Review: Love is War -Prettyboy D-O

4.5
4.5

Donald Ofik better known as Prettyboy D-O is back with a new EP aptly titled “Love is War.” From his 2018 debut tape “Everything Pretty”, that melded rap, dancehall and the sounds of early Afro-pop to the same boisterous but matured delivery on his 2020 release Wildfire, D-O has kept us rocking, raging and feeling all the emotions of what being a young, alternative up and comer is like.

Aside from his take no prisoners attitude, Prettyboy’s wicked sense of humour means that the star spends a good portion of his time provoking the same masses who pass judgement on his jagged edge aesthetic. Real ones know that Prettyboy is all heart and on his new EP “Love is War”, the African Rodman shares his vulnerabilities with the same passion and fire that keeps his fans coming back for more. D-O knows that he rages, that some people may think he’s too much but all this rising African punk icon cares about is that people know that everything he feels is real and even if this “life no balance”, he constantly reminds his fans that the realest thing you can do is to stay authentic.

Let’s get into it!

1996

A sharp, guitar riffed quick tempoed intro into the tape. 1996 features classic spirited D-O lyrics on confidence and staying true. Coming from Nigeria where a culture of silence and oppression means that civilians cannot even trust their own police force to protect them much less not harass them, 1996 is a adamant declaration of rebellion and truth seeking. Ending the song with an audio from one of the desperate videos that circulated during the peak of the EndSARS protests last year, Prettyboy re-affirms that he’s not keeping (these realities) quiet anymore.

Falling ft IAMDDB

Lightening up the mood for a second, Falling ft IAMDDB is a prettyboy jam for the gyaldem. Produced by Hvrry, the duo float back and forth on this choppy yet melodious record. Echoey, explicit vocals from IAMDDB bounce off D-O’s bold Nigerian style patios which makes this pre released jam worth a couple replays. Perfect wind down or whine up music.

Rodman Style/ Dre’s Interlude

A personal favorite because of the way Hvrry & Higo create this modern funk filled medley that pulls from Nigeria’s early 2000s soundscape. Coupled with an inexplicable yet hilarious Nollywood short audio, I can practically see the crowd at the themed Nollywood party getting down. A two parter, Dre’s Interlude features a familiar face, producer Dare Kasali who jumps on the mic to spit a couple bars to engineer a much needed cool down after the footwork inducing rhythms of the first part.

Hanky Panky

We know by now that Prettyboy will always give the girls something to feel sexy to. Can I just say that D-O is also one of the few artists who selects his soundbites so well. This girl said “oh you wanna be my second boyfriend”. Who said you can’t do some Hanky Panky to Afropop? As if this delicious Spanish stringed, trumpet littered production wasn’t enough, Prettyboy had to finish us off with some of the most sensual inaudible lyrics ever. Even if you cannot make out some of his lines, everything this man sang is speaking directly to my waistline.

Belly Of the Beast ft Nissi and Sugarbana

A feel good jam about stepping into your power. Not one to fake it till he makes it, Prettyboy D-O reminds us how important enjoying your hard work is. Nissi’s velvety vocals elevate this track into a head swaying tune. Throw in Sugarbana’s highly spiritual crooning and Belly of the Beast surprisingly becomes a buoyant celebration of all the good things in life.

Living in Bondage

The way these tracks flow into each other is noteworthy. From celebrating the now in Belly of the Beast to reminding everyone about the realities of the situation facing thousands of African youth under oppressive governance. Being candid about the ways and means he uses to navigate the metaphorical and sometimes physical bondage we face, D-O reminds us of his earlier promise to always keep it real with us. 

Kumbaye/Sideman Interlude

Freaky Pretty is the best Prettyboy in my humble opinion. After the heavy subject material of Living in Bondage, D-O had to bring back that tongue in cheek humour on this fun track. Dirty two liners about anacondas, powerful cars and backsides remind listeners that he remains a certified lover boy through and through. Leading into Sideman Interlude produced by LeMav, D-O can be heard calmly floating once again on this trappy light hearted beat. If PrettyBoy ever steals your girl, at least he treated her well.

If They Send You

Despite keeping this sound light hearted, If They Send You is a powerful affirmation of the protections surrounding Prettyboy D-O no matter what crazy situations he finds himself in. Be you man, woman or spirit, Prettyboy is ready for you. Playing on the “Love is War” sentiment, D-O serenades his enemies on this spirit rallying jam.

Lord Protect My Steppings ft Pa Salieu

A combination I had no idea I needed. Pa Salieu and Prettyboy D-O’s combined swag delivers a high energy motivational track. Produced by TrillXoe who brilliantly blends samurai fighting music with a knocking drum set, LPMS delivers a gritty yet melodic vibe that captures D-O’s energy near perfectly.

Too Many Girl

Prettyboy D-O for the gyaldem!! Another stellar Higo production that allows D-O to share his complaints about drowning in one of his favourite distractions: women.

Broke Boy FC ft MOJO

Mojo and Prettyboy’s friendship clearly has stood the test of time. From when they were members of Broke Boy FC to now transferring to Chop Life FC. Their chemistry on this track is high. Another motivational anthem in the bag and if you need a reminder to take advantage of the latest transfer window, this is it.

Toyin Tomato 

Despite earlier claims of not doing romance, we know lover boy D-O cannot resist romancing his woman (women?) on another seductive dancehall-esque record. Complete with a cutesy nickname for a song title and a catchy chorus, D-O reveals his softer side once again. He is called Prettyboy for a reason.

Trust Issues 

Once again sharing his anxieties with his journey and the people he gets exposed to, Trust Issues is another ballad in which D-O can be as real as he wants. 

Police N Teef 

The first time this song came out, I rinsed it. In the gym, in the shower, getting ready for a night out and I am more than ecstatic that the track found its way to Love is War. Definitely in line with the flow of the overall tape being truth, humour and staying real.

Overall, D-O delivers a comprehensive tape, stretching out his seasoned muscles on each track, Prettyboy invites us into his creative space as an artist who’s been through it all and managed to come out on top. The lengthy 42 minute listening time does mean that the tape might be more easily digested in parts but in totality, the project makes for a filling and fulfilling snapshot of exactly who Prettyboy D-O is. The truth? Prettyboy put his foot in this and I guarantee no matter what your taste in new gen alte stars is, you will find a track to enjoy on this tape.

Enter the Pretty Universe below:

4.5
4.5

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