B-Red – All The Way Up – No matter how hard B-Red hustles- and he hustles hard too- he cannot escape the very large and looming shadow of his cousin, mentor and musical benefactor, Davido.
Upon landing on the public consciousness in 2011, Davido almost immediately began to deploy his new found superstar status into scaring up some level of music career success for his kin (B-Red and sibling, Sina Rambo).
On some level, Davido has succeeded in doing so as both B-Red and Sina Rambo have become household names. If not in the triumphant manner they expected, at least, in the way that B-list reality stars and video vixens are household names. Pop culture addicts may know their names and/or faces, but everyone else knows not to take them seriously. To make matters worse, B-Red cannot sing to save his life and his shelf life as a viable pop star has become inexorably linked to Davido’s, his waning as Davido’s ascends.
In many ways the story of Davido is also the story of B-Red. What Davido lacks in genuine talent, he more than makes up for in ruthless ambition, a supportive family system, an uncanny ear to craft hit singles, and a bubbly, infectious if occasionally offensive personality. B-Red on the other hand is not talented enough to stand alone as a solo artiste, not mercurial enough to at least attract the loyalty of teenage club hoppers, not ambitious enough to seize pop stardom for himself even with the now famous Adeleke name at his disposal, not lucky enough to score even a semi-hit single from the string of failed singles he has dropped, despite high profile help from names like Akon and Phyno. He can’t quite catch a break.
Poor little rich boy.
B-Red remains stuck in that toxic C-list territory with no serious signs of breaking out anytime soon. His new mixtape is titled, All The Way Up but the only direction B-Red and his career are heading with consistency, is down. The mixtape can’t help him, doesn’t even present his case coherently and has no reason to exist. Unless you can count notching up a body of work, no matter how juvenile.
All The Way Up is mostly a compilation of all the middling, no fly singles B-Red has been releasing since he first flirted with fame (outlined here as bonus tracks). Some of these songs, (Blessings, Cucumber) received the video treatment but don’t worry if you missed them, we did too. At least half of the disc consists of new material. The result is a boring, unremarkable collection that does no one involved any favors whatsoever.
The good stuff- good in this case meaning least distressing,- can be found on the opener Te Slow and the minor dance number All The Way Up. On both tracks, B-Red’s vocals are manipulated so much that he sounds like Davido on a bad day.
Davido on a good day isn’t even all that hot. Both songs can at least be linked with the word catchy should one conjure up the patience to listen to them repeatedly enough to allow them stick. The remake of Romantic Call, the classic made famous by dancehall queen, Patra back in 1994 isn’t the disaster one would have feared and emerges one of the better songs on the tape.
The use of autotune to augment his non-existent singing ability renders songs like As E Dey Go near unlistenable and no amount of certified hitmakers (DJ Coublon, Shizzi and Kiddomonant) can save B-Red or his career. The bulk of the production work though is done by Teekay Witty.
It is hard to see B-Red launching from this. It would probably serve him better if this disc slid by unnoticed while he retreats to plan something that can at least hint of someone in this for something other than vain glory.
On the bright side though, this is as rock bottom as a body of work can get. No way to go from here but all the way up.
Or is there?