Few Nigerian circles are as materially inclined as mainstream pop music. This fondness for money and all the good things of life can be gleaned from the content of the music: the creative direction, lyrics, fashion and the music videos. Kcee, the Five Star music hitmaker and former KC Presh member whose career and lifestyle are supposedly being funded by a deep pocketed sibling is the perfect avatar to project these aspirations.
On his latest album, Attention to Detail released in 2017, Kcee surprises no one anywhere by opening with the unimaginatively titled Thank God. For the next 1:27 minutes, Kcee is nothing if not grateful. He laments the days when he was supposedly getting about in kekes but makes sure to announce he now rolls in a Porsche. One imagines that there are many things Kcee could be grateful for but on this intro, he keeps things limited to the material stuff: money, cars, fame.
Thankfully, the Attention to Detail is better than Kcee’s limitations. Who says money can’t buy you stuff?
Opening track Vanessa speaks a familiar love language but it is encircled by a sweetened mix of drums and south eastern highlife chords, the kind that elevated Yemi Alade’s Ferrari hit into something worth listening to. If there is a theme central to Attention to Detail, it is romantic love. On middle-of-the-road songs like Kwarangida, Sugar and Oluebube, Kcee is content to list out all the reasons he loves his woman, secure in the knowledge that a pleasant danceable beat should be enough to get things started.
He is right most of the time. Kcee isn’t exactly a gifted vocalist and no one comes to him for intuitive songwriting but what he lacks in talent, he makes up for an ear for what is hot and a willingness to keep going until he is able to break out with a hit, or two. This isn’t quite as easy as it seems.
Besides Kcee, Producer Mystro is the one constant on the record. Responsible for at least half of the nineteen tracks (twenty-two when bonus cuts are factored in), Mystro works well enough with Kcee and while their union isn’t exactly explosive, it works within the limits of what Kcee is trying to achieve. It isn’t much. Kcee wants easily disposable singles to make people dance and feel good. The songs aren’t as humongous as Pull Over and Limpopo but that doesn’t mean they don’t come with their own pleasures.
To keep things fresh and interesting, big stars are parachuted in at regular intervals. 2Baba is serviceable in the derivative stoner concoction, High me. Tekno is as Tekno does on the clumsy, Dem go hear word while Falz and Kris Beat bring some trap feel to My Boo. Sauti Sol disappears in the blandness of Whine for me while Patoranking benefits from the palm wine sessions bounce of Gaze.
Phyno shows up twice, Olamide, Flavor and Shatta Wale make solo entries but everyone including Kcee it seems, is merely going through the motions. Mystro is assisted by Dr Amir and Black Jeezy. For the most part they borrow the highlife-lite formula that has made Flavor a huge international star, play around with it and while their results aren’t inspired, at least make for easy, forgettable listening. A&R of course remains a chronic industry problem and with no one to call Kcee to order, he piles on the content, inflating the track list until inevitably, fatigue sets in.
Unfortunately, this fatigue which creeps in about halfway into the record, sticks around and makes multiple spins of this record unlikely. First time is the charm and anything after that is a chore. Some more attention to detail and Kcee could have had a contained record. This one doesn’t live up to the title.