Olamide’s YBNL label has officially released its group album, ”YBNL Mafia Family.”
What are the chances of a year coming to an end without a new album from Olamide? The YBNL boss has blessed us with eight projects in the last seven years and just when we assumed 2018 will be one of those quiet years, Olamide is out with a new project featuring an all-star ensemble of members of his label.
The 13-track album features the likes of his recent signings, Picazo Rhap and Yomi Blaze alongside other affiliates of the label in Limerick, Lil Kesh, Fire Boy, Temmie Ovwasa, Lyta and DJ Enimoney.
LK Kuddy, Kizz Daniel and Kranium and producers Pheelz, Killertunes, 2Kris and Cracker Mallo also provide assists to the album.
One notable miss is Davolee whose name features on two songs on the first tracklist but is absent from the final product. The album is here now and here are my candid thoughts as I hit the play button.
First listen review of the ”YBNL Mafia Family” album
1. ‘Welcome’ [Olamide] – It was important that Olamide took the lead in introducing the project. This was the first time a number of the acts would be put to the grand test of being judged on the weight of a full body of work and Olamide understands the need of helping to guide them through the industry doors.
‘Welcome’ is everything you expect from an Olamide record in 2018. A bouncy beat, a groovy flow and him singing about money and his lifestyle. While the verses are good enough, the hook is a bit laboured but it doesn’t lessen this from being a bop heavy record and I can already vision it burning up the dancefloors.
2. ‘Oke Suna’ [Olamide] – The drums that open up this song is the reason why Yoruba parties are the best. Olamide is singing, it’s a full Fuji vibe. The new turn-up party anthem has been delivered and it just continues from where he stopped on the first song. Pheelz is basically showing off his mad skills here and I am totally enjoying it.
”Ma sun, God’s plan mo fi Drake e”
3. ‘Macaroni’ [Picazo, Olamide] – Okay, here is where the action kicks off properly with the new boys as Picazo makes his entry. The rapper who comes with huge expectations on his young shoulders after his viral freestyle is taking the lead here.
That energetic, raw and unbridled flow of his stays a charm. He is going at it aggressively, explaining whatever ‘Macaroni’ means to him. You would be forgiven if you fail to recognize Olamide’s presence on this record as Picazo totally owned this.
4. ‘Motigbana’ [Olamide] – The pre-released anthem which comes complete with a unique dance style is one record you can’t help but enjoy every time it comes up.
5. ‘Jealous’ [Fire Boy] – Melodic chants, someone is singing and it is sounding heavenly. There is a bit of the Wizkid influence in this, but this sounds more innocent, more enchanting.
He is singing about love, riding through the verses very effortless, ”I am getting addicted”, he sings, which is exactly how I feel about his voice. This is good and immediately stands out from the earlier records.
6. ‘Ika’ [Olamide, Yomi Blaze] – Another young rapper signed barely 24 hours after his friend Picazo Rhap joined the team. Yomi Blaze’s verse is quite candid and gripping as he inserts to any one who cares to listen that he is quite ‘wicked’ behind the mic.
Olamide matches the youthful energy but his verse is packed with as much vulgarity as with him not saying anything really worthy.
7. ‘Send Her Money’ [Olamide, DJ Enimoney, Lk Kuddy, Kizz Daniel, Kranium] – Opens with a Samba type beat. Olamide is singing like a drunk Mexican. The guest verses help to make this enjoyable, Lk Kuddy’s shows up on his verse, Kizz Daniel’s distinct style shines through and Kranium also complements this quite well.
The pairing is quite good but this could have turned out much better if only they chose a different song.
8. ‘I’ll Be Fine’ [Fire Boy] – The Boy sure deserves an encore as he seems to exist in an alternate universe compared to other members of the label and the early lines are already sounding better than what he even offered on his first song.
He is being introspective, the album’s second song with meaningful content as he captures his journey and shares the fears that grips the heart of every upcoming act, assuring himself that ”He will be fine.” The tape’s best song so far.
9. ‘Poverty Die’ [Olamide] – The only other pre-released record that makes the album is the prayer themed gyration joint, ‘Poverty Die.’
No matter your reservations about the song or what it alludes to, you can’t help but admit to the infectious hook and join in screaming ”Poverty Die, Die, Die, Poverty Die” along with him.
10. Fire Down [Fire Boy, Picazo] – Fire Boy is doing his thing again, this song is already a banger and I have barely listened upto a full minute. Picazo comes with that ‘Durosoke’ flow as he creates a moderate contrast to his style on his earlier outing. But it is Fire Boy who again steals the show as he commands the girl to go ahead and ‘Fire Down.’
11. ‘Le Le Yi’ [Lil Kesh, Fire Boy] – First, it was good to see Lil Kesh on this album. The former YBNL member has been witnessing some form of revival especially in the latter stages of the year and it is heartwarming to see an artist who has departed from a label still associate with it.
The beat sounds like something Pheelz has deployed on a few of his past songs, Lil Kesh provides the added weight to Fire Boy’s light presence as the duo serve up a record that has what it takes to grow into a street anthem.
12. Lie [Olamide, Limerick] – Limerick is one of those rappers that had me googling for his songs when I first heard him on ‘Pesin.’ The rapper sure knows how to weave his words and understands the catch in making rap musical, bringing back memories of the OG and former Swat Root member 6FootPlus.
This is easy for him. ”One drag, person off [just like that], Badoo make I burst rap? [Just like that]”. He is talking about events, switching between playful and serious and Olamide relegating himself to just the hook adds to make Limerick the real star here.
This is real catchy, the tape was becoming a drag prior to this but Limerick has given me the ‘wake up’ song. Another favourite.
13. Finally – [Temmie Ovwasa, Fire Boy] – Temmie finally [No pun intended] gets her shine time and she is brilliantly teamed with Fire Boy as they bring to fore their delightful vocals in this love story.
This is quite good, I like how they complement each other. The texture of their individual voices does not cloud each other and it adds up to leave an intoxicating tingle at its end.
While Picazo Rhap and Yomi Blaze were the exciting names that many looked forward to listening to on this album, Fire Boy is the gem that steals the headlines with his features. Like Adekunle Gold who succeeded in setting himself apart during his time with the label, Fire Boy has the potentials to do same, if properly guided.
The album kicked off like a burning house with fire jams but tailed off midway, only managing to come to life in moments. It would have been good to hear the likes of Picazo, Limerick and Yomi Blaze on more songs.
The tape is split between Olamide the ‘Wobe’ king and the younger talents like Fireboy and Temmie who bring melody and a softer side to Picazo and Yomi’s aggression.
The ”YBNL Family Mafia” is another album built off Olamide’s newly cherished direction. A project packed full with party anthems, heavy Fuji influence and a central narrative just to make you dance. With a mindset like this, there will surely be plenty hits, but also gaps in its harmony and cohesiveness.
One major feature that sets this apart from Olamide’s last project, ‘Lagos Na Wa’ is the contributions of the various other artists which save it from ending up as one montonous playlist and improvement in production and sound.
This album is a good way to introduce his artists and while it doesn’t offer enough to draw conclusions on their abilities, it provides an enticing taste into what the YBNL family will be filling the industry with in the coming years.
3-Worth Checking Out