Artiste – Vector
Album – Lafiaji
Features – Rotex, Shola Vibrate, Emmsong, Jesse Jagz, CDQ, J. Martins, Falz, AO, Vanessa Mdee, D’Banj, Johnny Drille, Obadice, Legeley
Producers – Liciouscrackitt, Vector, BJ On D Keyboard, Masterkraft, Jaey O, Jaywon, DJ Embassey, Johnny Drille, Mekoyo
Label – G.R.A.P Music (2016)
The Lafiaji album has long been knocking, with the consistent musical releases of V.E.C. Initially appearing as a foreign-styled rapper challenging for space with the coterie of afro-pop musicians in the industry, Vector has introspectively refined his style without withering the talent but rather polishing the art to mainstream acceptance. Vector has become a brand in demand for soul searching rap fanatics and an icon with a steady and stable presence in the music industry. He presents Lafiaji, his third studio album, holding a lot of promises.
‘Lafiaji’ sought to build on the successes of Vector’s first two studio albums, State of Surprise (SOS) and The 2nd Coming (T2C). With Lafiaji, Vector would be hoping to establish himself as an independent figure that has survived many industry battles to become a force in it. The following track-by-track review of the album is based on my point of view:
INTRO (New Born)
The intro of the album is a dulcet track that cursorily gives insight into the prayer-full and to be mused about Lafiaji album. Taking the form of a thanksgiving rendition, the intro to the Lafiaji album is a well taken first step into the 21 track + 3 bonuses long album.
TDB ft. Rotex
TDB is an acronym for Till Day Break. On this track, VEC and Rotex combine effort to revel about the all-night alcohol consumption lifestyle. Vector himself produced this track and he made a classic electronic dance music beat (EDM) but the song is uncharacteristically mundane. Summarily, TDB is a regular song without tangs to tip you about.
LAFIAJI ft. Shola Vibrate
For the eponymous track of the album, one would expect it to have the thematic element of the album but Lafiaji appears to lack this quality. In this song, V.E.C attempts to identify with places and figures especially Lagos-related links. Understandably, Vector has been making structural adjustments to his music seemingly to meet the demands of the industry, but here V.E.C seems to push the singing too far. I appreciate indigenous ingenuity but there is not much of that in the song ‘Lafiaji’.
This song is predicted to be the number one sing-along of the Lafiaji album. ‘Adurah’ is the adun (sweetener) of the ondun (sweetening) induced album. Albeit in the form of a prayer, Vector lets loose the high life spirit of traditional Yoruba parties. This song has a good blend of rap and high life music. Vector raved about Masterkraft’s production contribution to the album, Adurah does the justification. Masterkraft indeed strummed chords and beat drums excellently.
FISH ft. Jaey O
V.E.C turns a Yoruba folk melody into a track to be-stir hustlers. Appearing to be surrounded by hedonistic friends, V.E.C approaches with the song from a dissident perspective. The song depicts a troubled V.E.C, concerned about the futuristic goals of life, contravening the hedonistic mood of his friends. The song carries a terse message with potential to jolt listeners out of the state of hedonism. The influx of creativity in this song deserves commendation. The song is a product of the capacity of the V.E.C and Jaey O to dig deep in search of classic songs.
ALL I KNOW ft. Emmsong
In ‘All I know,’ the reflective atmosphere in the song is the climatic element. The narrative ambience of the song makes it relatable and probably would help it to popularity. Vector assumes a posture of activism on this song, raising prevalent societal issues like governmental flaws, economic pressure and the concomitant impact on lives of Nigerians. Vector does exactly what he has built a reputation for, lyrical ingenuity. I try to find the vestige of drums in the beat but I did not find any yet the beauty of the production is not diminished, I guess that is kudos to Emmsong.
BLAZE N BOOZE
Blaze N Booze is increasingly becoming a youthful culture. VEC makes this the subject matter in this ‘skit,’ exercising his revered creative sense, using uncommon word play and rhymes. Some of the most reflective lines in the Lafiaji album were delivered here. VEC drove the point home when he said, ‘when alcohol becomes your doom na Buffon go turn buffoon.’
