura that it vehemently deserves.
In summary: A-Q's 'God's Engineering 2' is a familiar yet nuanced audiobook that carries important themes and discusses them, reminiscent of a street sermon from a lyrical messiah of some sort.