In the land of debut albums, this one is king. Try as much as I want, I still cannot believe that this is a debut. It was too well put together. Well, apart from the title because I still want to konk his manager’s head.
You’ll probably see a few references of Boo of the Booless as an alte´ album but please do not make the mistake of thinking that this is a genred piece of work. An alte´ album that is decorated with pidgin and nigerianisms and devoid of pretentiousness can only in good conscience be called a good album.
Because I know your time is an expensive commodity, I’ll go straight to a blow by blow analysis:
Beautiful people is perhaps one of the more appropriate starts to an album I’ve seen in a long time.
It ensures that you are left intrigued about the other songs and makes sure that the other songs are not any kind of disappointment in comparison.
+5 for arrangement.
It also sets the tone and lets you know that this album will largely be comprised of ‘feelings’.
It’s simple enough, and sets a great mood.
You didn’t have to remind us of our singlehood, Chike.
Chike comes through with the Johnny Drille vibes again in Nakupenda, especially where he sings “how will you know…”. I like how he makes corny lines like “you look like supaghetti” and “I go treat you like gold” work.
Making it an upbeat tempo was hella nice, and contributed to what was a very enjoyable listen.
I wasn’t sure why ’”nakupenda” was a useful addition TBH, and “oyi na tu mo” sounded a touch out of place. But that’s just me.
If you no love me.
This song is several things at once, and this is probably an underestimation.
It starts with that little chorus that is reminiscent of 90s Naija music, then very quickly gets modern.
Like the entire album, it says what it wants without being pretentious, or trying to put out ‘deep lines’.
Not only is it entirely sung in pidgin, it uses a few benign slangs that somehow manage to convey more emotions than a dozen carefully woven fake poetic lines.
The fear of unrequited love can be a tricky thing to write about without going full Ed Sheeran or Drille (aka, sappy), but Chike manages to do this with the dexterity of a veteran, and makes it relatable to both the bougie and the razz alike.
Taking his voice an octave lower in Forever was a masterstroke, and left me absolutely delighted at hearing Chike channel his inner Usher (even borrowing a phrase or two) and blessing us with an R&B beauty. Seriously, it could be Usher ft MI and there wouldn’t have been much of a difference.
Which brings us to le short black boy being incredible as usual. MI brought his forever vibes (talk about it) and stuck to the theme (which is why he’s incredible). Lots of great lyrics left in that incredible short engine, and it showed.
I think MI’s pace could have been a touch slower. I like to listen to an R&B song without being alert enough to catch lyrics that seemed better suited to a faster paced song.
While it was titled like a prayer song, Amen is more romantic than an attempt at supplication.
Designed to be sung in the context of a secure, stable relationship (at the time), the mood is confident, calm, and thankful (because na crackheads full dating market).
Great decision to use very simple lyrics (because more complicated ones would be so distracting it would be a big mistake), and as usual Chike (and his producers) comes through with setting the mood for a relaxing evening with the bae (and the promise of some knacks).
If you are booless, this song will pain you. Chike is not your friend.
If different genres in a single album is supposed to speak to versatility, then Roju darn near shouts us down.
You rarely find a highlife track in an alte´-ish album, and you almost never find one this good. Almost, because there’s this one.
Giving us palm wine vibes on tap, Chike delivers a jam that reminds very much of Omamuni’s Bottom belle complete with a chorus that you could slip “azikiwe” before “dancia” and it would fit like a glove.
“O nyelu me you, nyelu you me”, is a work of art. Seriously.
This is the first track that delivers on the promise of consolation for the booless because we’ll be too busy chugging Gulder and looking at umu asa to cry.
If you are poor (like me), perhaps Roju is not for you because it involves copious amounts of beer as a necessary accessory for premium enjoyment. And beer costs money.
This was my first favourite song off this album.
Chike started sounding distinctly like Johnny Drille, then went a little upbeat with the chorus.
There are not very many songs that can sing you hope and make you want to dance at the same time.
