‘Better Late Than Never’ is Sinzu’s imperfect dish of nostalgia and growth [Album Review]

Posted on Nov 19 2019 - 5:16am by admin

During that run, he released African American. That tape is easily one of Nigeria’s best rap projects over the past decade. But after a dry spell which also involves a two-year prison sentence, he returns with his sophomore album, Better Late Than Never. It was released on November 15, 2019.

Here is a review of the album;

DJ Lanre Intro’ features DJ Lanre and it contains a cliche and a farce. Nigerian Hip-Hop is not ill and it doesn’t really need anybody. What it needs is a platform that can aid its mainstream appeal. The beat is fire though. I also don’t think anybody is crying out for Sinzu.

‘Lonely At The Top’ features Czure. The song struggles to stay true to its title. In fact, the track should be something along what life currently is to Sinzu – it’s a beautiful track about his journey. It’s only betrayed by its title – which is misleading – and a beat selection that belongs in the early 2000’s. It’s still not remotely bad though.

‘O Por‘ is beautiful lamba that celebrates everything Peruzzi is about – killer flows, brilliant vocal deliveries and brilliant cadences. It’s about a curvy woman. However, It’s just unlikely to become a hit. ‘Chill Vibes‘ is another good track that merges Caribbean vibes with afrobeats – it feels like a Cover Drive beat.

‘Zanku Ku’ features Zlatan and its purpose is lost. The song fits into the commercial drive which we’ve gotten so far, and Sinzu has impeccable cadence. However, the substance is lost. The song is momentarily memorable, but lacks replay value.

Finally, a change! ‘Time‘ is a trap song that opens with a Fela cut about the essence of time. The beat has promise, but it feels like mixtape production for a loosie and not album production. However, Sinzu says some substantiated things.

He finds a way to blend his current standing in life with time spent behind bars – two years. This honesty is beautiful – that second verse is hard. This has been the best song so far. Oh, it’s rap now. and ‘Westside‘ is another rap sound. Again, it feels like mixtape music from the early 2010s, but it’s another honest track.

Coasting on a bass-heavy production that merges West Coast music with 2000’s southern drums, Sinzu raps about his personal issues. He even raps about cheating on his woman.

‘No Cap Recap‘ is a sentimental track on which Sinzu wants to remind people of his survival and talk down on posers. This is his version of ‘Bam‘ by Jay Z , but with weaker rap and good, but weaker production. That vocal sample defines this production, but it feels like a Trick Daddy track from 2009.

‘Hnic‘ is another good track, but Yung6ix has no business on it. Hotyce would have murdered this track.The presence of this track also promotes the ‘mixtape aura’ that this album evokes. Even though he doesn’t say substantial things, Sinzu‘s verses went hard on brilliant cadences and mastery of the beat.

‘No Dates‘ is a filler trap song. Topically, it’s reminiscent of what we heard on ‘Westside,’ ‘Hnic’ and ‘No Cap Recap.‘ ‘Change Am For The Them.’ underlines how this album overdoses on quality albeit outdated production. Again, Olamide continues his recent excellence on hook. What a song.

It’s also impressive how sharp and clear Sinzu’s Yoruba has gotten. The Yoruba and pidgin blend on ‘Change Am For Them‘ is so beautiful. This one is for the repeat click. ‘Weirdest Love’ brings us back to ‘lamba’ music. It also features MikeTheGlory. This is a profession of love and ‘wash’ rap music on wax.

‘Why You Mad‘ is just a commercial song for raging with youngins. Asides the lamba songs, it is by far the most contemporary rap song on this project. The arrangement and track listing on Better Late Than Ever was impeccable until now. ‘Why You Mad‘ should have come before ‘Weirdest Love.’

‘1st Day Out The Slammer‘ documents Sinzu’s thoughts about being in prison and his thoughts upon getting out. ‘Thoughts On The Slammer’ documents Sinzu’s view of the outside world and impact of prison while in prison. This beat is R&B from the early 2000’s and it’s banging.

However, these final two songs shouldn’t end a first album post-release. They should have followed ‘DJ Lanre’s Intro.’ They’re not closing tracks, they are tracks you set the tone with. As good as they are, their placement on the track list betrays them. The fact they they also come back-to-back give off another ‘mixtape aura.’

Final Thoughts

Cover art and track list for 'Better Late Than Never.' (DMW)
Cover art and track list for ‘Better Late Than Never.’ (DMW)

Better Late Than Never comes in three parts; lamba, street affinity on rap and personal touchy-feely. He wants us to party, he gives us a view into his mature mind that regrets his actions before prison, but makes us understand why he did what he did before giving us his touchy-feely side. ‘Yazz Phone Call Interlude‘ is particularly sentimental and beautiful.

This arrangement is why the complaints about the placements of ‘Why You Mad,’ ‘1st Day Out The Slammer’ and ‘Thoughts On The Slammer’ don’t make sense. Give us thoughts about prison, give us lamba, give us rap stuff and then get sentimental. This way, the arrangement is good. That said, the arrangement is still not remotely bad – just not perfect.

Production on this album is good, but you have to understand why people might criticize it. If you make an album for a time, don’t be creatively stuck in the past. In place of Yung6ix, have Hotyce.

The lamba songs are definitely built on good, contemporary production, but those songs don’t exactly scream ‘hit.’ So, people might go into the rap tracks a little cynical.

It also doesn’t help that rap tracks after ‘Time‘ feel like shabby loosie/mixtape production. However, those beats are still good. If you loved rap songs between 2009 and 2012, you will like this album and understand it, you might just criticize its limitation to that time.

Lyrically, Sinzu still has that pen and versatility to properly articulate different topics almost effortlessly. He discusses different topics and even addresses love with effortless swagger. At first, you might think it’s too long, but if the tracks that I suggested earlier are cut, Better Late Than Never would have been perfect with 15 tracks.

By essence and asides the production on the rap songs being significantly stuck in the late 2000’s and early 2010’s, the greatest criticism for this album is that at best, it exudes a ‘mixtape aura’ with cohesion. At worst, the lamba songs feel like a bunch of good songs strewn together and the rap songs feel like really good loosies.

Sinzu should have found a modern A&R to go with his OG mind and they could have come up with a better. Sinzu rightly tries to make an album with substance and a sprinkle of commercial vibes. The problem is that the cohesion is lost and production doesn’t help that narrative. Better Late Than Never feels overly focused on catchy commercially viable production.

Asides the ‘mixtape aura’ to those beats, It’s not a bad approach. It might not just be what Sinzu needs.

Ratings: /10

•   0-1.9: Flop

•   2.0-3.9: Near fall

•   4.0-5.9: Average

•   6.0-7.9: Victory

•   8.0-10: Champion

Pulse Rating: /10

Tracklist: 1.5/2

Content and Themes: 1.0/2

Production: 1.5/2

Enjoyability and Satisfaction: 1.0/2

Execution: 1.0/2

Total:

6.0 – Victory

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