A strong review of Naija albums
GENRE: Hip Hop
LABEL: Empire Mates Entertainment
Year of release: 2009
With 2 previous albums under his belt (The 2006 US Release Back in the Buildin’ and his 2008 sophomore hit album Mr. Capable) and the hottest verse on the massive eLDee record ‘Big Boi’, there is no place to go but up for Olubankole Wellington aka Banky W aka Mr Capable on his 3rd album – ‘The W Experience’; an album which encompasses all the good things that the Letter W starts with – Wealth, Women, Wonderful, Wisdom, Wish–lists (what? It’s Christmas).
The album begins with the “W Experience Intro” narrated by the beautiful Muna (that’s what the 2007 MGBN Munachi Abii is known as nowadays). Although lacking in energy, her voice sensually whets your appetite for the next array of songs. The silky and jazzily infectious “Can’t Stop Me (O o To Be)” which features new EME rapper – Skales eases in on cue taking the album energy level up. Cleverly produced by newcomer Sunny Nweke, Banky W talks about the industry, his capabilities that make it impossible for people to bring him down and how he meant no disrespect to Uncle Rueben Abati.
Up next is the monstrous hit 1st single “Strong Ting”. Banky W does well to ride the success of this mid-tempo song by complimenting it with a Video that MJ (RIP) would be proud of. The addition of Cobhams’ phenomenal hit making flute-like sound to Banky’s sprinkled intoxicating vocals should ensure award nominations for Mr Capable.
EME’s teenage signee Wizkid joins Banky on my favourite cut from the album – The ID Cabasa produced “Omoge U Too Much”. This dynamic duo showcases their musical chemistry in their efforts to woo the opposite gender. One thing’s for sure Cabasa + Banky = Certified Hit (I really hope they do a video for this). “Lagos Party” a definite club banger is produced by the talented Dokta Frabz. It showcases Lagos in all its splendour, elegance and freshness. Banky W pays homage to where he grew up; a City whose Nightlife & Parties know no bounds. The very catchy chorus ‘Aint No Party Like a Lagos Party’ will definitely come out of your lips while listening to this track. “Thief My Kele” is an album filler with the Usual Suspect OlaDele & the beautiful Waje.
Banky W continues to exercise his versatility with different types of production on the W Experience, stepping outside of his boundaries to provide the Typical 9ja Ass Shaking “Tanker”. K Solo’s signature is all over the multi-faceted sounds & heavy drum loops and should get a lot of spins in the Clubs. Tee Y Mix produces the sweet sounding Mid Tempo “No Be Lie” (I dey feel your swagger die) which features a touch of the 80s trumpets influence and finds the singer committing to become a fly chick’s maga while “Follow U Go” sees Banky reverting to his bread and butter, supplying rich vocals over Cobhams’ production to ensure a perfect Ballad.
Banky W returns to his roots and the key to a successful R&B record on the next three tracks: LOVE. On “Feeling It”, a tight rap verse comes courtesy of MI while Banky’s soft coos echo across the mellow backdrop. It is a gem of a track. The amazing baby-making ballad “So Brand New” will be on repeat on the Ladies’ Play-lists & Bed-side Stereos – A true Love-struck record. “Nobody”, the joint produced by the Muzik Men, contains pleas, promises & vows to a lady who is contemplating leaving the relationship. Banky does his best to convince the lady to stay.
Omo wetin dey happen/God gave us oil in the Delta/Water for Benue & Niger/Mineral resources all over/Then He called us Nigeria/We have no Natural Disasters/Na we dey cause kata kata/We come dey fall asunder/E Dey make me dey wonder. These are the opening lines to the Cobhams inspirationally produced “Why” which showcases Mr Wellington and arguably his best vocal performance on the album as he asks every Nigerian Why can’t Nigeria be so much better.
“Lagos Party (remix)” continues from where the original left off. The Cast of D Banj, Naeto C, Iceberg Slim, 9ice, eLDee & Muna all recount their party experiences in Lagos by dropping extremely tight verses. The remix is a guaranteed hit and DJs will be glad for this quality track. Maybe I’m just being greedy but I would have loved a different beat and also verses from Kel, DaGrin & Mode 9ine (Banky, here’s my Xmas wish-list for ya).
The album comes to a perfect conclusion as Puerto Rican born Interscope Records Signee Verse Simmonds drops his Island B (a mix of R&B, Hip-Hop and Caribbean sounds) type of flow on the “remix of Strong Ting” making it slightly better than the original. The collaboration works well.
With The W Experience, Banky W provides another great album to tuck into his small but ever growing portfolio as he continues to expand before 9ja’s very eyes. It was an experience where tracks with flaws were rendered inconsequential due to the quality of most songs ensuring that the album never strayed into boring mode.
Outstanding Tracks: Omoge U Too Much, Strong Ting, Lagos Party, Why, Lagos Party(remix), Follow U Go, Feelin It
Disappointing Tracks: The W Experience, Thief My Kele
VOCAL DROPS Rating System
OPINION (Personal): 8/10
SKIP FACTOR: 8/10
THE VERDICT: 8.3/10
It’s a shame that Nigeria has set a ‘Standard Price’ for CD Sales cos this is one album I would have paid much higher for. With The W Experience, you get to experience hints of what makes an album a classic and a masterpiece. Banky W tends to take the listeners on a swanky ‘Alice In Wonderland’ journey, one that showcases his consistency and capability as well as putting on pillars on the musical foundations already built for future masterpieces. Remember to include this CD in all your Christmas Hampers and gifts because trust me; the W Experience is on every lady’s wish-list.
Raindrops on roses & whiskers on kittens/bright copper kettles & warm woolen mittens/The W Experience album tied up with strings/these are a few of my favorite things.
Merry Xmas everyone & a Happy 2010!!!
This album MAKES THE iPOD
* The album artwork wrongly leaves out D’banj on the credits for artistes’ featured on the Lagos Party Remix. Sources state that he was a last minute but excellent addition to the song, and the Marketer had already gone ahead to print copies of the album sleeve prior to the final versions being submitted. Subsequent prints of the album will have the right credits.