Durella – King Of The Zanga …Nigerian Listening E.A.R. (Essential Album Rating)

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A strong review of Nigerian (Naija) albums
GENRE: Hip-Hop/African Pop
LABEL: TC Records
Year of release: 2009

Using the Google Maps to find ZANGA leads us to Mushin where another Zangalese gem has been unearthed. Throughout 2008, Durella dominated the Naija music circuit and generated the biggest buzz for an artist without a released album. Four massive singles in 2008, being crowned the Winner of the MTV base Advance Warning Artist in December, 2008 and armed with a 5 million Naira prize money, the stage was set for Oluwadamilare Okunlaja a.k.a DURELLA to blow up like Ikeja Cantonment. Even a continuous comparison (ENEMIES!) between him & D Banj only gave Durella more attention and as 2009 commenced, everyone was hollering “2 Gbaski!” This is the album review of KING OF THE ZANGA

After a not so impressive “Intro”, Durella starts his album with the best way to start everything, giving thanks to his Creator in “Merciful God” which samples the chorus of KSA’s old song with the same title. The outstanding heavy-hitting “Enu O Se”, my favourite track on the album, is next and has the recipe to make even old folks mime the words “Enu O Se, Durella” while dancing in their wheel chairs. He spits his signature line in the 2nd verse ‘..,that’s why they call me Omo Yapayaski, Durella Miskiyaski – 2 Baski’ . It’s a perfectly moulded track that fuses with his energetic flow.

He then declares himself a Gunners for Life Fan on “Gunners Anthem” which while not trying to be biased (ManUtd till I Die), was below par and the only thing that appealed to me was the lovely beat produced by the talented Dr Frabs. Surely all Gunner Fans will have a contrary view to mine and will keep bumping this track after every Arsenal Win this season. “Smash It” combines Durella’s raw energy with well-produced beats and destructive hooks, an average track at best and is certainly an album filler.

The smooth “Queen of My Zanga” is a nice joint. It’s like a diamond in the rough because it’s the only slow R & B track on this high-octane packed album. The 1st verse shows us Durella’s toasting skills:

‘Girl you know the reason why I want you to be my zanga queen / You too baski and like so you be like ice cream / You the one I want to give my love to, I am telling you / You too beautiful and at the same time you are so wonderful / I dey appreciate you, I dey gba dun you from your head to your toe / I dey feel so right when you are right beside me’

Though lyrically weak, it’s still got a melodic tune that ladies can slowly and sexily twist to in the comfort of their bedrooms. Things get better from here and we get hit by “Shayo”, a party track that in my own opinion has the Best Original Video done by any Nigerian Till Date. With spitz like “I dey Shayo with ma Paddy, my baby/ e no affect anybody na my money”, the track will make you higher than even the drink you’re sipping. ID Cabasa’s hard-beating fast tempo salsa-like beats will definitely make you get your swagger (or alanta) on.

Durella became a household name with his 1st single “Wiskolo Wiska” and the reason is evident from the moment the track starts, it shows a hungry MC eager to make a name quickly so as to fill up one of the few empty spots left in Naija’s Already Overpopulated Hip-hop scene. Durella drops witty rhymes with a laid back flow to OJB’s top-notch production. Durella comes lyrically correct on this track.

ID Cabasa clearly makes you all bounce on the track “In the Zanga” where Durella tells a story about he came through and how all kinds of trips can be found in the ZANGA.Take It Off” is a very suggestive track about his women should take it all off. It is a track for the clubs and bars. “On the Floor” disappoints because with a suggestive title that defines the track as a floor ripper in the Clubs, it fails to deliver on material. The beats for this are very elementary and sound like your typical Naija beats making it sound all grimey and ghetto-ish but still lacks the Durella Energy. What’s an album without a Crunked-out beat? “Queen of The Zanga(remix)” outshines the original because of the fast paced beats and increased tempos. It’s another gem on the album.

With 11 tracks, The King of the Zanga delivers a good debut album produced by four very talented Nigerians – Cash 11, Dr Frabs, ID Cabasa & OJB. Aside from the Powerful Producers on board, Durella pays a lot of attention to track structures and even when not everything fits, nothing sounds as if it was thrown in as a filler track.

Outstanding Tracks: Enu O Se, Shayo, Queen of The Zanga(remix), Wiskolo Wiska
Disappointing Tracks: On The Floor, Take It Off, Gunner’s Anthem, Smash It

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

Enemies may continue to hate on him calling him a D Banj Wannabe but after dropping hit after hit from his debut album with the same consistency, the self proclaimed King of the Zanga clearly stands out as an Original Act because of his catchy hooks, mad slangs and energetic delivery on his tracks. While Durella lacks the lyrical prowess and mic presence of an MI or Fela (R.I.P), he has wedged himself into Naija’s Hip-Hop class by keeping it in the Zanga. A 2 Gbaski effort!




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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