This one did.
You could slip “aspire to pespire” here, don your aspire suit, and no one would notice a thing.
You’d notice that the lyrics are a little thin after a few listens though, but I doubt it’d make much difference.
There’s a fair bit of straight up narration that seemed to permeate every corner of this album, and perhaps this is no better emphasised than in Insecure.
The lyrics are so ’take it like it is’ that it’s too easy to forget that insecurity is supposed to be a bad thing. When he says “the way you smiling, na the same way…”, you cannot shake the feeling that he just might be talking to your present, past, or future self.
Considering that he says it is a turn off, the way Chike sings about insecurity makes it sound almost sexy.
He tells of the suspicions of a man in love with the earnestness of a veteran who wears his heart on his sleeve, and you just sit and take the sermon in because you know it can happen at any fuggin time. You listen a few times, drop your offering along with a prayer that it never reaches your dormot, and go home.
Out of love is perhaps the kind of song you can listen to at the beer parlour while moaning about the girl you trained through uni who is shagging her course mate. You’d be crying into your Gulder while simultaneously bopping your head and asking for pepper snails.
It speaks a lot about being oblivious about when a relationship has begun to fail, and perhaps echoes our fears that loving the S/O is sometimes not enough. At the same time, you cannot even hate the girl because you’re still hoping say small hope fit dey.
I don’t think it was hard for her at all. Is it not igbo women again?
-1 for deception.
Forgive is one of those songs that stands out in an odd way when you’re giving an album a once-over.
It’s hardly your favourite, or the one you immediately put on repeat, but you remember it because it is very calming.
Speed is perfect, mood is perfect, instruments perfect, the “Halle” part of the chorus fit like a glove.
Relatable lyrics as usual.
I did feel that translating the igbo part of the chorus was unnecessary.
It’s difficult to say a lot about perfect tempos and instruments without talking about Faithful.
There was a deliberate attempt to create a mood here, and that effort shines through.
I think the lyrics were a bit more poet-ey than the other songs so far, but it avoids being pretentiously so, and that was the charm.
It’s very difficult to talk about loving someone who is not your partner without sounding like an arse, but Chike seems to achieve this effortlessly. Perhaps some lessons, sensei?
He got us rooting for him to cheat, and this is a bad thing *fakes angry face*
You know this is yet another love song, but Chike somehow makes Running sound different. If I wanted an S/O to sing me a corny song of assurances, I’ll pick this one everyday, and twice on Sundays.
Shooting from the hip as usual, this was another exhibition of his no-nonsense style of loving littered with cute corny ass lines. I especially liked “I’m getting better in Kung Fu” when he brags about the lengths he’ll go to fight for her.
Brilliant mood setting with the pace and the instrumentals as usual, and the carefully placed Igbo phrases.
There was a bit of a monotony at this point. It’s an album after all. You’ll probably have to try to shake the feeling that you’ve heard this style a few times.
I didn’t understand why he put the “Chai Fu” line. I understand he was going for rhyme, but I think he should have gone for meaning, and use something like “tai chi” instead.
One of the things I remarked to myself was that I could listen to this album with my mother. Well, except for Soldier because I’ve got a feeling I’d need a bowl for her tears.
Simple, straight to the point, and emphasising a mother’s love for her child, this song gets right in the feels.
It’s also a refreshing break from all the love songs, right from when they croon “soldier, oh soldier”. If life was fairer, I’d have smiled at that.
If Chike had not done a gospel closer, he’d have had to submit his Igbo card for confiscation, and that’s where watching over me comes in. Standard Igbo gospel, but a little hip as well because there’s small rap in it. Zoro, of course.
Not much to comment on this one. It is as standard as standard goes. Man has got to give thanks, and we’re giving thanks along with him because this was a fire album.
“Eeh papa…” shakes bell and staggers around.
Incredibly versatile and cautiously progressive, Chike learned from alte´ failures, recognised his audience, and put out a Nigerian album.