Artiste – Skales
Album – Man of the Year
Features – Do2dtun, Burna Boy, Davido, Reekado Banks, Olamide, Victoria Kimani, Ice Prince, Phyno, Kenny Wonder, Attitude, Capital FEMI, Rotimi, Numerica
Producers – TK on the beat, Uhuru, Spellz, Jay Pizzle, Echo, DJ Coublon, Orbeat, Bobby Combz, Dreybeatz, Ganja Beatz
Label – Baseline Records (2015)
Running Time – 1 hour 11 minutes
How does one go from budding star to total obscurity and then back to blazing stardom? Simple. Ask Skales! He holds all the answers and hidden expressions to that question. So imagine the joy… the glory, when Man of the Year hit retail outlets nationwide. It’s like after everything, he still couldn’t be stopped… and that’s a typical survivor’s story. MOTY was supposed to address all the events that surrounded his epic comeback to grace status and why he adjudged himself a serving title which by instinct, should surpass the 2015 year alone. To a regrettable extent, it might be a glory short-lived but I’m undeterred in keeping my fingers crossed while I (alongside my colleague, Sola) stay rooting for him.
Do2dtun breathed a refiner’s fire on the intro, charging listeners with an unusual zeal. The frenzy was hard hitting and inspirational, speaking straight to the heart. I’m A Winner set the music tone for Man of the Year and just when you start to think Skales has us in for a treat, Oluwaburna comes in on his verse totally slaying and outshining with lyrics and vocal poise. Lo le saw him make a blazing comeback with rhythmic melodies and basic rhymes on Uhuru’s very stellar cut. I honestly wonder what Wizkid woulda sounded like on this one. Save for the event of their public showdown, Davido sufficed on Always which turned out to be very regular stuff with an unoriginal concept even – it sampled a vamp from D’Banj’s Scape Goat. The collabo with Mavin’s Reekado Banks on Wonder happened to be the weakest. Obviously not their best outing, they didn’t seem perturbed by the fact that their synergy was lacking in effect. Things switch up to a celebratory mood on Ijo Ayo and Olamide expectedly comes through with his ever witty lines. Although I believe Pasuma shoulda belonged on this track.
Koyewon is upbeat with urbane sounds that reek of energy. Surprisingly Skales lives up to the ingenuity of Echo’s magic. DJ Coublon sways in more magic on What’s Up. The afro sensational track which would later become one of the more favourite songs off the album had Skales paying homage to Wande Coal with his vocal licks and styling. Orbeat cut the magical experience short that moment when I Am For Real begins to play. The instrumental samples very similarly to Timaya’s Sanko and Solidstar’s My Body. Even Skales was at his wits end on creative levels. OMG receives it’s birth of life with Victoria Kimani introducing her luscious and saccharined alto. It’s sad that she’s one very talented but underrated vocalist… or maybe it’s because she’s not Nigerian, oh well. Skales takes us back to his rap persona on Swagger Man with Ice Prince and Phyno. Perhaps they were at a contest for who drops the cheesiest lines but trust Ice to pull all the score points in that division. While Phyno oppressed by just dripping sweet swag, Skales stayed on top with his speed, acuity and precision.
He continues to peddle his message of hope by basically expositing on a very familiar saying, No Condition is permanent. Farawe Mi is a classic hip-hop/rap offering and arguably one of his best efforts and better outings on the LP since it began. Happy is a decent filler; it makes good for nothing other than a fine dance as like Your Body Hot, which is a special something for dem ladies. Naughty was a dismissive attempt at reggae, obviously not his strongest feat. Je Kan Mo picks up the tempo and leaves for Another Round to keep it steady. The R&B cut, Turn You On shocks it an upper notch with impressive features from Capital F.E.M.I and Rotimi. The jam has a wave of smooth wind and slow grind to it. The outro, I Forget is everything one would have hoped for in closing. Skales glides with lyrical acuity on TK’s soft futuristic sounds as he reminisces and visualizes, bridging worlds from the past, right into the present and straight into the future. Very truthful, inspirational piece that might almost move you to tears.
Skales’ debut presents itself like some kick ass material, but when you have a little too much to say, trust that people will get tired of listening because even the effect of ecstasy wanes. So yes, irrespective of the effort expended that cover a variety of genres, talented producers whose gems lie in alternating sounds and a class act of vocal features that added flavor and made up for a few excesses here and there, Man of the Year is still somewhat tiring and draggy. At some point, Skales appeared to be doing some major undertaking leaving the flavour of the LP to rest heavily on production and vocal features. Regardless, he deserves a light pat on the back although with some hesitation especially for having not gave up easily and then without a fight (for his life). I can continue to count all of the things that MOTY isn’t, not that it would change the quo… but three things still remain unchanged. One, he’s musically savvy. Two, lyrically skilled. Three, badass rapper!
Rating – 3/5
Reviewed by Jim Donnett