Another year, another Olamide album. And how we’ve come to love them. It is a testament to the YBNL boss’ considerable influence and unimpeachable street credibility that for the last five years, end of year celebrations cannot be considered complete until the Bariga boy sings. Or raps. Or does whatever it is he chooses to do. He can do pretty much anything at this point. The entire music industry is Olamide’s world really, we just all live in it.
The Glory is his sixth studio album and the Olamide that shows up here is a (gasp!) grown man. At a respectable (by his standards) sixteen tracks length, The Glory is almost sparse, as Olamide begins to consider his legacy both as an artiste and as a father.
After taking a deep dive into the waters of afropop music and instant chart toppers on previous discs, Olamide sobers up and attempts to go back to his rap roots with this record. The intro is a promising burst of excitement that gives way to Letter to Milli, a tighter, harder hitting version of Toriomo from the Eyan Mayweather album.
Written and performed as a letter to his infant son, Letter to Milli considers Olamide’s influence on his young chap’s life and details exactly the kind of legacy he wants to leave for his son. He tells him emphatically in Yoruba, while Pheelz’ moody piano strings and background voices hum in the background. O le di president/ ma je ki anybody sofun e pe o le di president. Translated as don’t let anybody tell you you can’t be president.
For the chorus of Journey of a Thousand Miles, Pheelz borrows from guitar driven, stripped down country music as Olamide launches into an autobiographical account that traces his career arc from the very beginning while remembering to send all glory back to God above.
The hit maker in Olamide is forever alive though and he moves with current trends on Underground (ft.Akuchi), a song that was practically crafted to dab to every single line of it. Pepper Dem Gang captures Olamide’s inherent knack for not just feeling the pulse of the people, but gifting his audience with the next pop culture wave. And naturally it is produced by the irresistible Young John. The most culturally significant song of 2016, Who You Epp with Phyno and Wande Coal also makes it to the final cut but for this record, there is no memorable duet with Phyno in the mode of Ghost Mode or Dope Money.
Olamide flexes his vocal chops as well and lets it sit side by side with his stellar rap skills on Woyo, a brief state of mind address. When he diverts to the token love song with Be Mine however, the red flag lights up instantly, and only Pheelz’s production effort saves the song from dragging the record down.
The themes of The Glory are simple really and constantly repeat themselves throughout the record. Olamide is expressing the beauty and longevity of a successful, maybe even phenomenal career by going back to his rap roots and pointing to the basics. He is thanking God for the life source and for the talent, but also for the plotted circumstances that set him on the path to glory.
The Glory may well signify a crossroads for Olamide, the point where he takes measure of his place in the game and commits to making music worthy of his earned status. But it may also be a one off movement for the notoriously prolific rapper/songwriter/label boss even as he retreats to the familiarity of his hit making factory. A career reawakening of sorts, the record drops the redundancies of his previous efforts and punches with precision.
Critics who have continually called out Olamide for his inconsistencies as an artiste can finally point to The Glory and consider it the one fine moment where Olamide almost had it all together. Production, lyrical depth, message, arrangement, The Glory is prime stuff.
Album Name: The Glory