Afrobeats has been the core sound for Nigeria for a vast period of time, shaping their industry with some of its finest stars, amongst all that. Other genres have shown huge potential, Drill music is one of those genres. At the peak of its success, Drill music has been the voice of the streets, starting a movement worldwide. Nigeria’s capital is the latest hub to produce one of Drill’s standout figures right now. Dubbed “Okporoko Rhythms”, Odumodublvck’s style blends Grime, Fela Kuti’s Afrobeats, and progressive R&B, with raps that equal the narrative force of the Drill’s material.
The last ten months have been unreal for the Native Records rapper. “Picanto” which features Zlatan has seen its numbers multiply since smash hit “Declan Rice” went viral. The song was also featured in Arsenal’s announcement video for Declan Rice, who is now good friends with Odumodu. “Dog Eat Dog” added more weight to the element of his signature sound, while “MC Oluomo” is a fierce reminder that he is the hardest rapper on the continent as of now. The icing on the cake is his deal with Def Jam Records, which gave his debut the extra edge.
EZIOKWU which means Truth, is an expansive project which renders Big Kala’s brusque Abuja-Life experience and journey in a fierce style. The quick-and-dirty approximation of “Commend” adds extra transparency to Odumodublvck’s mischievous tales. He sounds gangster even when he leans on his lover boy side. A similar approach is on “Adamma Beke”, but with wordplay that references Nigerian President, Bola A. Tinubu’s trembling hands during his pre-election campaign speeches. “Adamma Beke, I never see your type, oh, otilo, this your yansh, my hand e don dey tremor like Jagaban”.
The album’s features is an extensive one. Wale and Bloody Civilian’s verse on “Blood On the Civilian” marks Odumodublvck’s zeal for Afro-diasporic tunes, with Wale’s verse transcending the song into a potential global hit. Amaarae’s influence comes to the fore on “Kuborlor”, with looping log-drum rhythms produced by JohnWav, allowing her high-pitched voice to surf through the song. “Tesla Boy” is the sleekest song on the project, Big Kala ups his flex with a hook that arrives through a simple yet belted melody. Spykida’s summery Afro-pop production fits perfectly with Blaqbonez’s sunny persona. Odumodublvck’s brightest moments on this album are all stored in his rap performance. “Shoot and Go Home” has more of Big Kala’s charisma to spare on a swaggering beat, and “Saint Obi” is the hardest record on the album, paying homage to one of Nollywood’s blockbuster action-packed figures. Odumodublvck and Reeplay deliver a nerve-racking performance that balances moments of Drill with vivid snapshots of street rap. There is enough space for peak hip-hop culture. Alongside Teezee and PsychoYP, the trio is ready to throw it all up for a pole dancer on “Stripper Anthem”. “Hammer Time” sounds like a pre-game tune, preparing yourself for a lit night, a style that fits the rapper’s personality.
EZIOKWU has everything the Nigerian rapper has to offer. From trap tales, political screeds, and even love songs, Big Kala has a lot to say and transmits that message effortlessly via his bold-faced theme. With writing skills that are richly imagistic but also relatable, the perfect debut for a rapper.
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