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
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.