SPIRITUAL ft. Jesse Jaggz
‘Spiritual’ is the most attractive song on paper, considering the eminence of the duo, Jesse Jaggz and Vector. After listening to the song, my conclusion is that Spiritual did not disappoint. Spiritual appears to be a continuum of ‘Blaze N Booze.’ At the start of the song, V.E.C repeats the short message in ‘Blaze N Booze.’ In Spiritual the duo made a statement to clear the perspective of the would-be listeners on the influence of blaze and booze. Both Vector and Jesse Jagz seemingly testified to the perspective deepening and inspirational influence of weed and alcohol. ‘Spiritual’ is a great song and sure to connect with them ‘boys.’
In Zaddy, V.E.C clings to the soothing effect of smoke. Here he appears to have levitated to another realm, using his lyrics to let out bagged issues. The production collaboration for this song gives the song a good balance.
DJ Embassy produced a first rate hip-hop beat and Vector made thorough use of it. The pounding tempo of the beat allows Vector steer through the track with fluidity. Without exaggerations, V.E.C talks up his qualities in Sharp Sharp, describing the poised and goal getting V.E.C. I personally like the concept behind this song although I think the flow is a bit cliché, regardless ‘sharp sharp’ is a fine song.
GEE BOYS ft. CDQ
It is sort of unusual for V.E.C, I mean dance hall tracks. However, he and CDQ handled the fast tempo of the song considerably, without eroding the meat and potatoes of the song. Vector had a charismatic influence on the song and CDQ gave the indigenous input, addressing the issue of rumour peddling and the antiques of gist manias that seek to sully the success of others. Gee Boy is more of a ‘not bad’ song than a good one.
The music industry just welcomed a new artiste that also goes by the name Vector. The artiste is Vector the singer and not the viper. But honestly, it is the same ‘rapper oloyinbo’ Vector rebranding his style. Garra is an unalloyed afro-pop music, V.E.C was almost without his rap nerve but his singing organs did not fail him. V.E.C put this one out to compete in the commercial space of afro-pop. Coming into a different terrain, V.E.C comes with a loud statement and it would be unfair to deny that Garra na confam gbedu. However, Garra is again a flirt-themed song that has characterized most Nigerian songs.
BEER PARLOUR MUSIC ft. J. Martins
The title of the song states clearly the occasion of demand for the song. The song comes from the perspective of customer at a beer parlour giving reasons to justify the piling of beer bottles. The song is a good attempt by V.E.C at high life music and with the contribution of high life inclined J. Martins, V.E.C connects well on this one.
CONDOM ft. Falz
Condom is one of the many flirtatious tracks on the album. V.E.C playfully addressed the sensual theme of the song, using clever word plays and interesting flow. In customary style, Falz delivered the rap goodies with his interesting and comical accent.
DUTY (SKIT) ft. AO
Flirty, flirty Vector. This sweet-toned skit is lyrically cryptic and subjectively layered with flair. V.E.C draws the line between his ‘duty’ as a lover and what he would not be doing. AO justifies his GRAP credential with the sort of ingenuity that has helped Vector climb the rung of the industry over the years. AO simply made an epic input to the skit.
OMO TO SHAN
Well, here we have another regular song. At this point, the tone is becoming too repetitive in the album and the track sounds bland. Vector tries to do the smooth- style rapping and singing here and as often noticed in the album, another ‘sexy-girl’ inspired song. The song would probably not be a roll-over song on many playlists.
That quirky part of V.E.C that inspired the reggae-style ‘Follow Me Go’ was employed again for this song. Describing the amazing body of that special girl, V.E.C streamed down his lyrics on the deftly produced reggae beat. One might not consider ‘Amazing’ an amazing song but it is without doubt an interesting one.
I BELIEVE YOU ft. Vanaessa Mdee
V.E.C featured the multi-talented Tanzanian artiste on this song and together they illumed the mood of the album. Vanessa Mdee sang brilliantly on this love professing track, in fact I would say her singing was angelic. V.E.C himself displayed some impressive singing ability on this song. Liciouscrakitt’s magic had a pervasive presence in the song. This song is definitely another rich musical export.
