Only a handful of artistes blessed with good fortune ever get to enjoy the kind of mid-career ascension that happened to Ajegunle raised singer, Oritse Femi. After slumming it for years in the ghetto underground, both as a solo artiste and as one half of a now defunct duo, Oritse Femi (born OritseFemi Majemite Ekele) hit the ground running in late 2013 with Double wahala, a jaunty, robust update of Fela’s classic song. Double wahala exploded into national consciousness and Oritse Femi rode the wave to become a permanent fixture on the concert circuit. A couple of strategic collaborations that followed, ensured the former perennially on the verge hustler found a spot near showbiz’s top echelons.
In the wake of such a high profile single, interest in a fresh collection of work was ignited.
Not one to be accused of failing to deliver, Oritse Femi seized the moment and put out his latest album, Money Stops Nonsense, a garish, unskilled collection of similarly sounding non-tunes recorded in some nondescript Lagos studio.
Produced in bulk by Puffy Tee (who was in his prime when he made Yahooze in 2007), the record sounds promising enough with the opening title Mercy, a rejig of an earlier thanksgiving song of Oritse Femi’s in which he showcases his impressive pipes. Apart from Double Wahala, Mercy is probably Oritse Femi’s most impressive vocal performance. Story of my life is set to a light ragga beat and does exactly what the title suggests. The compulsory wedding ditty, Igbeyawo, another minor hit comes up next. These three tracks constitute the plateau for Money Stops Nonsense.
Nothing else makes sense. And yes, this is a 22 track record.
It is hard to decipher what Oritse Femi was thinking while putting this record together. His 4th solo album should have been the record that would introduce his talent to a whole new generation of fans. Instead, he and his producers; Puffy Tee, Obodo and Josh Beat among others do their damned best to make him come across as a Z-list artiste shopping a badly executed mixtape.
And make no mistake, Money Stops Nonsense is badly executed. Some of the problems include; dismal song writing, illogically placed guest stars, shoddy arrangement, half-baked production and a general lack of inspiration. It is hard to believe any self-respecting record label signed off on this.
It is rare to come across a disc where every guest appearance is a fail but Money Stops Nonsense achieves this low water mark with little effort. Harrysong is horrid on the shoki-styled Sukus, poor Skales is left floundering on the pseudo remake, Zangerewa, Timaya is dead on arrival on Money and Davido is a dud on Sexy lady.
What do we say for genre? Oritse Femi who is best known for his reggae/dancehall spiritual style is unsure of what direction to take on this record. As a result he tries everything to largely disastrous results. He stays true to his roots on the incoherent Want it (with Shatta Wale and Cynthia Morgan) but misleads Ice Prince into venturing into undercooked trap rap territory with Gat class. There is one for the gyration masters on Oju ti leri, and another for the Igbo speaking audience, (Culture).
The record is so horribly mixed and arranged that these songs just storm insensitively from one tackily produced one to the next.
If music is supposed to be fun, why is Oritse Femi so intent on leaving a black mark? Remi Aluko tries to rescue the closing song Ijoya, but Oritse Femi- and his autotune- refuses to grant us even that one single of respite. Who knew he took this musical Taliban thing so seriously? The goal is obviously to blow any chance of a good time to smithereens.
The disc title couldn’t have been farther away from the truth. If money really did stop nonsense, this album would have never seen the light of day.
– Wilfred Okiche (@DrWill20)