Customarily, #PulsePicks is our year-end medium to celebrate excellence across different aspects of Nigeria. The second installment on the music segment #PulsePicks follows this criteria;
- Critical acclaim
- Replay value
- Commercial success as an added advantage
Isah The Prince – New Black Elite
Inglorious Mob – Psychi 2
While Mohbad struggled to escape Naira Marley’s shadow sometimes, this EP had its plus points, chief of which was ‘Holy,’ a societal chatter around his everyday life.
In a review, Pulse noted that, “At the root of this EP is cohesion, afforded by Cheque’s style and vocals as well as the beautiful beats he works with. When Cheque does Afro-infused records on ‘Dangerous,’ ‘LOML’ and the spectacular ‘Pray,’ he wins big.
“But in the end, the album could have done without ‘Change’ and ‘Sweet Love,’ even though the latter could pull a surprise.”
8.) D-Truce – Smoke Break
In its review, Pulse noted that, “Smoke Break is an excellent body of work which sees its creator crest on his strengths. Truce has always worn his heart on his sleeves, but this album deals with grown up issues in cathartic fashion.
“The album is also triumphant and compelling; poignant and emotional; carefree and thoughtful. At the root of it is D-Truce, chopping and screwing between different genres of music with the balancing act of sweet music, beautiful progression and sonic satisfaction.
“Like he never dwells on one topic, he also satisfies his listeners with a beautiful blend of sounds. By ‘Spaceships,’ it became certain that ‘Smoke Break’ should be in contention for year-end lists.”
These words have been proven accurate.
In its review, Pulse notes that, “In the end, ‘Euphoria’ seems to underline Psycho YP’s current state of mind; a bridge between the exuberant results of making money, the satisfaction that comes with some of his dreams getting achieved and the duality of a growing ego.
“‘Euphoria,’ ‘Big Moves’ and ‘Smoke 4 Free’ are the best songs on the album.”
YP’s seventh body of work in five years, it formed a roadmap back into his Trap background, with Drill-infused music. With influences from UK Rap music, this is his most brutally honest and vindictive moment yet.
6.)Zilla Oaks – No ZZZZ 2
Based around topics of debauchery and rebellious youth, Oaks calls on an expansive roster of incredible producers, who cook up some of Nigeria’s most exciting productions of the year. He addresses topics that deal with a dangerous lifestyle and even love in that measure.
‘Still Up’ is one of the finest Nigerian Rap records of the year.
5.) SDC – Clone Wars V: The Algorythm
In a lot of ways, this album felt like the zenith of this iconic Nigerian duo. With depth, Pulse’s review broke the album down into highlighted issues, millennial demeanour, humour, underwhelming moments and haphazard moments. It was also Tec’s finest moment yet as a member of Show Dem Camp.
4.) Loose Kaynon – Survivor’s Remorse
In a review, Pulse notes that, “It feels amazing to listen to Loose Kaynon produce an album of this lofty quality. He also shows an impressive mastery with his consistency at producing quality hooks. This is not a quality album just because Loose is in his element or because he picked great beats.
“It’s an incredible album because Loose Kaynon sold a truth with authenticity that people can easily believe. He spoke his truth and carts away accolades as a result.”
With high replay value, Loose Kaynon crowns this album with the title-track and ‘Opor.’
In 2019, Zlatan released his debut album, ZANKU and it was quite forgettable. While he released two EPs between his debut and his sophomore, nobody could have predicted the quality of this album.
It was so refreshing that Pulse ends its review with, “Zlatan, take a bow. But we probably should have known – the high-level sonics of ‘Lagos Anthem’ offered us insights into his headspace, we just didn’t pick the cue.”
In terms of purity and execution, this is the best Nigerian album of 2021. It even produced a slightly commercial record in ‘Breathe’ featuring Chike. God’s Engineering might be AQ’s best album, but GOLDEN is his best. The album dealt with social issues, death, success and struggles with clarity, purpose and occasional necessary gusto.
1.) Blaqbonez – Sex Over Love
To most people, this would just be an expression of the dangerous topic of sex, but it’s deeper. Blaqbonez uses sex as an umbrella expression of love, sheltered insecurities and his newfound high-calibre success. Asides from sticking to a central theme, the album also had marked commercial success with ‘Bling’ and ‘Okwaraji.’