Mode Nine – Da Vinci Mode …Naija Listening E.A.R. (Essential Album Rating)

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Mode Nine - Da Vinci Mode

A strong review of Naija albums
GENRE: Hip Hop
LABEL: Redeye Muzik
Year of release: 2010

A name that is sure to feature on a list of 9ja’s Hip Hop’s underachievers is Mode Nine. Much like fellow eMCees Terry Tha Rapman & OverDose, it’s not that his catalogue is riddled with bad or below average tracks; rather, it’s the fact that Record Labels keep screwing our own Most Conscious MC up and his albums end up failing to live up to the lyrical talent he possesses. On Da Vinci Mode, he tries to build on the success of his previous album Paradigm Shift to finally become the Heavyweight MC Champion of Naija that everyone thinks he should be.

After a very unclear album intro from Will I Am that ought to have been left out, 9ine jumps on Kraft’s beats on “We At It Again” to showcase his well known art of story-telling. The 1st opening lines – “Without the 160BPM tracks/I still defeated them wack rappers/Sending them back to the Stone Age …” make me drop the remote and listen right to the end. It’s a good opening track. On the other hand, “So Fly” sounds like a track from the 20th Century and it might have been better if it was left out all together.

“Badman” which features A1 is a classic and my favorite cut on the album. 9ine outdoes himself on this track. This track has been in heavy rotation for months on DJs sets and I’m sure it won’t slow down throughout 2010. On “Black Rap Messiah” 9ine enters into his usual MODE i.e. One DJ, One Mic, One MC and lots of hardcore bars. He shows off his lyrical prowess – “I need a new conquest/ U’re a target, the bulls eye’s on your chest/The only time I failed a Polygraph test/was when  I said I wasn’t the Best/I tried to be modest/ But to be honest …” and ensures that this track will surely satisfy his true Fans.

Teaming up with Tuface, Mode Nine brings his album to the masses with a cut like no other on the current airplay. Backed by one of Kraft’s finest production to date, 9ine brings you “We Dey Vex” with so many hot disses & punch-lines – “Ron Browz urself & jump out the window…” “Follow me blindly like Stevie Wonder’s Twitter Page”. It is a hot track that mixes Hip-hop’s street awareness with 9ine’s gift of braggadocious bars and the best part is that the track is Alaba friendly.

My remote goes into Skip Mode on tracks “My Life” and “Muzik Lives”. They are typical Mode Nine tracks; sounds just like his earlier materials, although the Muzik Lives hook tends to grow on you. Folks who liked Ja Rule‘s duets with female singers will enjoy the DJ Klem’s beat driven track “Whut U Want”; Modey & Mocheddah do something special on this track.

Many Hip-hop fans for years have looked to Mode Nine as a savior of Naija’s Music. The masterpiece of “Rhyme Tight” explains why. Wassbeats tight production coupled with Notorious BIG’s lines from “Juicy” for the hook, goes ahead to create an exceptional album cut. Modey does not disappoint and scorches the track so hard that Frank White himself would have to approve. I’m just hoping all samples were cleared for this track as it has the potential for International greatness. He then moves unto the next track and pays homage to the streets of “Okokomaiko”.

“Thinking about You” is a silky smooth vibe and showcases Modey touching on something close to everyone’s heart. “Tears Of Pain” featuring Ososensi follows a similar soulful smooth route; 9ine drops his breezy rhymes effortlessly. He then goes ahead to provide us with his own list of the Greatest Super Eagles Players on “Top Eleven”

“Loke” is another outstanding track on the album and is already being heard heavily on the radio waves. The track features YQ and OD and also has a very smooth feel to it. “Remember” takes you down Memory lane in 9ja Hip Hop & 9ine’s own Musical Humble Beginnings. Track is slightly above average.

“Down” showcases eMCees spitting at their Best! Blaise, Kraft, Modey & Tha Rapman drop bars like they are in Cipher Booth at BET. Track should get your Head Bopping and Tha Rapman kills all other MCs with his verse. It is reminiscent of LL Cool J’s “4,3,2,1” track. I did hate the “Thriller” laughter at the end though.

“Tales of the Pot” is another track that should have been left out. The “Love Jones” hook is jacked from Method Man’s rap from Mary J. Blige’s “All I Need” and even sounds like it; it is slightly above average. “Talking Comedy Money” is an okay track which showcases Modey’s art of Yarn spinning and use of wise punch-lines as he takes playful jabs at 9ja’s Comedians. “Soul To Keep” is a hardcore track that lacks the bite of his earlier classics. “Death Blow Part 2” does not continue from where Part 1 left off; but simply brings the album to a conclusion.

After listening to this album, it’s obvious that with each release, Mode Nine is getting closer and closer to mastering his craftsmanship of storytelling. This is his first album in which listeners really get the feeling that he is evolving, still full of originality, with the wisdom of a veteran, coupled with the punch-lines and disses that have been a staple in his music over the years. Armed with many talented producers, Da Vinci Mode may not be masterpiece Modey set out for, but when Hip Hop Heads look back upon his discography, this album will be the one that discourages any ideas that Mode Nine is incapable of releasing an album which truly reflects his lyrical brilliance.

