eLDee – Is It Your Money? vol. 1 …Naija Listening E.A.R. (Essential Album Rating)

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A strong review of Naija albums
GENRE: Hip Hop
LABEL: Trybe Records
Year of release: 2010

Ever since the release of eLDee’s ‘Is It Your Money?’ CD, peeps have been asking me if this is a Mixtape(Why is it being sold?) or an Album. I have decided to try and explain the difference between a Mixtape & an Album to the best of my knowledge.

Although both are extremely similar, a mixtape is generally a promotional tool used to generate ‘Hype’ for an artiste, promote an upcoming album or simply try to gain a fan base. Mixtapes allow you to experiment with your style to see how fans react to it before going in a certain direction. They allow artists to freestyle over jacked beats, sample other people songs. Sometimes Mixtapes are sold due to the costly production that may have gone into them; I bought both Drake’s ‘So Far Gone’ and Chris Brown’s ‘Handwriting on The Walls’ mixtapes digitally; 50 Cent sold his Hit Mixtapes before he was snapped up by Dr Dre

However, the strength of the album is the greatest weakness of a mixtape – albums have far higher budgets and feature original or cleared sampled material. There’s a thin line these days. But mostly, mixtapes are just that extra materials not on any album. Hope this little explanation helped clear the confusion that eLDee has every right to sell this Mixtape like an Album.

Moving on, 9ja Hiphop veteran Lanre Dabiri aka eLDee has come a long way from rapping in the 90s along with KaBoom & Freestyle as Trybesmen and still, he feels he has something to prove.

With the success of his last album “Big Boy” thanks to the monster hit single with the same name, eLDee tries to keep the fire burning with his latest Mixtape.

The “Intro” is a cleverly interwoven tale as eLDee narrates the milestones in his musical life. His bars on this track are the hottest on the mixtape “…Off to UNILAG, shock of a culture/snakes & lions, hyenas & vultures/ Wanted me to blend in but I ain’t a dumb one/ A part of me kept sayin I had to be someone” It shows us a mature eLDee armed with the art of storytelling and heck I think he even takes a swipe @ his old Trybesmen team-mate “How I’m fight fools that do not show up”.

“U Blow My Mind” shows eLDee versatility, spitting in three languages – Yoruba, Hausa & English over a sick, energy fueled beat which comes courtesy of Silvastone Beats. Yung Joc adds no extra dimension on the remix to last year’s monster hit – “Big Boy” and was probably just added for those who hadn’t heard it last year.

Next up is the bluesy, soul looped track – “Na You” which features Michael World and sees eLDee professing love to his heartthrob. Song will definite grow on you. Ikechukwu & Saucekid join eLDee on “Fly Away” as three wax lyrically about how they have strived for success and have ensured a brighter future.

With “Do It”, eLDee makes it clear he is gunning for the clubs. With assistance from the ever beautiful Kel, this song stands out both in production and lyrics. The sampling of “Da Finest” is also blended in so nicely. It is a near perfect track. The next two tracks – “Koleyewon” & “One Day” puts eLDee in his comfort zone with the latter trying to console 9ja citizens that things will surely get better. It’s quite similar to his 2006 Hit – “Me I Go Yarn” but isn’t as ‘goose-bumpin’.

The club driven “Ota Mi” is a massive track and is doing quite well even on the 360nobs.com Rotation Fans’ Choice Top 10 Chart (https://www.360nobs.com/2010/05/360-rotation-ur-top-10-9ja-chart-2/). LKT christens the track with the right dosage of yoruba vocals. eLDee drops bars so smoothly over the rich production. My favourite cut off this Mixtape

eLDee experiments with Dokta Frabz to produce the Timbaland-influenced “Feel Good Music”. The track doesn’t fail to deliver and features tight verses from Naeto C & Jimmy Flames and is really worth the listen.

“Bosi Gbangba(Pop remix)” comes with a new snazzy beat & Trybe Records artist Proto also drops some bars on it. Lyrics from eLDee are the same. eLDee then covers Drake’s monster track “Best I Ever Had” and fails to add anything new to it. Like I said, it’s a mixtape and he was probably experimenting with the track. It would be hard for any MC really to flow over the track and make it better than Drake’s.

I really like “Slow Down” a saccharin sweet track by Chiddy Bang which eLDee features on along with Black Thought of The Roots “…slow down/men I gotta slow down/there’s way too many friends and gossip that go round/wish I would have knew what I know now/But for now, Life’s feels better when you slow down”

The heavy beat driven “Ogede” wraps the mixtape with pace as eLDee goes in raw with a display of slick wordplay. This is definitely heading to the clubs! Ladies start practicing in your rooms with this track.

For me on this mixtape, eLDee falls into the trap of making tracks based on what’s hot @ the moment. The problem with that is that trends end daily, but since it is a Mixtape it can’t really be a problem cos he’s experimenting with his style. The Mixtape is full of cuts that are potential radio hits and these cuts will add to eLDee’s already illustrious repertoire. Love this Mixtape or Hate it, the man is a Legend. tha Don has seen cats (even those close to him) come and go in a difficult profession that gets harsher by the day.

Outstanding Tracks: Ota Mi, Intro, U Blow My Mind, Slow Down, Do It, Feel Good Music
Disappointing Tracks: Best I Ever Had (African remix), Big Boy(Yung Joc remix)

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

THE VERDICT: 7.2/10
Even though this Mixtape does not compare to MI’s ‘Illegal Music’ & Mode 9ine’s ‘09.09.09’, “Is It Your Money” makes us realize that eLDee still knows how to make “Feel Good Music”. Ultimately, I think it’s a lot harder to make a great album that it is to make a “great” mixtape and when his next album drops, we can be sure it will be a visionary album dropped by a visionary …and yes, it is my money that bought this Mixtape.

This mixtape 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

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