Monday, 7 November 2016

The Next Level In Afro-Hip Hop: A Review Of Phyno's The Playmaker By Ebuka Njoku

Praise the Lord! Phyno has finally dropped his second album. The Playmaker was one of the most anticipated albums of the year. What were we actually anticipating? I'm listening to Phyno now. And I can't wait to share my thoughts... Let's talk music, hommie...

Abulo is the dopest gangsta rap song I've heard this year. It bangs on your ear like a push on the chest. I love the guns sampling from Empire. I'm sure some Igbo rappers would bounce on the beat soon. It's Phyno trying to tell the world he's got enough people by his side to crush anyone who fucks him up. It's deep. Aside the cap it doffs for Obiagu men, Ndi Otu, street life and rap history, the song comes with some vibe that speaks volume of the Phyno's mastery of his craft. It's not just about the lyrics, it's the vibe in the clean flows, the steady quakes in the beat and the meanness of the deeper meanings of the lyrics. Niggar, go learn Igbo.

Best-Rapper! God!!! This song carry weight. Phyno has been known for dropping sweet weird lines. But here, he comes spitting out his heart to us. It sounds like a beef track. It sounds like a needed ginger. It sounds like a lost companion. And the flow is... I'm sure he and Major Bangz are learning some lessons from Noah 40.  Joy Comes In The Morning... Phyno is not just a musician, he's a great story-teller. You should listen to the song, bro. What about 'Ino Nma'? I don't feel I should keep writing this review. It can't express the height of the great works Phyno put into this album.  

It's Phyno; The Playmaker, babe. People have been very concerned about Phyno's singing. But it's the 21st century; an artist doesn't owe anyone anything but a piece of whatever style he ventures into. In Mistake, The Playmaker expresses his heart-breaks, his fuck ups, his hustle, the drink he uses to hold himself up, philandery and his love. It bangs like Drake's 'Marvin Room', only with less singing. I love the phone conversation idea - dope like an Eminem gig.

Mr. Eazi dey here oo. He appears with Decarlo, killing it with Phyno in 'I'm a Fan'. Phyno is becoming a better singer. I won't be surprised if he experiments with a different genre of music. I mean, the song is sweat even though there are more singing in it than rap. Which brings us to that question in Hip-hop - what matters; the genre or the delivery?

Who are those critics who don't understand rap? Come lemme tell you what you don't understand about 'Mkpotu'. Zoro and Tidinz were born to be on that fucking track. Ichie Zoro! I bu anu a na-agba egbe, o na-ata rap. Tidinz fires rap like he's got a rifle in his voice. Every flow drops like a bomb - the kind of mkpotu you can't ignore. And the ending is just breath-taking.

'My fiance,
E no be Beyonce'

That's P-Square on 'Financial Woman'. I love the musical chemistry between Phyno and P-Square. This one is better than O-Set; it could easily blend into any kind of event coz its mild and dance-able. And come on - P-Square dey there.

Imagine a Link Up between Phyno, MI and Burna Boy. Burna boy is a crazy musician - he's always experimenting with flows. Nice one. MI... Walahi, the short black boy is still a killer. I just wish he could get back to the street - he became a boss too early. Phyno's verse was dope. Only God knows how bloody the things Phyno don't release are. Coz he raps like he's got more things in stock; like say the flow no go ever finish, like say he fit still give you more in years to come. And it seems he would.

Do you know Phyno is a baptized street boy? God! Have you heard 'Obiagu'? Any one who grew up in the East have watched a performance of that genre of music in his street. It could come through some masquerade by the corner and men in colorful locally made fabrics, nzu on their chest, palm-fond between their lips, dancing to the beat from a blend of instruments ranging from drums, schnapps bottle, hand, kom-kom. It could come from street musicians just showing off their craft just for the fun of it, or during a festival or gathering with some hood musicians in present, It's some sort of free-style ogene music with some dude drinking palmy, singing and people watching and smiling to the wit in the word play. Sometimes, there could be some money spraying or some elders going crazy by the corner, smiling in nostalgia. Do you remember Azuka? That was the culture. That's what Phyno gives us in Obiagu. I mean, our Obiagu. I don get my christmas song. Phyno, I bugho an ordinary play-maker, you be the king of play-makers.

Imagine 2-Baba and Flavour in one song? And Phyno is also there. I miss 2face, mehn. Can we bring 2007 back? Flavour N'Abania! Weeknd dey learn work where you dey. Phyno, who taught you how to go for the best in everything music? Asa, park one side and hear this song. I no get anything to tell you again. If after hearing Okpeke, you no wan gimme the thing, gbawaa door.

Who misses Onyeka Onwenu? She's in Ochie Dike, giving us the mummy show, with Phyno reminding us of our mother's love. Mommy, I love you. I know I should say it more. I wish I never had to wait for Phyno to remind me of you. SFSG is another gospel song. I don't know why Phyno like forming church boy but I heard a church playing a remix of 'Fada Fada' and I found myself in the church the next day. God punish me, the kain preaching wey I hear, I regret the move. But Phyno's gospel songs are very entertaining and nostalgic. They remind me of the kind of music I sang with the people I grew up with. God! What kind of music does Phyno listen to? Do you feel any connection to the beat in 'I Pray?' The beginning of song seems to be on the way to heaven. Bliss!!! Burna Boy also came killing it again in 'No Be My Style.' I feel I'm missing a lot of things in Nigerian music. The Nkwa (flow) is like Phyno; a blessing. And the hook! I think Nigerian music professors would do our music students better if they discuss sound like this in school. Pino-pino, Ezege, Conne, Fad-fada and E Sure For Me have been released earlier to salivate us. We did salivate. In as much as the served dish wasn't exactly what we expected, it comes making us want more. 

The Play-maker is likely going to be the hottest thing in the East if not Nigeria this christmas. Well, it's November, a lot could still happen. But the play-maker is one of the dopest Hip-hop album released this year. I mean around the world. Phyno mixes sounds from different periods and genres to give us a fine blend of difference in Afro-hip-hop. Phyno came fully loaded. But that has never slowed him down in experimenting. Over-time, he's given his music the opportunity to breathe in fresher air. Over-time he's re-invented himself. With the Play-maker, Phyno has proven to us that although he's a local rapper, he's doper than his international counterpart. This is Phyno saying, fuck what you expect from me - I can do better. This is Phyno saying - the next level is yet to be discovered but I'm deep in the discovery. This is Phyno saying - let the culture speak.

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