On his full-length debut album, Mr. Money brings all the vibes on an Amapiano-inspired body of work, strengthened by his hallmark, overdubbing his vocals to produce a choir-like feature in his songs, a style that seems to be turning into a trend.
Layering vocals is not new; it’s been used for years ago to the rock era. However, Asake has managed to bend it to suit his style, delivering hits like Sungba, PBUY, and Terminator. Records that served as lead singles on this album, three solid hit singles that have gained over 41 million global streams since it was released on August 18.
He has had a run; after his EP “Ololade Asake” introduced us to the YBNL signee, he has been on an unstoppable run, running laps on features and his own records. MMWTV sheds more light on Asake as a whole, freeing up two slots for feature, Russ and Burna Boy; this allows Asake to express his craft to the max on all 12 songs.
The intro, “DULL” is peak Asake; everything he stands for musically is deeply rooted in this opener. From massive vocal overdubs to a backing female voice, relentless lyrics, and an ever-diversified production by his right hand, Magicsticks. The heavy bass-driven rumblings with log drums on “Organize” are perfect.
They allow Asake to find his feet on the song, soaring into another dimension with his sparkling voice. You can barely understand his native language for, outsiders, but that’s the special part. You don’t have to; you just know his lyrics are pumped from the tanks of hardships, love, and street knowledge, and his emotions make it a universal language for all. You just know what he is talking about thanks to pieces of English in his diction.
The album is not only about Asake; all songs are produced by Magicsticks, which equally balances the work ethic; you can tell the duo’s chemistry is what breathes life into each song. It’s like they were made for each other. Asake is flawless when he hits “streets Gospel” mode, songs like “Dupe” and “Nzaza” are a rich tapestry of life’s rules, with lyrics that seem to come from a personal place.
Every song’s theme draws particular inspiration from the story. On “Ototo”, Asake takes a quantum leap in Self-Care, crooning in Yoruba with lyrics that prioritize his own, “Carry your own I no get stamina, Jowo ma fejo pami na ah”, the song’s sweetest part is its great resonance to pizzicato strings from a violin, that smoothly runs through the song.
Despite his street persona, Asake is for the ladies, too, “Muse” is an experimental one, with no heavy Amapiano theme on here. It’s just Asake reassuring his lover with words of affection. Once again, his accomplices are violin and backup choir singers that harmonize the song, allowing the production to flourish effortlessly.
You’d expect to hear a bit of that for a man who has dropped multiple club bangers in a short while, and he came through it. Catchy drum loops, loping bass rhythms, and overall fast-paced production, “Joha” has it all; less than 24 hours since it’s really, there’s been videos of dancers moving to the record; you just know it’s the up next.
The mainstream elements are heavily present in “Sunmomi”, hymn-like vocals, tricky chordophone strings that manoeuvre around typical Amapiano chants, and catchy lyrics. It screams massive replay value with 30 seconds of blissful production.
One of the album’s surprises is the Russ feature. The American rapper hops on this come-up space record “Reason”, co-sharing his journey to the top with Asake, who seems to be finding his path to the top. The feature is not just surprising. It’s concise and allows both acts to feel accomplished in the song, Russ’s verse is distinctly cosy and pleasant, perfect for Asake’s approach towards the song.
The album’s final lap is a Victorious one, finishing things off with arguably one of the year’s biggest songs, “Sungba” remix featuring Burna Boy. Under 30 minutes, Asake embraces Amapiano’s trope: its originality as a genre but bends the rules with his musical constitution, with a palette stretching from street vibes to local crooning and playful wordplay exercises. The Nigerian seems to have cracked the code for mainstream Amapiano with the help of his producer, whose presence makes this debut memorable.