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ALBUM REVIEW: Brymo – Tabula Rasa

Posted by Jim Donnett on November 19, 2014 in Album reviews · 23 Comments


Brymo-Tabula-Rasa

Artist – Brymo
Album – Tabula Rasa
Label – Indie Music
Running Time – 38 minutes

Brymo unarguably is the deepest most soulful lyricist cum vocalist of modern Nigerian time. Let’s call him the male version of Asa. Melodious tenors from a voice that allures, vocal crescendos, soulful tunes and sketches of life existence shared in brief narratives, it takes more than just scratching the surface to comprehend the nature of Olawale’s mind and it’s musings. You have to dig the whole 9 yards through in order to decipher the mysteries formed via a philosophical approach to life’s happenstances that are eventually birthed into musical pieces. Music has become one of the most powerful tools of communication and given the setbacks that trailed his eventually sour relationship with label company, Chocolate City, Brymo celebrates his ultimate freedom by taking an odyssey and exploring themed concepts and contexts associated with his victory to remaining unchanged and staying true to his self. This is his tabula rasa – as self-composed and arranged by him.

Back to Love – This journey to finding his self begins with going Back to Love. Not necessarily the phileo kind, love in this case it connotes the start, the basics, times when life was pure, simple. And while you’re at it, there’s a little something in the mix for you to groove to. What better place than here to start?

Fe Mi – Without mincing his words in relaying his perverted thoughts, Olawale’s Fe Mi (Love Me) is a plea to be ‘shown love’ by a particular doing act. The fact that he delivered it in indigenous style (his local dialect) was a downplay of the explicit content.

Prick No Get Shoulder – Is a surprising switch from the previous and dotes pronouncedly on an x-rated feat to explaining one’s involvement in (critical) situations. “Prick e no get shoulder, once you puti head, the rest e enta…” depicts a condition of being. You’re either in or out. Never in-between.

Dear Child – Taking us on a perusal of grandma’s generous heart, we are literally made to envision instances he shares on what it feels like for a mother to love a child, and he did this by staking out his relationship experience with grandma as basis for this beautiful tale. There’s some lessons on wisdom to learn on/from this.

Je’le O Sinmi – Is a painted contrast, a memoir on past years as an innocent child in the daycare to that of the mind of a grown man he’s become. There’s an event of ‘process’ in-between these two stages that he attributes for his eventual turn out not ruling out his inquisitive nature and the urge for adventure soon as he came of age.

Never Look Back – A persuasive charge (sort-of), to owning up and taking responsibility. Looking back is a particular distraction that creates room for doubt and skepticism, which is why he sings… “lay down your fears and face it, the future is yours, so take it…” obviously coming from a personal encounter makes it mind awakening!

Alone – This insightful poetic delivery on the discovery of self, touches on the scares and turfs that tend to overtake our minds, which we must fight to overcome because indeed, you are the only warrior you need to wrestle down life’s battles.

Jungle Fever – Electro/techno riffs, futuristic sounds are quite the flavour here. It’s not the usual hustler’s anthem, yet it’s a clear expository on the yearning to “make it” and the survival process one must go through – the fever.

1 Pound – Afrobeat inspired and borrows some concept from the late legendary king, Fela. How does one employ ethics and manages to survive in an upscale society like ours, and with ‘one pound’ being the limit for an income? Brymo cares that much and really wants to know how.

Nothing’s Ever Promised Tomorrow – Brymo slays his poetic disposition on NEPT. It’s a rhetorical answer to someone asking ‘what do you say to taking chances?’ The allegorical expression married with parlance only found in our local vocabulary makes communication of the subject clause very relatable even to the average man.

Again – Represents the attitude of a diehard. One not only with a choice but with purpose and reason too. Thus for every try he’ll have at it, he’ll simply do that which he believes in, again. This tribute which I think is dedicated to his fans carries a subliminal message of the legacy he intends to leave; as one who never backed down or gave up.

