Rich is the other half of singer Praiz’s studio debut. As a collection, it stands in mild contrast to the more up-tempo, party starting tempestuousness of Famous. Where Famous is the more headstrong, adventurous twin, Rich is restrained, cautious and concerns itself primarily with showcasing Praiz’s strongest asset. For no other genre is better suited for his lush, seductive vocals than the smooth, spare arrangements of R&B ballads.
The disc opens with the soothing piano ballads accompanied by Praiz’s winning falsetto and then his famous voice- a cross between broad baritone and tensile tenor. He reels a list of what he has come to conclude are the needs of every woman in the world. Even if you don’t care for the lyrics (and they aren’t bad too), the arrangement and delivery will be sure to melt even the most cynical of listeners.
The theme of the album is love; the core of the music is touch yourself, baby making stuff; evidenced by titles such as I miss you, If I fall and Heartbeat.
The first half of the album is easily its strongest portion, jam packed as it is with clear cut mid-tempo R&B ballads. Standing out are the jazzy, jubilant play of instrumentals that drench If I fall and the Ryan Tedder-esque finish on Superhero. The records play like they were tailor made for Praiz and the arrangement gives the album an impressive level of cohesiveness not usually seen in home grown albums.
The second half benefits from the slick pop perfection that is the Rich and famous single. Yes it sounds a little too much like the Travie McCoy-Bruno Mars hit, Billionaire in some regard, and would probably not be in existence without its forerunner but the Cobhams Asuquo produced re-imagination maintains a freshness and appeal that keeps it on the right side of memorable.
Things sour a bit by the album’s tail end where it seems Praiz is freshly sapped of energy and just plies on the final lap of songs simply for completeness sake. They slow things down but not so significantly as to grind the whole project to a halt.
Of the two discs, Rich is the better record. Playing safe and comprising mostly of ballads, it plays more to Praiz’s strengths as a recording artiste. It is noble that for the project, he attempts to move beyond his artistic strengths but far less noble are the reasons behind such willingness to explore. Attracting a wider audience is the primary reason and none can deny that Famous serves its purpose.
But if Praiz is going to be around for a long time, it is the material on Rich that will ensure that. He has been suitably guided.
- Wilfred Okiche (@DrWill20)