A strong review of Nigerian (Naija) albums
GENRE: R&B/Afro Pop/Reggae/Hi-Life
LABEL: SQUARE Records
Year of release: 2011
The Invasion P Square Style!!
Twins Peter and Paul Okoye make up the duo known as P-Square. The two man group which is arguably one of Nigeria’s biggest exports epitomizes the phrase “keeping it in the family”. They are managed by their elder brother Jude ‘engees’ Okoye who also doubles as their video director. P-Square are also one of Nigeria’s most criticized acts. Yes we love to dance to their on point beats and sing along to their catchy hooks, but we are always eager to point out that the new P-Square song is a sample of an already established (usually foreign) hit song.
The duo are well past their days as struggling musicians and their latest effort titled “The Invasion” comes at a point in their lives where they have achieved Superstar status both locally and continentally. The official album release took place in an extravagant ceremony that saw the brothers stage a unique and very commendable performance. I do hope that P-Square’s Invasion will live up to its very ambitious name.
So join me as we see if P-Square’s Invasion really Invades!
The album opens with BEAUTIFUL ONYINYE, it is a familiar P-Square type sound. It is easy on the ears and consists of their typical catchy hook; Mama let me see you wombolo| wombolo wombolo wombolo eh. The message of this song is simple “Dear mum I’ve found my wifey”. The only downside of this song is that it sounds exactly like a P-Square song, I was hoping the Okoyes’ would take a little risk and attempt to sound different. However perhaps it is a result of their hardwork that they can now be identified by a signature sound.
CHOP MY MONEY is one the ladies will be singing to their men. In this one P-Square welcome onboard their new signee. The only member of Square records without the Okoye suffix; goes by the moniker May D and his voice is amazing. Now back to why the ladies will recite this song, here are a few lines from the song; She must chop my money| Chop my money Chop my money| Cos I dnt care I dnt care | I no fear cos e no dey empty. This song had me in giggles. It is the first bright spot on this album. May D’s R&B voice complimented his label mates beautifully. Flip-Tyce produced this one and should be complimented. The beat is just right. Nothing too heavy.
The next song has a very interesting title “ASAMKPOKOTO”, I won’t even attempt to translate that, apparently my Ibo is not of the boiled variety. It is another typical P-Square sound/song and I can sense that I’m going to be saying this line a lot. There’s nothing overly remarkable with this one. It’s an okay song. It comes with the standard catchy hook and good beat.
DO AS I DO is reminiscent of Do Me I Do You off their prior album, the difference here is that the brothers ellicit Tiwa Savage’s and May D’s help. Now we all know Tiwa is an amazing singer, however I was left a little disappointed. Not in Tiwa but the Okoye brothers. I guess seeing as it is their first time working with her they were unsure as to how much she can do. It is my opinion that Tiwa should have had a lot more song time on this track. May D was prominent throughout the entire song, however Tiwa’s presence was somewhat fleeting and left me wanting more. That said it is a very good effort from all concerned.
FOREVER was one of two singles that heralded the release of The Invasion album. A few people had complaints about this song. Most notable of which are those who say it doesn’t deliver as expected especially from an established act like P-Square. I have a completely different view. I think this song is one of the strongest off this album. It has been out there for months now so I’ll let you make up your own mind. For me it’s a good song. ME AND MY BROTHER is the first visible low for me on this album. I was bored after a minute and I glanced at the album cover to glimpse what would come next. I hoped and prayed it would be something good and when I spied JEJE feat WAJE my heart lept for joy. True to form Waje certainly saved the day. Her sonorous vocals turned this song on its head, bringing a whole new quality to what would have been a typical P-Square sound. A big well done to Waje and to the Okoyes’ for being magnanimous in having WAJE co-pilot this one. She did a fantastic job and thanks to her, JEJE is definitely another bright spot on this album.