Outstanding Tracks: Rhyme Tight, Badman, Loke, Down, We Dey Vex, Thinking About You
Disappointing Tracks: Soul To Keep, Tales of The Pot, So Fly, My Life

VOCAL DROPS Rating System
VERSATILITY: 9/10
OPINION (Personal):8/10
CREATIVITY: 7/10
ACCEPTANCE: 5/10
LYRICS: 9/10
DELIVERY: 10/10
RHYTHM: 7/10
ORIGINALITY: 7/10
PRODUCTION: 8/10
SKIP FACTOR: 6/10

THE VERDICT: 7.6/10
Babatunde Olusegun aka Mode Nine has always kept it real for true Hip-Hop heads; always choosing his own direction on how his music would be made never sacrificing Lyrical intent for Alaba’s quick selling gimmicks. The effect has been one of the most talented MCs to ever grace this foreign culture being held to an unwavering scrutiny that would break most cats. However Mode Nine defies the old adage – you can’t please them all. On Da Vinci Mode, it is now obvious Mode Nine doesn’t conform to traditional thinking, which would explain why he has gone and pleased nearly everyone – Hardcore Hip-hop Heads & the rest (Alaba Commercial fans).

This album MAKES THE iPOD.

Oyeakd

Oyeakd

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

10 comments

  1. DVM is sure a versatile piece of work from M9.
    He’s evolvin’ and it shows. This is good as it emphasises that M9 is still much relevant in the Hiphop genre in 9ja.

    I agree wit most of ur assertion too. Howeva, leavin out My Life or rather ratin it under Disappointin’ Tracks is soooooo heart breakin’. Gosh, that was a fire award-winning-track! The idea/concept and delivery and the emotion it packs is awesome. But i guess it’s ur opinnion.

    So fly is.errrmmm…really so fly!. But again i guess we all listen differently. It’s a feel good track, and im down with the sound/beat cal it 20th century, but it still sounds fly to me.
    It gives a perfect continuation to We at it Again. If u chucked it out of d album it’ll take lots away from it. U wdnt kno wat controversy and negative insinuations about M9 “skillery” that So Fly track adressed.Plus,it adressed it so fly…opps.. i mean so well! 🙂

    And Tales of pot simply blessed me. Tho not a new story, i feel M9 story tellin’ skill came tru beta on this track than d remainin’ 3.
    Nice revie all the same.
    Good lookin’.

    oNe

  2. After litsening to the full album,i had to hail him because i think he did a good job on this compare to all other albums since he’s been in the game.I concur this yur write up & yes it will make every ipod cos its already on mine.I have good ears 4 good music and Yes Modenine have truely improved.Major Shout Out to Him and to all others making Naija proud in the Industry !

  3. WHY DO U PEOPLE JUST PULL OTHER PEOPLE’s ARTICLES AND PASTE THEM AS THOU U WROTE THEM(i saw dem on sturvs.com)……I AM SURE U HAVENT LISTENED TO DIS ALBUM SEF.
    1. SO FLY is completely FLY.WHAT WUD U SAY ABOUT SNOOP’s SENSUAL SEDUCTION.DATS THE IDEA….CLASSY BEAT WITH A CLASSY CHORUS TO FIT
    2.MUSIC LIVES….every individual has his/her style…so y criticise.MODE has come down a nuff & need not b crictised if he does 2or3 traxxs that match his style…….BY THE TIME M.I DROPS 3 ALBUM U WILL C D THAT THERE R SOM SIMILARITIES IN HIS SONGS.U DONT JUGDE A LONG TYM ARTIST LIKE U JUDGE A NU ONE

    SOUL TO KEEP….IS NOT WEAK.ITS ONLY PERCIEVED AS FHOU COS FOR A PERSON AS GANGSTAR AS MODE TO RELEASE A GOSPEL STUFF…….ITS NOT BAD AT ALL.HE HAS HIS BELIEVES TOO
    4.UR RATING SEEMS BAD.CHECK OUT UR ACCEPTANCE AS 5 thats too low cbeck out web forums u will c d difference

  4. hey bhydemi i fink u r takin dis d wrong way… i’ve listened to d album myself and d only thing oyeakd stated in d review that i might not agree with is d song so fly… its one of my best tracks on the album buh evry other thing is right, i am a big modenine fan buh i fink i love e’pluribus unum better even though dis nu album sounds more commercial dan d rest. big ups to modey though, BIG FAN!

  5. heyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy………………..wat u fink…mode 9 is old time great …and he gat to sit and watch we young swaggs …………….am kola …the realest..u wanna hook up 08020516411…and let do real hardcore shit…if u fake ,u helll down the pit….jus be real before calllin me………

  6. Your rating seems quack to me, are you really hip-hop. The most disappointing of this rating of yours is under-rating MY LIFE which is actually the best track on the album…The album is Modey's best since Pentium IX…Go listen again

  7. mode9ine didnt improve.he has being this tyte if not better…he just changed beats…he left d boombap n hardcore beats a little…my life is d best rap song dis yr…this reviewer na choc boys fan…for me d album na 8/10…but E PLURIBUS UNUM remain no 1 cos of songs lyk leadas of 2mao,cry,fellow 9gerians,spectacular n contradiction…my life is as dope as cry

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