Album Reviews

Unruly By Olamide: True To Form

The trio of Eskeez, Magic Sticks, and Olamide create an interesting sonic experiment that merges and duplicates the syncopated drill style of American hip-hop artist Ice Spice with indigenous street pop elements.

Olamide Unruly Album Review
Unruly album [Instagram/@Olamide]

Here is Olamide Unruly album review! In the vibrant tapestry of the Nigerian music scene, the enduring charisma and adoration surrounding Olamide come as no surprise. A luminary with an established legacy, his presence has graced the industry for a considerable time. Amidst impassioned debates ignited by fervent admirers, the resounding name of this legendary rapper frequently emerges in discussions regarding the pioneering figures of the contemporary Afrobeats movement on the global stage. His roots-based influence, a knack for anointing new royalty, and an extensive discography that resonates through the ages, all serve as testaments to his unparalleled stature.

Taking centre stage now is Olamide’s latest opus, christened ‘Unruly,’ an auditory journey that beckons listeners into the realm of Afrobeats newcomers who have flourished in the wake of his generation. Among the tapestry of talents woven across the album, luminaries like Fireboy DML (captivating with ‘Shibebe’), Ckay (trumpeting forth on ‘Trumpet’), BNXN (brought to life through ‘Come Alive’), Rema (weaving his sonic spell with ‘Mukulu’), and Asake (introducing a ‘New Religion’) grace the canvas. At 34 years of age, the rapper par excellence steers the thematic course of the album with an air of straightforwardness and inherent self-revelation.

A closer examination of ‘Unruly’ reveals Olamide’s daring expedition into the realms of primal desires, tantalising fetishes, unapologetic profanities, and a subtle brush with nihilism. Yet, for aficionados who yearn for the sage of the streets, a subtle tinge of disillusionment might be sensed, as ‘Unruly’ diverges from the trajectory of a conscious or pedagogic collection. Indeed, Olamide himself sounded the clarion call to attentive ears before the album’s unveiling. Amidst this labyrinth of auditory experimentation, a fleeting moment when the old Olamide resurfaces can be savoured in the form of ‘Street Jam,’ a fragment of time where nostalgia and contemporary flair intertwine, if only for a brief interlude.

On the opener, ‘Celebrate’, Olamide is led by r&b guitar riffs and soft violins. He sings about expensive champagne lifestyles, voracious kinks, and ultimately, enjoying his laurels over a Magicsticks-produced record. Although, ambivalent, the soft feminine vocal texture backing Olamide appears to be that of the Female singer, Liya who also appears in the official visuals of ‘Jinja’. 

The mid-tempo ‘Problem’ is enjoyable and quick to register thanks to its melodic formations, however, it is one of those songs that struggles to find its place on the album.

Music producer, Eskeez is Unruly’s most dominant sonic contributor, with more than five songs produced on the fifteen-track, lengthy body of work. His skills, coupled with Olamide’s usual antics, come in handy in the fast-paced ‘Gaza’. The subsequent track ‘Doom’ is also an effort by Eskeez, but this time he teams up with Magicsticks. The trio of Eskeez, Magic Sticks, and Olamide create an interesting sonic experiment that merges and duplicates the syncopated drill style of American hip-hop artist Ice Spice with indigenous street pop elements.

Embarking on its musical odyssey with the evocative strains of classic violins, the stage is then seized by Olamide’s commanding baritone in an unadulterated surge of sound. The track titled ‘Hardcore’ injects a succinct yet impactful nuance into the broader tapestry of the project, unfolding over a mere two-minute span that belies its depth and sonic intricacies.

Olamide writes a lot of his music on the album which is impressive considering that he shares his pen game with other artists including his YBNL-signed Asake whom the rapper adopts a considerable amount of his vocal arrangements on ‘Unruly’ (No Worries). Perhaps the rapper is merely owning a style that he formed but lent to another—who knows?

With ‘Life Goes On’ Olamide doesn’t care about old patterns. He bids farewell to once-shared affiliations, revealing his intolerance for nonsense.

Olamide Unruly Album Review
Review Overview

In conclusion, Olamide's 'Unruly' is a good body of work that tries to stand out, however, it woefully errs in its attempt at creating something groundbreaking. Appraisals of the work will ride on the rapper's glory days, and that speaks volumes of the present sonic climate.

  • Songwriting7
  • Production7
  • Sequencing7
  • Enjoyability6
  • Delivery7

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