A strong review of Nigerian (Naija) albums
LABEL: Show Dem Records
Year of release: 2011
Show Dem Camp (also fondly called SDC by fans), a rap duo comprised of Ghost & Tec, are Nigerian rappers who are no strangers to the Nigerian music industry. They have been steadily honing their skills for years. In anticipation of their debut album, which had been expected since 2009, tracks like “Dreamer”, “Farabale”, and “Waiting for” were released as singles to wet the appetite of the audience.
This worked because the tracks made fans that much eager to get their hands on the album. Finally in September 2011, their debut album The Dreamer Project was released. The Dreamer Project is a 20 track album that features artistes such as Nneka, M.I, Poe, Eva, Temi Dollface, Efya, Badman Floss, Lynxxx, and MayD.
“Phone call (Skit)” kicks off the listeners journey into The Dreamer Project. This skit, features 2face discussing his eagerness to get the album (the sentiments of many SDC fans). Mr Idibia stresses that he wants to “hear rap and flow.” And on the second track “Welcome“, SDC give us a glimpse of said “rap and flow”. The track has Ghost and Tec schooling the listener, discussing their journey and struggles both personally and professionally. The track ends with Professor Wole Soyinka’s comments on the sad state of the Nigerian tertiary institution. Favorite lines: “Your motivations is paper but you swear you’re my kinfolk, Na lie/ Because I’m here chasing my dreams and I plan to make it last/Let’s get back to the curriculum/homework in particular/Study the greats/ Plagiarism is forbidden brah.”
After welcoming us to The Dreamer Project, we proceed to “Dreamer” (the first single off the album) a slow paced track which features M.I. On this track, we again have SDC discussing their journey and how in spite of all the odds their dreams have now become a reality. The production on this track is stellar. This is not surprising considering it was produced by I I I IKON. This is one of the stand out tracks on the album.
Just when you think all you’ll be listening to is songs about their journey, SDC flip the script with the ever lovely “Farabale“ (the second single off the album) featuring May D. For all the prospective women who want to date SDC, patience and sacrifice are imperative. To the women who cannot “Farable” and ultimately chop their money, you will be getting dumped off. The production (done by Spankie) on this track is nice and May D’s voice complements Tech & Ghost’s verses nicely. I’m not sure but this version of the song sounds a bit tweaked than the initial version that was released. Nonetheless, as always, high repeat value for this track.
From “Farabale” we make the transition to “Waiting For” (the third single) featuring up and coming singer/rapper Lucci. Compared to the previous tracks, this is a catchy fast paced song. Once you hear this song, you can’t help but move to it. We have SDC telling the women not to waste time and boogie down with them. Lucci’s voice is well suited to the song. The track was produced by Rundatrax. This track continues to rock parties and clubs.
The next track is a funny skit called “We Gele“. This skit mocks the stereotypical Lagos girl who only “drinks nectar rose and only wears Brazilian weave”. Jide, the central character in the skit, is made to endure the excesses of his lady friend. Favorite line: “Jide don’t be nervous my father is really nice.”
After “We Gele”, it’s on to the seventh track, “Getting you” featuring Benny P. This is a track that is geared for the clubs. Personally, I think it is a forgettable song.
The tempo of the album is once again slowed down with “Once upon a time”. This is another song that deals with SDC’s journey (by the time the listener is done, he/she will have better a picture of who Tec & Ghost are). IKON also produced this track.
“Na so we see am”, the ninth track on the album is one track that while it may not become as popular as some of the other songs, is one of the tracks that further reinforces the hype surrounding Ghost and Tec’s lyricism. This is a lovely hiphop track. “Back to the topic/damn I forgot it/ what was it?/I’m the shit, money, chicks, got it/Some rappers claim they’re fly as us/I’m like Iwo ke?“. The track was produced by Kurt.
The tenth track is “Wetin i go do“. Another track that was yet again produced by IKON. The beat for this song is lovely and SDC flow effortlessly on it as they ask the ladies what they need to do to get their love. This is a nice melodic track.
