Kel – The Investment …Naija Listening E.A.R. (Essential Album Rating)

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A strong review of Naija albums

GENRE: Hip Hop
LABEL: CAPital Hill Music
Year of release: 2009

Okay so we got advance warnings on CAPital Hill’s new Lyrical Investment in the Zain sponsored MTV Show but nothing could have really prepared us for KELechi Ohia’s lyrical debut. In an industry dominated by male MCs globally (Queen Latifah & MC Lyte had to come out with new albums after an hiatus of 11 and 16 years respectively to help rebuild the female MC scene with Jean Grae & Nicki Minaj being the only 2 hot acts in the Global scene today), Kel with her adorable smile and lyrical prowess obviously isn’t ready to stay content with becoming Naija’s No 1 female MC but rather battle for the top spot irrespective of gender.

And so as our Naija Stock market prices continue to prefer Kobo as the choice of currency, let’s explore the 15 reasons why we should all invest in Kel’s Investment album.

After an “Intro” that reminds us of Kel’s ill verse on the Ill Bliss’ classic “U Go Wound O remix” track, the album starts proper with the smash single, “Waa Wa Alright” which showcases a hungry female MC and the energetic Skin with his power-charged ‘Awon Boyz’ hook. Being the 1st single off the album, Kel displays a very capable flow, albeit with simple lyrics and rhymes. The players change but the game’s the same/Don’t hate, just scream my name/It’s Kel & I’m off the chain/This sh*t is so insane.  If you weren’t convinced of Kel’s impressive flow yet, the next track “Nobody Else” with Shank & Tha Suspect will definitely ease any concern on her hit-making ability. Shank’s ragga +Kel’s Rap + Tha Suspect’s RnB Chorus = BANGER. The track is laced with an infectious Suspect produced beat that all three (especially Shank) tear apart from start to end with their tripartite flow. “Turn by Turn” flows in next with YQ & newcomer Wizkid with the ‘Be Patient …Wait your Turn’ message which will surely sink in.

Featured Aique puts De La into the Soulful “Beautiful Life”. This joint is smooth and Kel’s flows compliment Suspect’s beats. “Jeun Soke” is a weak effort for a Club Jam and will probably get skipped every time. It’s a shame that Kel couldn’t do justice to Jesse Jagz heavy driven beats.

My favorite track off the album and probably Kel’s best work on the album is her latest single – the up-tempo banger “Too Fine”. Kel is joined on the track by rapper Alaye, MayD crooning the hook – You too fine, girl you dey blow my mind (my mind girl)/ You too fine, Kel you be one of a kind (a kind girl) & an assembly of TY Mix’s concocted groovy beats. It’s pure magic & like she raps – U (they) keep coming back cos U (they) wantin more/Hell No! U (They) ain’t ready for a flippin encore.

Energy filled “Omo Yapayaski” which features the Zanga King Durella is another DJ’s investment from the album. Her flows are tight (Fresher than fresh, I’m back on the scene/Lyrically the best I’m the realest ever seen) over the drum loops and Durella energy signature is all over the track.

Cupid’s arrow must have found its mark when Kel was in the studio, cos the next three tracks- “Need You in My Life” ft Six & Darey; “Boy meets Girl” ft SLK and “Love” ft  MI & OC are all love songs. Her art of storytelling must be at its best when she’s talking about love. “Boy meets Girl” & “Love” are stand out tracks, easy on the ear and floats through your surrounds and speakers making the ambience right for some panty dropping (Yes BOSS). Invest your time in these tracks & you won’t be disappointed.

You guys moving yet? Cos the next track WILL MAKE YOU MOVE (just like dat). On “Dem Don Dey Move”, Kel lines up a ferocious pack – Ill Bliss, Tha Suspect & newcomer Uchie to rip up Suspect’s produced Seismic (Are you feeling these beats) & Grimey Beats. Ill Bliss unfortunately takes the shine on this one as he does the next track – the below average “Die Hustling”. The raga infused “Push” which features Naija Dancehall Star Nyore is quite good but Kel simply rides out the beats with very elementary rhymes (wish her verses were tighter on this one, should have been her next single)

The remix to “Waa Wa Alright” showcases a punchy verse from Chocolate City’s Ice Prince with a slightly different beat. “Sitting On Top” which features Waje & Jesse Jagz has the team TPaining on the track. Gosh! I hate Auto-Tunes (No disrespect, T-Wayne). Would have loved to hear this track without the Auto-tune cos I was kinda feeling Jesse Jagz’ verse

Though many may argue that this album was over-packed with so many MCs, I see it differently as A Hip-Hop Battle Contest similar to the MTV’s Advance Warning Show but this time Kel takes no prisoners -male or female (apart from Ill Bliss …reminds me how Jay-Z always stole the show on any track he was on) and can raise her head high.

Production is also very tight on this album and why shouldn’t it be, the album’s productions are provided by the Hottest Producers around – Tha Suspect, Dr Frabs, TY Mix, Jesse Jagz, Bigfoot & J Martins. Every album needs just one of these guys and Kels’ was invested in by all of them.

Outstanding Tracks: Nobody Else, Too Fine, Love, Dem Don Dey Move, Omo Yapayaski
Disappointing Tracks: Jeun Soke, Sitting On Top, Die Hustling

VOCAL DROPS Rating System
OPINION (Personal): 7/10
LYRICS: 6/10
RHYTHM: 7/10

Armed with a devastating smile and Rapping with so much swag, class & all her clothes on (which is quite odd for a female MC), Kel’s Piggy Bank is now ready for an upgrade to a CBN board-appointed Bank. Kel has upped the standards for Naija’s Hip-Hop game giving a new voice to Girl Power in this male dominated industry and is definitely gonna fall the walls of female marginalization in Naija’s Hip-Hop game.

With so many guest appearances (and so many of her advance warning buddies), this is the true Collabo album (sorry Dee Bee) which in the end still puts Kel in the limelight. She’s definitely one for the present and the future. Let’s hope her stocks keep rising and don’t forget to INVEST in her album. I daresay this album is far better than most of the albums out there. MALE or FEMALE

This album MAKES THE iPOD.



Slick with his tongue but even slicker with his mind, Oye AKD's huge MP3 library spans over Terabytes. One of the last of his kind, he collects everything from Comics to Stamps to Gadgets to DVDs. Follow him on Twitter @oyeakd as he takes you on a 360 Degrees Journey into Music and everything else related to HipHop


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