It’s been 2 years since Adekunle Gold released his debut album, Gold, which was received with lots of praises from critics and fans of the singer. A lot has happened within this space of time – he has established his own label, Afro Urban Records, embarked on his first headline concert in London which was sold out, incorporated his band, The 79th Element and has generally grown from a superstar to a mega superstar.
Having waited a while for the release of his sophomore album, About 30, it can be outrightly said that it was worth the wait after much listen. Unlike his debut album Gold, which had Simi as the only featured artist, About 30 boasts an impressive array of acts like Seun Kuti, Flavour, Jacob Banks, DYO, and the Lagos Community Gospel Choir, all adding a unique feel to the project. The album sees the artist flexing immense versatility and range as he delivers emotional ballads, folk-Inspired cuts sung in Yoruba, and a few highlife-tinged summer jams.
I am really emotional right now.
I could cry happy tears.
This album, #About30, is a reflection of my heart, my fears, my pleasures, my pain, my losses and my faith. .
With the love you give me? I would do it again and again and again and one more time. pic.twitter.com/qIM8uF0Awx
— KING AG #ABOUT30 (@adekunleGOLD) May 25, 2018
The album starts on an inspiring note with its lead single, Ire, where the singer churns out words of inspiration in the slow tempo music accompanied by traditional Yoruba percussions. It also prepares your mind for what to expect from the project.
Down With You is a lovers anthem laced with mushy lyrics and stunning vocals from Adekunle Gold and London based singer, songwriter, DYO who starts the track declaring her love “I wanna wake up with you, Walk in your shoes, daylight tattoos. You give me life, I wanna stay up all night. Talk till sunlight, self-satisfying. You give me life” while both vocalists’ pair up for a duet in the chorus, lending their voices in English and Yoruba.
In Mr. Foolish, Adekunle Gold takes on the Afro-beat sound by collaborating with the Afrobeat king, Seun Kuti on the social-conscious track. Here, he makes use of satiric expressions like “You carry petrol, put for nylon come dey smoke, Mr Foolish. Fire dey burn you no dey run, you dey take selfie, Mr Foolish” to expose and criticize people’s ignorance as well as those who celebrate stupidity. Personally, this is one of my favorite tracks on the album.
Surrender is another love song among the pack with an upbeat melody and vibe. It’s not so far from Adekunle Gold’s style.
Damn Delilah is a true life experience of heartbreak where Gold pours out his hurt and sadness after his Ex left him and tried to get back with him. However, he is done with her bullshit and he is better off without her. He iterates: “You run away when I need your help Ojú e ti ja, O padà wálé (O padà wálé) You come dey call me like say you care You come dey text me like say you care Without you I am fine girl Without you I am doing well Since you don go, I am stronger…”
Yoyo is a highlife themed song that touches on enjoying the good life and features highlife crooner, Flavour Nabiana who added extra spice to the delivery.
Money was previously served as a single and had been decently received by fans of the singer. It’s no surprise it made the cut as it captures the prayer of the average Nigerian who is steadily staying on the grind to make ends meet. Money can be considered as the hustler’s anthem.
While the musical arrangement of the album emits sheer brilliance, it also captivates its listeners by articulating certain topical issues in the Nigerian system. At a time where internet fraud and cybercrime is somewhat trivialized and glorified, Adekunle Gold steps in to encourage hard work in Pablo Alakori as he preaches that there is no shortcut to success. Simi’s vocals were also beautifully splattered in the background as back up.
Remember is a short piece (lasted about 2:55 mins) addressing those who give help with conditions. “Because say you won help me, make I come be your Zombie”, he sings. However this doesn’t please my ears as much as a majority of the tracks on the album, but in all, it is a good one.
Beyond the glitz and the glam in the life of a celebrity, there are also low moments that celebrities sometimes experience. Sometimes it can be a lonely and depressing path which Adekunle Gold solemnly captures in the song Fame by exposing his vulnerabilities and insecurities. He expresses “Sometimes my Mama’s house don’t feel like home, sometimes my baby’s arms don’t feel like home, sometimes with my friends, I feel alone, sometimes I feel alone”.
Somebody is undoubtedly one of the album’s best work with an impressive instrumentation that demands your attention and appreciation. It is almost hard to let this jam play once without a repeat.
Adekunle Gold pays tribute to his mother in Mama where he demonstrates his love and appreciation for her with heartwarming verses. He didn’t hesitate to shower her with prayers on this one. Every mother surely needs to be appreciated with this song.
On There Is A God, Adekunle Gold didn’t just take us to church but also makes known his spiritual leanings and his stance on the existence of God by establishing several cases to emphasise this, such as how a woman without a womb could possibly get pregnant, how a sick man gets healed after a long period without any medical intervention. The divinely inspired track had the voices of the Lagos Community Gospel Choir (LCGC) who also delivered a stellar vocal performance. At this point, it can be said that all features on this album were perfectly considered and precisely employed.
The album slowly enters its peak on a nostalgic note with Back to Start where the singer reminisces on the good old days when boju-boju, sisi kelebe, police and thief were the in thing. It also reminds us of how life was peaceful and things were affordable. I certainly miss those days, don’t you?
Finally, the About 30 album closes with the remix of Ire featuring Uk-based Nigerian singer and songwriter, Jacob Banks and Call on Me which was earlier released as a single in 2017.
With all that has been said, the album is indeed a masterpiece with precise musical arrangement and execution, and most importantly the theme was largely projected. #About30 is definitely the best project to come out so far in 2018 and Adekunle Gold truly deserves some accolades for this. If you haven’t heard it yet, what are you waiting for? It is available on major streaming platforms.