Album – What Happens In Lagos
Artist – Ajebutter22
Record Label – Indie (2017)
Duration – 63 minutes
Ajebutter22 is a special artist. He is one of the best who has made vibes and laziness an art form, scoring delightful fan-favourites along the way as he delves into the surface of our human experience to create music. While his debut album “Anytime Soon” failed to critically come alive, enthusiasts stuck with him because the talent was evident. It was simply a work in progress, feeling its way to its final form.
We have an upgrade to it right now in a new project, “What Happens In Lagos.” The title reveals the driving concept. Ajebutter22 is a cool kid. He’s the sort of guy who lives on the Island, rolls with interesting friends with a zest for life. He’s a musician with other interests in corporate society, and that expands his experience of the city.
That experience is interesting enough to inspire new music. Life on the Lagos Island writes itself as a unique movie script. There are characters, plot twists, heroes, villains, countless denouements, reflection, happiness and sadness. You can add the daily humour and you have the perfect script for a movie. But Ajebutter22 isn’t into making movies. He finds his joy in music, and he has successfully turned in a conceptual project that sings out as the stereotypical life of a Lagos big boy.
That boy begins his life at ‘A good place to start’. It is a record which has Mystro submitting vocals for dynamism. Poet Koromone opens up with a moving piece about Lagos. “How do I begin a story about a place that can inspire and deflate you at the same time? How do I talk about Lagos?” she lines parts of the album with poems. ‘4 am’ with Dremo storifies the reality of the hustle, which all leads back to making money. You can get an extension of the hustle on ‘Dollar ti won.’ ‘Rich friends’ is a recognition of different levels of that hustle, as Ajebutter22 contemplates between accelerating his life by going dark and dabbling into the non-legal businesses of his ‘rich friends.’
Things change, the hustle provides enough to thrive, which our hero funnels into the ‘cool kids’ lifestyle. At the front of this hedonistic theme is the hit record ‘Bad gang’. M.I Abaga steps in on ‘We are bad boys’, to add swagger to the braggadocio and exuberance of the record. This is the most pop-ready part of the album. ‘Wayward’ has plucky Afrobeat rhythms, layering what is truly a vibe. Odunsi experiments with him on ‘Yoruba boys trilogy’ and ‘Anything for the boys.’ But the cake for best collaboration goes to Maleek Berry’s efforts on ‘Lifestyle’.
How does it all end for our hustler-turned-reveler-turned-Lagos-Big-Boy? Of course, it has to play out right. Parties can last through the night, but as the sun rises, comes the calm. ‘Happy endings’ can either be the reflective drive back home or the thoughts that keep you awake at 3.am. It’s Ajebutter22 being at his top storytelling powers. ‘Lagos big boy’ and ‘Biggie Man’ reveals the ideal endpoint, where all the hustle has paid off, and the money is in the bank, powering a lifestyle that is aspirational.
With “What Happens In Lagos,” Ajebutter22 sets a standard for conceptual projects. He’s found a way to work around the monotony of his singular delivery style, instead offering enough in songwriting and production to complement his weakness. Drawing from the mundanities of everyday life in Lagos, he has made his best work yet.
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Get “What Happens In Lagos” on Apple Music/iTunes