9ice put out his 11th studio album, G.O.A.T in April 2018, but it is an album he released 10 years ago, ”Gongo Aso” that provides his strongest claim to being regarded as one of the Greatest Of All Time.
A year earlier, 9ice had released his debut album, ”The Certificate”, which did quite well announcing him on the scene as the album included songs like ‘Ganga Man’, ‘Little Money’ and ‘Make Dem Talk’, but it was not until he dropped the ”Gongo Aso” album in 2008, that his status rose to level of music greats.
Abolore Akande, popularly known as 9ice, started making music alongside his friends 2Phat and Spaco, under the guidance of producer, ID Cabasa, who owned the record label, Coded Tunes.
The Bariga bred artist started his journey far back as 1996 as a Fuji artist but as the Pop scene came alive in the late 90s, 9ice began to take inspiration from icons like Wyclef.
This helped him re-invent his style, featuring a rich presence of his Yoruba dialect and proverbs mixed with contemporary sounds, carving a unique sound for himself.
In 2007, he put out his first body of work, but with the ‘Gongo Aso’ album, new heights were attained by the singer, multiple awards came his way, and he became an instant household name performing on the biggest of stages across the world.
Looking back during a 2017 interview, 9ice shared his thoughts on the album;
”I never knew ‘Gongo Aso’ would be a successful album. In fact, that was not even the title of the album. The initial title of the album was ‘My dictionary, your diary’; but when the song became very popular, ID Cabasa suggested that we make the song the title of the album.
The song, ‘Gongo Aso’ was not supposed to be part of the album. I had finished recording the album when the song came to me and Cabasa said we should destroy all the promo copies we had made and promote the song. We promoted it and the song went viral. It was never planned.” he says.
The album turned out to be his heralding moment and is aptly described by critics as the ‘album of all albums’.
In 2008 when the album dropped, it was released at a time when the quality of albums put out was at its peak, 9ice’s ‘Gongo Aso’ stood out, propelling him to near legendary status and 10 years after stays fresh with every listen.
Housing 14 tracks, and produced by ID Cabasa, the album leads with ‘Kind Life’, a telling intro, where 9ice asserts that he understands his direction and loves where his life is headed at the time.
Delivered in a mix of Pidgin, English and Yoruba, 9ice tells the story of how his parents warned him about taking to music, but his dream saw him pursue the art and he is finally making it happen.
The music picks pace with ‘Pamurogo’, while songs like ‘Ati Jelo’ with Pasuma, ‘Adeori’ and ‘Jule’ all make up for delightful listens.
But it was on songs like ‘Street Credibility’ and ‘Gongo Aso’ that 9ice earned his famed stripes. The former performed together with 2face Idibia is still regarded as one of the best collaborations ever recorded in the history of Nigerian music.
Across three verses, 2face and 9ice delivered not just a catchy song with a solid hook, but also beautiful lyrics with 9ice promising to bring home the Grammy someday, we await.
The album titled song, ‘Gongo Aso’ became an anthem, a joint about him been the life of the party with an enchanting beat, one effortlessly delivered and filled with cultural references.
Then there is ‘Wedding Day’, which still features prominently on play-lists every other Saturday across the nation, the infectious ‘Photocopy’ and ‘Party Rider’.
The pace of the album is vibrant all through, the beats are up to par, well worked and the lyrics refreshing.
With only two featured artists, 9ice gave his fans a full dose of what he has to offer and delivered a game-changing project, one that hit levels yet unmatched by him.
10 years after, the album yet fit into present times and serves as a reminder of the special talent that the Alapomeji boss once offered.
3-Worth Checking Out