ANU OLUWA (SKIT)
V.E.C sings about the oozing influence of God in his career, attributing his success to the joy, peace and mercy of God. V.E.C went on to make a bold statement that ‘success no go follow me do short-time,’ meaning he plans to stay successful, perhaps in his musical career, for a longtime. I feel V.E.C served us a 3-square meal with this song, good singing, fine rap and quality production.
I PRAY ft. D’Banj
Mismatch musical collaborations are not uncommon in the industry but in ‘I Pray,’ V.E.C and D’Banj found a music style that they both agree on. They commingled on this track and produced a coordinated and compact song. Yes, that is exactly what ‘I Pray’ is.
HERE (OUTRO) ft. Johnny Drille
‘Here’ is composed of those reflective and moment sinking elements. Vector scratched the surface, peeled the skin and went on to hit the core of this song with his lyrical narratives. In ‘Here,’ V.E.C goes down the memory lane, sharing his experiences in a way that the pervasive inspirational content of the song cannot be missed. Johnny Drille’s sonorous singing added the much needed flair to the song. I believe Johnny Drille continues to carve out his space in the industry and his contribution to this song is portfolio building material. For soul searching moments, I recommend repeated dose of ’here.’ This is Vector’s way of saying thank you and he did it in graciously. ‘Here’ is an aptly fit outro to this quality album.
ISLAND ft. Obadice, Legeley
Island is not one of the tracks to rave about. Fortunately V.E.C himself understands this, which is perhaps why he did not mention the track in his pre-album teasing twitter post. As music lovers, we have seen impressive indigenous rap and the industry indeed made way for the revolution of indigenous rap but on this song ‘Island,’ the rappers aped the art. The song is composed of sloppy rap lines and hiccups delivery. The track fails to project the lively ambience of the Island. For me, this song is a subtraction from the quality of the Lafiaji album.
‘What’s That’ is one of the tracks released before the album itself, for the ‘Lafiaji’ album it is some sort of teaser. The track has a unique feature in its real-life simulative narratives. Interestingly relatable illustrations form the lyrical content of this song. Even with the playful nature of the song, it still carries a vivid thematic content. Mekoyo, creator of this banging production indeed reminds us of his nifty production ability.
The song reeks of production quality, all thanks to Mekoyo. Vector does some almost nerveless singing in this song, teasing and treasuring the inviting body shape of his subject. This song is a hard one to hate. With his lyrical skill, Vector describes the lady’s ‘8’ figure as something only a hater would hate. Albeit the album is surfeit with flirt themed songs, ‘8’ is another nice jam.
This song is already popular, since it was released as a single before the album-drop. In ‘Emi,’ V.E.C rightly lionizes himself, waxing lyrical about his accomplishments and his goal-getting instincts. He also sought to silence critics and bad-belle people. The song ‘Emi,’ has an insidious effect of luring one to rock steady to the graciously altered tempo, another quality Mekoyo production. I personally love the magic of drum and the overall musical arrangement.
This project is Vector’s first real statement since launching the G.R.A.P music movement. The pre-album singles serve as appetite whetting taste of what V.E.C was cooking but with Lafiaji, Vector allows the public take a big bite. The project is characterized by a flip of moments and experiences that appear to have sharpened the life of Vector. The independent character and complete brand that Vector now appears to be, forms the central story of the Lafiaji album. Lafiaji confirms the complete metamorphosis of V.E.C as a recording artiste.
‘Lafiaji’ has an underpinning message for the trap lords, the message hinges on discipline, drive and a call not to abuse the culture. In some of the songs, Vector boldly reveals how he makes the best out of the practice. Vector does all these in a well-crafted manner, generally maintaining an expressive mood in the album.
The choice of artistes featured on the album is quite good, but for few exceptions. I did not find fault in the arrangement of the album and I think the production quality of the album is impressive especially when considering the measure of diversification involved. My overview of the album suggests that ‘Lafiaji’ is a well compiled album and I think Vector unashamedly sought to meet the ever-increasing commercial pressure of industry.
Rating – 4/5
Reviewed by Ibironke Oluwatobi