The purpose of my blog is to provide a place where dope independent artists I have come across, especially in the cities I have lived in ( Indiana USA, Chicago, Lagos, Port Harcourt ) can interact. Having said that, it means the scope of my blog, for now, is very limited. It is a personal blog and the views are a personal opinion.
Today I want to introduce you all to an artist named ” Blaqbonez “, a rapper I have followed since I lived in Lagos Nigeria. Over the years, Blaqbonez has been very consistent and has dropped projects, most of which have contributed to his rise in the hip-hop circles in Nigeria. His works have brought him a lot of accolades and consequently a deal with 100 Crowns; a company affiliated with choc city music; home of arguably Nigeria’s no. 1 rapper MI Abaga.
In August 2018, he dropped a project titled “Bad boy blaq” . I took the time to listen to this project on Spotify and I have decided to provide a general overview of the project (My opinion). Over the years, I have seen Blaqbonez evolve from being a battle rapper to making music that sounds good and has a commercial value. From the East coast boom-bap music to a project that is heavily trapped. This goes to show how far blaq has come and that he is in touch with the market and has tailored his music to suit what the market wants. Blaq has also grown from being an artist that only cares about accolades and hype to a fully grounded businessman, and I am happy at his attempts to wrap his head around the business part of the music.
First, I love to pick up an album and after listening to it I can tell the artist’s origin, language, life experiences, purpose, and ideologies. 2017/18 has seen a slight shift in the way artists approach content creation. Artists like Lil Wayne, Cardi B, Drake, Nas even our own Mi Abaga dropped projects that are very inward and introspective. The shift has seen artists go from money and hoes to spreading the word on concepts like business, self-study, and self-awareness. On this project, Blaq follows the same direction, I could identify his culture, his beliefs and most especially I could understand his story. The songs are laced with English and heavy pigin and verbiage and slang are ingenious to Nigeria. Also, the subject matter he raps about is relevant to his environment and the message is clear. What I enjoyed most is the realness. He is not trying to talk about issues he knows nothing about but he draws inspiration from issues around him and those that are common within his surroundings. That is very important to the success of music globally. You have to listen to your environment and speak a language they speak to connect your music with them. I had no problems identifying Blaqs motives and message. From the album cover, you can tell that Blaq had set out to be creatively unique. I love the color combination and I suppose the pictures on the cover represent different facets of his personality or personal journey.
The introduction to a project means everything. it tells the listener if to continue or not. Blaq’s first track ” Accommodate ” gives a summary of his state of mind. ” Real life not knowing where dinner is coming from / real-life f**k what u see on Instagram broke as fuck but living without stealing “. It sets the stage for what to expect. A dope rapper fighting to get heard! The second song on the tracks-list “Denied” starts where he left off on the first, he raps
” I am so ahead of time / 2018 held me back / carry the cross I am like Christ / prayed to God to save my life/cos I am real, going and killing this people like flies / well on my way to the ice / never been lucky my life/ ain’t no roll of the dice /I just cannot be denied/ Mi Abaga told me i am the one/ everybody be like shii I am the one / even q said I am the dopest, to disrespect him must be stupid / ”
The arrangement of the tracks is impeccable. The production is top-notch. Blaq had tweeted that M.I spent time working on this record and it definitely paid off.
One thing i noticed even from Blaqs previous projects is the way he uses skits to connect tracks. This is an old practice but it is a potent tool. Skits are to albums what conjunctions are to essays. If used intelligently they provide a beautiful link and add value to the project. It tells me that Blaq has done his homework and he knows what makes up a good project. I also love the use of recorded phone conversations to add a real-life feel to the records. Blaq uses this effect to show that he draws inspiration from everyday life and that his music centers around his life. it is a priceless feature. Another very impressive thing about the project is how Blaq manages to bring in heavy features. Loose Kaynon, Aq, Terry Apala are veterans and they came through heavy on their records. Aq and Loose Kaynon came through on the track ” Low key ” and alpha although I do not know a lot about him was no push aside on the record. Stand outlines from the veterans are …
There is nothing new you can show me / get a pat on the back like Utomi/. See y’all can ask my exes, I quietly take my exit, they roll around with that L forever like a lifetime deal with Lexus, passport tatted like Rick Ross/.. add aesthetics to the project.
Terry Apala is a beast on the song ” I told you ” and delivers his agbero vibe that everyone loves. I would have been very happy to see an MI Abaga verse on this project. Asides from the very heavy features, Blaq also showcases some impressive young talents on this project. I particularly love Oxlade on the song ” mamiwota ” . Kudos to Mi Abaga on the production of this masterpiece. it is flawless in my opinion, the mixes are very balanced and even through the cheapest of headsets you still are surrounded by the ambiance of the sound. The beats are made from top to bottom so kudos to Blaqs production team.
If there is anywhere the project scores a low, it is in marketing and promotions. So far, it has been more of an online project. I believe this record is bigger than the promotional budget it has been accorded. I was very excited when I heard Blaq had finally landed himself an agreement with Nigeria’s biggest rap brand choc city, therefore his record is going to be on heavy rotation and videos were going to fly out left right and center. This has not been the case and we are still awaiting the first video of the project. I will not lay all the blames on choc city, if you follow recent happenings in the music circles ; revenue, sales, and show money is hard to come by these days and record companies lose all their capital in promoting and distributing but no returns to show for it. Therefore, it is understandable if choc city, led by Mi Abaga are taking their time to explore the possible income streams for him. It is better to take things slow than to run into debts.
Overall this is a solid project and I hope we have not seen the last of it. I believe that this project still needs videos, events and a promotional plan and we could have an heir to M.I ‘s throne already. My favorites on the album are the more introspective tracks like Tosin’s song, consent, 5.00 am. Songs like Play, Mamiwota, I told you ft Terry Apala and Woke gives the project a heavy commercial appeal and a repeat value. I recommend this to any music lover. This is definitely top 3 projects in recent times by a Nigerian.
Get the full project here