An SDC album would be incomplete without a song that deals with social issues. We get that song in “Talk about it” which features 2Face. It’s a heartfelt yet extremely melodic song. 2baba kills the chorus with his smooth voice. SDC spit heartfelt lyrics on the state of things in Nigeria. “Can I change a country with this song? I feel naive for even asking.” What’s required is some passion. This is a classic track that was produced by Show N Prove. We shall overcome. God bless Nigeria.
From social issues, we go to “Take it slow”. This track has a sleepy, reggae vibe feel. The track also features A1 and Lynxxx. It’s just an average track.
Track thirteen, “Paper” is another one of my favorite tracks on the album. The song is all about SDC getting the money. The track also has a nostalgic old school hiphop westcoast side vibe to it. The hook, which is quite cheesy, is a tweaked sample of Mase‘s “why you over there looking at me.” Jide from “We Gele” skit also adds some humor to the track. The track was produced by Show N Prove.
“Listen” is a track that features Temi Doll face and talented up and coming rapper Poe. With Temi providing the vocals on the chorus, each emcee raps about various issues that are dear to their hearts. Favorite lines: “A friend said that he couldn’t believe the fact that we’re privileged and gifted and still yet we chose to rap/But it’s hard for them to fathom that we’re on a different path/ I was destined to be great the very second I inhaled.” This is another cool song on the album.
SDC recruit Badman Floss to join them in turning up the tempo with the fun track “Get Up”. The track, which was produced by Ceeko, has a rock and hip hop feel. Badman Floss does the chorus justice. As a listener, you can’t help but bop your head to this. High replay for this track.
“Eyes on me” is sort of a redemption type track. SDC feature Nneka and May D. The song has all the artistes acknowledging their shortcomings all the while beckoning for the listener to “keep your eyes on me.” For a track that features Nneka, as a listener you expect more. But sadly it was more of a let down.
‘Down” which has SDC jumping in with Eva Alordiah is another okay track on the album.
“Higher” which features Efya is the official last track on The Dreamer Project. This track was produced by J-Sleek. Ghost and Tec dedicate this song to doubters who thought that they would never achieve any success. Coupled with Efya‘s voice, “Higher” has that celebratory “I have overcome” vibe to it that is just lovely.
The first of the bonus tracks has SDC featuring Sound Sultan. This is a very forgettable song.
The second and final bonus track on The Dreamer Project, “Tell me nothing”, is a song that has a classy old school jazzy vibe to it. It was actually one of the first songs that I heard from SDC. It features Tajie. With Tajie crooning on the chorus, SDC apologize to all the women that they have done wrong. It is a lovely song.
The Dreamer Project is Show Dem Camp’s proof that they are well groomed to take Nigerian rap music to the next level. The album is the actualization of the dreams and goals that Ghost & Tec have had for a long time.
With at least eight of the tracks on the album dealing with their journey and personal stories, it appeared the main theme of the album appeared to rest on the emphasis of giving fans the opportunity to get to know Show Dem Camp. Overall production on the album was also stellar. The only problem with the album is the length. 20 songs for an album is a lot. This problem could have been easily avoided by cutting the subpar tracks. Aside from that, The Dreamer Project is an album that that further buttresses the fact that SDC is worth all the hype.
Outstanding tracks: Dreamer, Farable, Na So We See Am, Wetin I Go Do, Talk About It, Paper, Listen, Get Up, Higher, and Tell me nothing.
Disappointing tracks: Getting you, Take it slow, Track 19.
VOCAL DROPS Rating System
Opinion (Personal): 7/10
Skip Factor: 7/10
THE VERDICT: 7.1/10
For a début album, I enjoyed the fact that SDC are open to sharing their journey and story with the listener. They have shown us that rappers don’t have to sacrifice lyricism for weak punch lines.
Granted the topics they rap about are nothing new, but what makes SDC special is their lyrical dexterity and delivery. Furthermore, with The Dreamer Project, the music cuts across various groups: From the strictly club / owambe music type (“Waiting for & “I’m getting you), to the fan who has a basic understanding of rap (“Farabale”), to the music must always have a message fan (“Talk about it”), to the rap connoisseur (“Once upon a time”, “Na so we see am”, “Listen”, “Dreamer”, to name a few), there’s truly something for everyone.
Tec and Ghost clearly show that it’s possible for two extremely talented and privileged young rappers to make fun, thoughtful music.
This album makes the iPod.