Once you hear ‘shekpe’ in any new track, you just know you’re about to experience the tasty world of Davido’s music mastery. Your excitement isn’t that the song bears the tendency of being melodic, it’s the assurance that with the artist on it, things just got better. With him on a slow track, you’re sure to be light on your feet even.
The first time Nigerians were led into the world of Davido’s musical journey, when he released E Ma Dami Duro, it was at that point we realised we had an artist whose confidence could be smelled a distance away, infusing it into his singing style and assuming a stance that has carried him on to the acclaimed title, 001.
The artist’s spicy vocals and upbeat energy in his every track has spoiled Nigerians to the extent where, the moment the artist decisively turns to want to explore a whole new manner of music, our faces are curved in confusion, wondering “what does he think he’s doing” — when the artist made a project, Son Of Man, and dropped it, while in my books, I consider it a very timeless project with intricate creativity, not many appreciated the work because it revealed a different Davido, it revealed a whole new OBO, as he so fondly calls himself.
However, the undying love of his massive fan base train, the irresistible 30BG gang, has proven to be quite an asset for this artist; where even when his position as the leading force in Nigeria’s music scene is questioned, these people will hawk on their heads, the artist’s music, appreciate his work and see no shortcoming in his endeavours.
One of those times when his stance has been questioned was his decision to drop what I call a supposed follow up project to his A Good Time album, A Better Time. To say a better time was ensured on the album would be an exaggeration considering how Davido with questions on what his intentions were with the release of ABT, put such an incoherent project together.
Understand that the album is not a total flop-up, but it’s simply one that lies beneath the standard of an artist who have waxed through the years with magnificent projects. The conclusion on the album was ‘rushed, unnecessary, unintentional and had no direction with which the album was headed towards’.
Quite alright, some of the tracks were temptingly beautiful but the overall performance on A Better Time was too overwhelming to allow the good of the album, dwell over the flops.
When recently, the artist announced that he was going to drop a new album; the eagerness and anticipation to see what Davido had cooked up through the years since 2020 was high.
His titled ‘Timeless’ album was rolled out into the internet world as one that held such prestigious standard, one that wasn’t going to be ephemeral, as compared to his previous project.
It indeed is a great time to be alive! A great time to be alive, to see the beauty Davido put together and labelled a project, titled Timeless. It’s an amazing time for the music scene and for this writer in particular, seeing how so much growth has happened from when the artist dropped A Better Time and now, Timeless. Growth.
His new album, is a full cache of many moods and auras, the mood of pain, grief, personal identity and as always, romance. While he explores his popular Afropop genre, he meddles with R&B, creates magic with hip-hop, drives through the world of amapiano where countless times, he has proven to be an icon in, and grazes the hem of highlife.
As is with Davido, a new album is an opportunity to see him explore his collaborative skills with different artists, this time, having artists such as Skepta, Angelique Kidjo, The Cavemen, Fave, Asake, Dexta Daps, Musa Keys and his newly signed artists in his rebranded DMW label, Morravey and Logos Olori.
The 17-track album isn’t splattered with pon-pon sounds where the artist attempts to make a statement as being the number 1 hit maker in the country. No. It instead dissects itself into a form of different aspects, one where he faces his reality, dives from escapism and look his pains in the eye, another where he becomes love struck and sprinkles glitters into the veins of the tracks, the other can be him stating exactly who he is, assuming his position in the music scene and sending a clear message.
If perhaps there was a doubt on how excellent David would perform in the album, the silky opening of the track with Over Dem All, is enough to water down any form of doubt. The mastery in the use of saxophones and the strings, which is merged with the artist’s intended message through his lyrics, is enough to plunge you into understanding that the artist came prepared. Over Dem All is in reference to the biblical story of David and Goliath, where he affirms how ‘still he’ll rise despite it all’. After his heroic and iconic moment on this track, David zooms off into IT.
It’s assumed that a track with The Cavemen has the tendency to sound even better by a high margin (right?). The Cavemen’s appearance on Na Money, alongside Angelique Kidjo is a soothing highlife track, with the bongos as clear as crystal. Angelique Kidjo’s flow in her language which though we have no grasp of what she’s saying, is undeniably good. The Cavemen’s vocal paint over the song’s melody is unmistakable, and truly, Davido scored with this track.
We don’t speak enough in Davido’s impeccable streak on love songs, a part of Davido where he’s not typically all over and giving a smashing banger. Davido on love songs is not unusual to us, as the artist every now and then, have blessed us with love songs, ranging from Assurance, Nwa Baby, Heaven, Jowo, amongst others. He doesn’t deflect from magnificence with romance on this album, from the bouncy hip-hop U(Juju) where he features Skepta to crooning away on heartbreak in E Pain Me, No Competition and even For The Road.
Looking at Asake and Davido’s maestro skills in No Competition is blissful— after Lady where Asake bared his heart out on love, we’re not sure we’ve heard Asake in songs as a melty lover until now, as he and Davido sing on love and the amazing nature of their woman in No Competition.
We know what Logos Olori is on Picasso where he assumes a sort of Wizkid jnr as the artist’s influence can’t be overlooked and Logos did quite the job in ensuring this similarity between him and Wizkid. Wizkid’s flows, Wizkid’s limping lyrics and how laid back the artist is in his recent songs is what Logos Olori so perfectly captures in Picasso. We’re tempted to think that perhaps indeed, Wizkid was once meant to be on the track.
Davido reinstates his god level in the afropop scene, claiming his throne back following his silence and going behind the curtains in the music scene for a not so long period of time. With tracks such as LCND, Godfather, Away, Davido vividly comes to terms with his iconic personality, the 001 he has always been and will always be. With Davido, there’s no dragging of that title with him. In these tracks, the artist touches through his pains, embraces them and yet, reaffirms how nothing, how tough, can bring him down.
There is a very high replay value, which I can state is perhaps higher than the other songs in In The Garden, where Davido features Morravey. I’m still coming to terms with the fact that Davido’s new signees bear a striking resemblance in flow and singing style as other established artists in Nigeria, where Morravey’s flow in track number 3 is similar to that of Sability crooner, Ayra Starr. Regardless however, the track is beautiful and this writer considers it one of her favorite tracks in the album, with how Davido let the new star take the reigns of the song and sprinkle it with a black girl magic.
As earlier mentioned that this project is unlike Davido’s pursuit for banger songs, the artist regardless leaves us with two songs that stay as undeniable bangers; Bop featuring Dexta Daps and Champion Sound featuring Focalistic. Unlike other tracks of his which relays a message and somehow comes from a reflective state of mind, these two tracks are evidently potential club hits, with Champion Sound already achieving this feat, given it was released in November, 2021.
The artist’s strive to put together a masterpiece is clearly shown in Timeless, his intentionality, the beauty of his beats and its selection, the intentions with the project and how it embodies Davido’s obvious state of mind, how the artist opens himself up like a book for our listening pleasure. The phrase “Timeless will indeed be a timeless piece of work as the tides goes by” is my conclusion for Davido’s newest album.