Legend Or No Legend album review is here! In recent years, Nigerian superstar, Wande Coal has been a beneficiary of role model appraisals by some of his younger peers in the Nigerian music industry. New generation acts such as Fireboy Dml, Oxlade, Ykb, Bnxn, and a few others have each spoken about how the former’s artistic arsenal subsequently inspired theirs.
Naturally, one would think such gratifying and consistent testimonials from the younger musical generation would represent Wande Coal’s pacesetting, and iconic status.
This is why I was baffled when I first came across the album title for his latest project, ‘Legend or No Legend’.
The album title instantly struck me as ambivalent: was the great Wande Coal uncertain of his place in the industry? Or was he simply making a statement that he didn’t care much for external validation and public queries? Whichever the answer was, the album’s title surely left pondering in one’s mind.
Wande Coal’s career properly took off in 2009, he released the smash hit debut album, ‘Mushin 2 Mohits’, an album that has been widely referred to as one of the greatest Nigerian debut project entries ever, earning its spot in the hall of fame archives.
The album brought a fresh sonic approach to the Nigerian pop and r&b scene, arguably spearheading the succeeding careers of some of the finest Afrobeats music stars, including pop icon, Wizkid.
Wande Coal walked the tethered grounds before this present music generation could dream of taking flight. He sang the sweetest of falsettos at the highest of octaves way before Oxlade knew what a recording booth looked like. He was, ‘him.’
However, Wande Coal’s gift of fame and fortune would simultaneously present itself as a curse, as he has had his fair share of bad press, the most infamous being a sex scandal that involved a clout-thirsty courtesan who had filmed an unclad Wande Coal without his knowledge or permission.
The incident sparked various discussions as many blamed the slippery slope on Wande’s team while his fans began questioning whether the singer’s focus had dwindled.
The singer’s habitual hiatus from music echoed the answer to the question of where his mind was. Despite making some occasional record bangers, Wande seemed lackadaisical about his craft especially when it pertained to his overall lyrical delivery.
To make things worse, his sophomore project (which came five years after his debut) was a bland body of work that was grudgingly redeemed by a few lead singles.
Frankly, Wande wasn’t living up to his potential, and from an outside view, he seemed complacent. The ripple effect of his perceived complacency led to a crack in a wall, which allowed for the questioning of his legacy in the Nigerian music industry.
Many believe his third album, ‘Legend or No Legend‘ was specifically designed to lay those cries to rest, that the thirteen-track body of work was Wande Coal’s response to the shit talkers.
Legend or No Legend was already thriving under pre-album lead singles like ‘Come My Way’ and ‘Kpe Paso (feat. Olamide).’ The latter especially provides it with anticipatory bliss, so naturally, fans and critics were fastened.
The track opener, ‘Nobody Holy’ starts with Hispanic rhythms, which immediately announce the project’s dynamism ( considering the recent over-saturation of popular genres like amapiano).
Notably, in the introductory phrases of the song, Wande Coal echoes “Legend oh” which suggests that Wande Coal is unbothered by the debates surrounding his greatness.
In addition, the song is a daring mixture of Fela’s Afrobeat and Samba music styles. While the sonic direction of the song is impressive, Wande’s lyricism suffers woefully and is only sustained by his vocal dexterity.
On ‘3 Square Meal’ Wande Coal bounces over eclectic guitar loops and Afro percussion as he talks about cash flow while giving a playful outro that shows his zestful “unseriousness”.
‘Dues’ is very vague. Wande Coal fluctuates between a “dream girl”, balling every week, and apparently, ancestral incantations?… ‘Dues’ is lacking in soul, and it’s just another display of Wande Coal’s freestyling prowess—a tactic that would have worked ten years ago, not now.
Wande Coal bounces and swings braggadocious on ‘ E Choke’, reminding us of the old Wande Coal. ‘Let Them Know’ is decent, not great, just decent.
‘Streets’ is one of the few times we truly get a soulful Wande Coal as he choruses meaningfully alongside long-teased collaborator, T. Pain.
‘Ebelebe’ featuring Wizkid, is tired and lacking in ingenuity, almost like both artists recorded it in one take without prior composition. The song lacks intent and content. ‘Jabo’ featuring Fireboy DML, is underwhelming, only momentarily saved by Wande Coal’s falsetto show-out.
The album closes with ‘Don’t Feel Love’. The dancehall song is a sweet outro to an otherwise tasteless musical project.
In summary, Legend or No Legend is strongly lacking in thematic nuances and feels like a rushed mumbo jumbo which hurts considering how ridiculously gifted Wande Coal is.