A strong review of Nigerian (Naija) albums
GENRE: Chante Chante/Afro Hip Hop
LABEL: TGP Entertainment
Year of release: 2010
The Game said it best – “Hate or Love It ; The Underdog’s on top”. Gabriel Oche-Amanyi aka Terry G’s mercurial rise from ‘almost being a backup singer to Faze’ to ‘becoming one of today’s most sort after music producers with his own unique addictive yet weird style of music’ cannot be ignored. In 2009 alone, Terry G was responsible for some of the biggest cuts that had us breaking our fingers (Alanta babeee!) – AY.com’s “Pass Me Ur Love” & “Free Madness” on which he shows us how to win a Hip-Hop World Award with un-meaningful words.
Terry G had 1st introduced us to his 5-man posse House Of Ginjah in his 2009 ‘Ginjah Ur Swagger’ album on the track “Ginjah Seduction”. He then decided to go a step further by taking a leap of fate to release a Posse album called “8th Mainland Bridge” against all the odds of known facts that most posse (with a superstar in the crew) albums don’t do so well – Nelly’s St Lunatics, Ludacris’ Disturbing Tha Peace, Jeezy’s USDA, Lil Wayne’s Young Money, Busta Rhyme’s Flipmode Squad, Fat Joe’s Terror Squad (I can go on and on). The only exceptions that come to mind are the Mo Hits’ “CV” & Wu-Tang Clan’s “Enter The 36 Chambers” albums that were both resounding successes.
House of Ginjah is made up of diverse artists – Chanter/Producer Terry G aka Hitman, 23 years old R&B crooner D Money (Oche Amanyi) who is Terry G’s younger brother, 24 years old rapper Rakwell (Ugochukwu Ikpeama), 25 year old Dancehall/Reggae Artist Prince Banton (Dare Egerega) and Hausa-infused lyricist I.Q. aka Finally Finally (Aliu Shoaga).
The 12 cut album starts with a nice intro which I prefer to most of the songs on the album where each crew member introduces himself while ‘Ginjah o! House of Ginjah o!/We keep moving on, we stay strong’ is chanted in the backdrop. “One Love” comes in and I can relate to it. Liking the production and hook on this especially Rakwell’s bars. Pretty decent track!
The next track “Street Life” samples Bilal’s 2001 “Fast Lane” beat which was produced by Dr Dre without even crediting it as sampled from the good Doctor (Nigeria’s Hip-hop is going global, we need to start respecting copyright by clearing all samples). As far as it goes, that’s only flaw I can point to in the song cos the beat (which I was already in love with) seems to provide the perfect platform for all of them to showcase why Terry G had the church mind to invest his production time in them. Feeling IQ, Prince Banton & Rakwell on this one. This is my fave cut off the album.
Next up is your standard Terry G production on “Let It Go” where his unique chante chante genre (Genre definition: Chanting like a prophet without thinking or writing the songs, simply using the environment as an inspiration) kicks in and this will probably end up on DJ sets. Pretty average for me although liking the snares in between the racy beats. The madness continues on “Free Madness Part 3” as the Spiritual Chanting Mad Hitman takes the shine on this track (that maybe shouldn’t have even been done at all), the beats are different though along with new verses.
Hold Up! Is this a mixtape? Nah, it’s an album and homey Terry G jacks another beat for his track “We So Flashy”. He jacks Ron Browz’ beat from “I Promise” off the shelved ‘Ether Boy’. The track was already tired in my head due to all the spins it got in the clubs last year so i’m gonna skip this. “Hip-Hop” is a cacophony of noise and if anything sounds more like Dancehall than Hip-Hop. Might grow on me if I probably hear it a bit more. On the fence on this one.
Shayo Pisanta is the only credited artist (becos I think I heard a female voice on “Electric Ginjah”) to be featured on the crew’s album and he jumps on the next 2 tracks “Pop Your Collar” & “Party 2 Nite”. The auto-tuned “Pop Ur Collar” is all about swagger and is quite good. The latter is just average. Not feeling it at all.
Liking the hook & beats on “Rock It” and Rakwell & Prince Banton kill the track. Nice track. At the stage “Sugar” kicks in, I start realising that House Of Ginjah can only go so far before their album starts sounding boring with similar themes. Not even Prince Banton’s verse could save this one for me as my enthusiasm slowly dims during the writing process.
“What You Know”? Again with the Beat jacking! Does Terry G think we don’t listen to International music? Well some of his fanatical fans from Spare Parts shops probably don’t and won’t know Lil Mama & her hard hitting “Lip Gloss”; but we do …shame on you Gabriel, have u gone all secular that you’ve forgotten your commandments – “Thou shall not steal”; but alas who are we to throw stones when we are not without sin (Slu…shh memoirs anyone?). I actually liked the hook on this one and Rakwell’s verse.
Think I’m being too harsh? At least the raga infused popish “Electric Ginjah” should get ladies whining and grinding from the drop of the beat. This enjoyable cut brings the curtains down on the album.
Although no particular song is blatantly bad, some just get a bit repetitive or boring at times. “8th Mainland Bridge” ultimately serves its purpose, providing a platform for the House mates of Ginjah to showcase their abilities. Terry G produced all the tracks and lent his voice and chants to his newly recruited up and coming artists as his own way of helping out. Rakwell & IQ were the standout acts for me on this album and I hope to see them doing solo albums in the near future. The album has enough bounce to play from start to end for a house party which is typical of Terry G’s productions.
Outstanding Tracks: Intro, One Love, What U Know, Street Life
Disappointing Tracks: Party 2nite, Let It Go, Sugar, Free Madness Part 3
VOCAL DROPS Rating System
OPINION (Personal): 4/10
SKIP FACTOR: 5/10
THE VERDICT: 5.3/10
One of the earliest definitions of Music I can recall being taught in my primary school was that ‘Music is organized noise that is agreeable (pleasing and harmonious) to the ear.’ People please stop hating on Terry G, even if he’s not making sense on his tracks. The mere fact that he can package and sell his nonsense is genius itself. His music gets all the Parties jumping (FULL STOP).
The problem however on this album is that unlike past posse introductory albums (re: Mo Hits’ “CV”), there isn’t a neutral ground where everyone has an equal opportunity to become a star. All tracks on the album features Terry G, even when unnecessary like on the curtain drop “Electric Ginjah”. The landlord of the House is the same person stifling the same talents he’s trying to display. Let’s hope he learns from this and the House of Ginjah improve on their humble beginnings.
Please ensure you negotiate when buying this album.