Another old staple is BUNIEYA ENU which was released as a single off this album alongside FOREVER. If you’re IGBO or affiliated with a church whose congregation boasts of a fair amount of IGBOs then this song should feel very familiar. P-Square samples one of the more entertaining Igbo worship songs. The hook was catchy enough before the Okoyes and I assure you that irrespective of your opinions on the quality of the song you’ll be singing along after first listen. It is a feel good, thank God type song.
OLE BURUKU doesn’t really knock my socks off. I do recognise May D providing back up vocals to this song. Sorry if I sound like a broken record but this is another typical P-Square song. With PLAYER the Okoyes tell the guys to keep their ladies away because they are players. Another P-Square type sound/soung. No surprises on this track.
SHE’s HOT is up next and it features rapper Naeto C. Seeing as I’m a Super C fan my expectations are high. I hope like Waje did, Naeto can add a new flavour to this soup. May D’s addition to Square Records is definitely a plus, he is once again present pulling backup vocals duties. P-Square chose to save Naeto C for last. 2.30mins into the song sees me in panic mode. I’m here yelling “Where is Naeto C?!!!!”. A few seconds shy of 3mins my wish is granted and Naeto C makes an appearance. He ends his verse with this line; “So you can upgrade her P to P-Square”. The song itself is easy on the ears and a pretty decent effort.
The roof, the roof, the roof is on fire. If I had a penny for everytime that line has been used I would be paying someone to write this review. That line kicks off the next song on The Invasion. Aptly named FIRE, it is the obvious club banger off this album. The lack of originality might leave you feeling let down, but slow your roll. This groovy dance track is bound to have you partying like Paris in that random night club.
ANYTHING kinda feels like it’s the concluding part to DO AS I DO. However the killer beat should also make this a party staple. With that we come to the last song on P-Square’s latest effort. SHAKE IT DOWN LOW feats beauty queen cum rapper Munachi Abi and emerging rap talent Eva Alordiah. This is arguably one of “THE” songs in the album. The ladies brought their A-game. Muna kicks off proceedings and does pretty well, setting the tempo for a stellar performance from Eva. I daresay Eva is incapable of disappointing (well so far). She is one to watch. This track is a welcome end to the album, truth is after listening to an album that is thouroughly “P-Square” (except for a few mentionables) any change is welcome. Good song, almost great and I commend P-Square for sharing the spotlight with two talented female rap artistes.
Outstanding Tracks: CHOP MY MONEY, JEJE, SHAKE IT DOWN LOW
Disappointing Tracks: ME AND MY BROTHER, PLAYER
VOCAL DROPS Rating System
OPINION (Personal): 6/10
SKIP FACTOR: 5/10
THE VERDICT: 6.1/10
THE INVASION IS NOT YET COMPLETE!
P-Square may not be the most skilled musicians out there, well if you were to grade them solely on their musicianship they would probably fall short. However if they were judged by passion, hardwork, perserverance and entertainment value P-Square will definitely rank in the top tier everyday of the week. The most glaring thing about this Twin duo is their growth. Over the years they have worked their way to the top of the Nigerian music industry. P-Square are huge acts on the continent and with a fan base of adoring followers they are certainly one to envy.
Now with this album P-Square have done what they do best, they have put together a P-Square album. One would expect that at this stage in their career they would be open to experimenting with their sound, they chose to play it safe.
My only disappointment with this album is that it sounds exactly like the P-Square I have come to know. Some might say this is a plus as it shows they have managed to develop a sound that can be recognised as distinctly theirs. Thankfully P-Square is a group that doesn’t restrict itself to the music but brings that extra something to the table with their entralling live performances and quality videos.
While the music leaves more to be desired I suspect that after a few videos, P-Square’s Invasion will become a staple in most of our lives. The Okoyes are not yet at their best but this is a noticeable improvement from their previous albums. They may not have pulled off an Invasion this time around but I sense that they are dangerously close to doing so.
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