Teen pop sensation Davido dropped his much anticipated debut album recently amidst the kind of hoopla and media blitz that many a veteran can only ever dream about. If Wizkid’s ‘Superstar’ album launch was the musical event of 2011, surely Davido’s O.B.O. has to be a contender for this year’s honors. Why? It had all the ingredients- hordes of screaming fans, half of the music industry’s A-list performing, (vip) tables sold for upwards of a million Naira and the gracious presence of the richest African alive.
Yup! Our boy Davido is white hot!
Sadly, the album isn’t; white hot that is. It’s not red hot. Frankly, it’s not hot at all and it definitely isn’t good. What it is is amateurish, overlong and under stuffed.
The opening track ‘All of you’ is a fair attempt at an up tempo party starter where he immediately affirms he is bigger than all his haters. He finds space to acknowledge top guns like D’banj and P-Square, leaving no doubt as to where exactly he imagines himself on the pop ladder. If only he was ready to work as hard. The big beats and sing along hook makes this one of the better tracks even when he dilutes the effect with atrocious lines like if i want to shit, dem go talk/ if I want to tweet, dem go talk. On any decent album, this song would be strictly filler material and the fact that it pops out here is testament to just how uninspiring this record is.
Thankfully, up next is the hit single ‘Back when’ with Naeto C and this represents the best of Davido at any time. The bouncy, jerky rhythm is still as catchy as it was last year and is even more so in this collection. It is the sole track produced by Davido and leaves you with the feeling that perhaps the young man may have missed his true talents. After this briefest of sugar highs, it is all downhill.
Everything that is wrong with the Davido brand rushes to the fore almost immediately- he cannot sing, his song writing is terrible, his favourite rapper (Sina Rambo) cannot rap, there are way too many producers on board and everyone is in it for the money. Or how else do you explain the presence of Jay Sleek, Shizzi and Dokta Frabz (among others) on the same record and the end result remains the brain dead, soul less pap that we have here. Particularly missing is a strong, capable hand to steer the project in the right direction. The young pop star is too green around the ears to do so and everyone else around him seems to believe unparalleled hype and ostentatious videos will get you everywhere. When they are not promoting themselves that is
Songs like ‘New skul tinz’, ‘Video’, ‘Down’ and ‘No visa’ follow in quick succession, each one worse than that before it and they collectively drag the record to unbearable lows. Even more painful is the 2face assisted ‘For you’ where Mr Idibia fails to pull off a reprise of his song ‘Higher’ from his ‘Away and beyond’ album. A potential highlight appears in the form of ‘Sade’ where our superstar outdoes himself and actually attempts to sing to the beat of marching drums. If you can get past the shrieking opening notes, it should provide some much needed relief. Perhaps investing in a voice coach would do him (and our ears) some good. The other fleeting moments of joy are provided by the already released singles ‘Dami duro’ and ‘Ekuro’.
All the good songs seem to have been saved for last. ‘Mary Jane’ has a throbbing carnival feel to it and makes for some joyous rump shaking, Ice Prince saves rap music from Sina Rambo’s vile grip and turns in a serviceable verse on ‘Feel alright’ while the May D duet ‘Bless me’ puts a decent end to a mostly colourless affair.
When we want to listen to deep, incisive song writing or soaring, breath taking vocals, we know where to turn to. Records like ‘O.B.O’ are meant to help us let our hair down and have a jolly good time but this one fails terribly at it’s primary assignment. It is unbearably tedious, sinks where it should swim and drags us down with it’s weight.
It is not certain just how far Davido is intent on taking this music thing. He is the son of a very wealthy man (he never lets us forget) and possibilities are endless should he decide on other career paths. But if he hopes for a viable stint in music, then he needs help and he needs it now. A trip back to the drawing board should resolve most of these outstanding issues and save us- and his career the horror of another record like this. We have given him so much. We don’t deserve this.
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