For a lot of people who fell in love with his music and that of his Abuja-bred brothers like IMTJ, Zilla Oaks, Kuddi Is Dead, Denzel Oaks, Ayuu and so forth, it was about ‘the trap.’
Music is art and its creation can be contagious. Thus, most of these kids became perpetual collaborators. Some of them also became part of the creative, Apex Village. They might not realize this, but even when they make music individually, there is a sonic uniformity. That Travis $ Cott, post-Cudi sound with a Rae Sremmurd tweak always seeps through.
It was also no coincidence when YP and Kuddi is Dead formed a group, This Is What You Wanted and released two eponymous EPs. But then, the magic started when YP released his 2016 EP, Lost In The Sauce. ‘The trap’ rumbled with sears of emboldened creative confidence. It was a positive ‘Edge of Seventeen’ in music.
Then 2017 came and YPSZN dropped. If you listen to music, you know it could easily pass for one of the top 10 Nigerian albums of 2018. Literally, it had no fillers and like any Abuja release, the mixing was on steroids. But since then, the rapper born Nicholas Madenyi has began experimenting with more mainstream sounds.
His single, ‘Be Like You’ shares striking similarities with Burna Boy and Zlatan‘s monster collaboration, ‘Killin Dem.’ At least, the percussion and arrangement feel the same. You can’t blame him, he is 20 now and trying to navigate a complicated space. But on YPSZN 2, his artistry has grown a little further.
First, he now has a wider range of collaborators beyond his Abuja-bred brethren. Second, the album contains way more commercially viable afrobeats tracks than ever before. Yes, he made ‘Heartless,’ was a dance track on YPSZN. But then, ‘Heartless’ is no gbedu when you compare it to ‘No Chaser’ featuring Terri or ‘YPSZN2’ featuring BOJ.
The greatest win on YPSZN2 is that YP recognizes his need for hits and is brave enough to go after them. He still hit ‘the trap’ on tracks like, ‘City of Kings,’ ‘YP , the GOAT,’ ‘I Like’ featuring Dami Oniru and on other tracks, but there is a more commercially driven direction and it is palpable. It’s also kind of incredible how YP made Dami Oniru jump on trap though.
When it comes to the most rounded songs, they come during the love and sex-themed tracks six to track nine. ‘Superpowers’ featuring Nathalie Sade might be the best song on YPSZN2.
It is hard to pick a track bad song on this album, but ‘Strip Club,’ ‘T.G.I.F’ featuring Skales and ‘TBH‘ featuring LADIPOE stick out and feel out of place. On another album, they might have made sense, but not on this one. It could also be about the tracklisting. Something tells this writer that ‘TBH‘ might have made better sense in the love-sex haze of track six to track nine.
But this outro, ‘YPSZN’ featuring BOJ is up there with the best Nigerian album outros of 2019. Is YPSZN2 a good listen? You can place your money on that. It’s hard to see a world where YP creates a subpar album.
• 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
Content and Themes: 1.2/2
Enjoyability and Satisfaction: 1.6/2
7.5 – Victory
You can play the album below;