Did I forget to mention? Tabula Rasa is Brymo once again at his best, having repositioned himself and wiped the slate clean for a fresh and remarkably memorable start. Styled in a no-holds-barred fashion, Brymo’s Tabula Rasa shows off the characteristics and true essence of music. By Forms, it places the music elements into an intelligible structure making you understand his goals, what he sought to achieve and where he’s going with it. Timbre is the denseness of the music product. He bared himself totally by simply reaching for his deep. Rhythm, which is simply one’s perception of the music and how it carries the entire music piece. Then Melody and Harmony, two small structures that are essential in completing the music piece.

Even if you missed Brymo’s brilliant compositional effort on Tabula Rasa, this review strips the metaphorical forms and breaks them down to easily absorbable pieces. It is a collection of themed sentiments that do not heavily rest on their emotional subjects. There is love, sadness, pain, grief, excitement, neediness but he’s not even overtaken by any of these feelings. Music is meant to be understood but in rare cases like Brymo’s (the kind that evokes your senses), it is only with a deep connection to the musical source, that one’s comprehension comes. Thus, Tabula Rasa wasn’t crafted for listening pleasure. It is music that should be felt.

Banky W Rating

Rating – 4.5/5

Reviewed by Jim Donnett
@jimancipation





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23 total comments on this postSubmit yours
  1. Dope album that make sense… Good lyrics with lessons 4rm it I rate it 5

  2. Dope album that make sense… Good lyrics with lessons 4rm it I rate it 5

  3. Dope review……. awesome

  4. The best album ever in 2014.. Much love to brymo

  5. This is masterpiece, really deep album, grown up and mature, Tabula Rasa 1st then Bed of Stone simple.
    Ibraheem Olawale all the way

  6. Favorite boy
    Nice album

  7. who da fvck jez called this da best album of 2014..like seriously?? Are yhu high?? This is straight up garbage jhor. Brymo go back to choc city. #shikena!

    • This is one of the best album for dis year

  8. Brymo nice album keep it up…even if you play only instrumental in a track I will still download it course you are good..your talent no be for hear.*smile*

  9. Brymo is one of the few guys that make nice and conscious music. #thumbup

  10. U did it again!!nyc album n review 2…we nid videos 2 oga Brymo oo

  11. Nice review….brymo…is better than many musician in nigeria music industry….dey all sing trash

  12. Naijagoodies dot com

  13. I don’t knw y illitracy dsturb our 9ja people. Mehn listen 2 lyrics!!! Brymo gave d best album of 2014, I knw he won’t b givn d award bt his lyrics re too strong!!! *FEMALE. “ASA”*kip it up bro

  14. i dnt comment buh dz it damn d best album.evn a fool knws dt.kudos bro

  15. This is music.. this is good music..music is all about sending message!! Keep it up brymo your work will be recognize one day

  16. Y is it dat 9ja doesn’t award this kinda great music, people who devote time and make the pen bleed while writing lyrics. Brymo n Jesse Jagz hz been among my best artists. Choc city lost d golden fishes.

  17. Wat a touchin album rili felt nd undastand d message 1 love brymo even if it is just pangolo u used in singin I swear I go download am love u BrymO

  18. No doubt, No dispute, Brymo will always remain my No. 1 Singer in Nigeria alongside Jesse Jagz Abaga, it’s so sad that these two awesome artist are been underrated in Nigeria, imagine Brymo wasn’t even nominated for any categories in The Headies 2014, c’mon we all know after the struggle for the release of M,D&S, Brymo deserves much more than that, the tracks in the album were out of this world, totally awesome and to my greatest surprise Jesse wasn’t in the Reggae Category of the MMVA after releasing 3 outstanding videos(Redemption, Only You & Sex and Scotch) from #JagzNAtion Vol. 1 album which turn out to be my Album of the year, anyways they will always be my favourite no matter what as I go with BSC “Choc city lost d golden fishes.”

  19. He is truly the male version of Asa, Nigga kips blessing us with good music , love this album..

  20. This is such am amazing body of work.

  21. I wish u (BRYMO) success here nd in d hereafter!!!

  22. olawale, ur a cool breed, and ‘ve matured mind as well. d way u relate to we ur fanz is outstanding. ur truly blessed with good n physical lyrics of life thru it’s hardest component MUSIC. bless u Ashimi!


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