A review of Afrobeats star Olamide’s album ‘Ikigai’

Importantly, ‘Ikigai’ serves as an exciting reminder of Olamide’s unparalleled understanding of the Nigerian music industry as he delivers a 7-track project reflective of the current soundscape.

For his 10th solo project ‘Ikigai,’ Olamide recruits talented music producer Semzi while assembling present and former YBNL associates to craft an album that emphasizes his role as a hitmaker and star maker.

The project opener ‘Metaverse’ is a nod to Olamide’s hitmaking status as he deploys a blend of Yoruba and pidgin to craft a chest-thumping record that adds to his long list of party starters.

Like every great rapper, Olamide has an unmistakable flow scheme and delivery technique with which he swaggers across records that restates his status as a hip-hop icon.

Olamide’s quintessential flows shine on ‘Makaveli’ where he name-drops popular pop culture figures in restating his status as the big man of Nigerian music. On the Log-drum punctuated up-tempo record ‘Uptown Disco,’ Olamide flows leisurely next to YBNL stars Asake and Fireboy with whom he celebrates his status as an enduring hitmaker under whose wings era-defining hitmakers have emerged, including former YBNL associates Pheelz, Young Jonn, and Lil Kesh who joined him to celebrate their success on the bouncy Pheelz produced ‘Sychro System’.

When Olamide raps about women, it’s with the confidence of a man who knows what he wants and can get things done. Next to the delicate vocals and soothing melodies of rising Dutch RnB & Soul singer Sabri, Olamide deploys his familiar swaggering flows as he rolls out the superlatives for his woman.

In ‘Hello Habibi,’ Olamide sings about balling in Qatar, and he showcases this Middle Eastern connection in the hip-hop bounce and Arab folk flute of a record where as a man of means, he offers to make the fantasies of designer handbags and dream vacations a reality.

Olamide has always displayed a heavy influence of Yoruba indigenous music throughout his career. In his smash hit ‘Sitting On The Throne,’ he sings about growing up on the music of Fuji legend Wasiu Ayinde whom he sampled in his hit song ‘Anifowose’.

This cultural side of the rapper is highlighted on the introspective/gospel record ‘Morowore’ where he interpolates the timeless record of Paul Play Dairo ‘Mo Wa Dupe’.

The mid-tempo song lays out Olamide’s state of mind and his constant search for meaning as he acknowledges the challenges of the superstar life, motivates as a star maker, expresses gratitude as a spiritual being, and embraces responsibility as a family man.

‘Ikigai’ is another wholesome chapter in Olamide’s legacy in Nigerian music as he delivers a project that shows just how in touch he is with the soundscape.

By displaying an admirable ability to evolve and having successfully shed off the pressure of chasing chart toppers while maintaining is star power, Olamide is a blueprint on how to age beautifully.

Songwriting, Themes, and Delivery: 1.6/2

Enjoyability and Satisfaction: 1.6/2

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