If one must define it, DJ SPINALL’s Top Boy is an amalgam of some of the best vocalists the Nigerian music industry has to offer; it’s a blessed fusion of delectable melodies from Nigeria’s best, including BNXN, Adekunle Gold, Niniola, Tay Iwar, and even the famous Olamide.
While he crosses frontiers to include the ever-luscious Stefflon Don’s vocals in his album alongside Summer Walker’s voluptuous and lilting vocals, DJ SPINALL’s album spiral even outside the country. You can opine that the project is a demonstration of great delivery.
As this writer first listened to the record, the mere displeasure at having to prioritize the beats composition over the lyrics and vocal substance grew consuming, blindsighting the wonder in how baffling the merging of vocalists is. On first listen, the album only makes a lot of sense from the middle rather than the top; you can conclude that the author had one thought in mind when they wrote, “so much for an album titled Top Boy to sound so appealing from the middle.“
The mystery surrounding what SPINALL hoped to achieve with this album was more perplexing than the ballyhoo of such fine artists without a clear direction for the record. It appeared as though SPINALL only wanted to show off his adept production abilities and vocal layering skills. The beat floats directly over the artist’s vocals, and the author didn’t need any further persuasion after the first listen.
It is important to note that each of the 15 songs on Top Boy has a top-notch beat that is smooth and refined with an upbeat edge that draws you in. Yet one can’t say the same about the singing; the synchronization of the beats and the voices only gets steamy after the first listen, if one has the patience for it.
The songs that instantly catch your attention are Give Me Love ft. Niniola, Honest ft. TSB, Tay Iwar & Tamera, and Bunda ft. Kemuel & Olamide. This is not just due to the featured artists on the songs, but also due to how dazzling the entire collaboration is. These songs are enthralling from the first second and have a vibey snap to them; Give Me Love is a full showcase of Niniola’s dancehall spirit; it seems as though the song was written specifically for her; she pours her entire striking energy into the song without holding back, capturing your enthusiastic mood.
There is always some kind of cool aura, cryptic energy, and heartfelt rhythms to the music whenever there is a Tay Iwar. Honest is pulse-y and somber, revealing a genre style that we’ve never had to see DJ SPINALL delve into. It adheres to the alternative sound style, which explains the meticulous collaboration of Tamera, Tay Iwar, and the UK producer, TSB.
Bunda is a thrilling song that is as unique as it is exquisite. While not overlooking the amazing effort of Kemuel, who, if one may say, performed an even better job at gliding with the track than Olamide, it is unsettling to believe that one would expect anything less from a track that features Olamide on it. Kemuel’s obvious contribution in his verse and on the hook is to say, worth well-applauding, and while the iconic street-pop musician was himself as he would be on any tune.
A second listen changes your perspective and broadens your understanding of where DJ SPINALL is trying to go with Top Boy. It takes us through collaborations across many different styles and genres, revealing the unexplored tendencies of music that the multi-talented artist is intending to rummage through.
With artists whose auras fit the genres his album spans, SPINALL’s Top Boy features a run through of amapiano, African American R&B, Caribbean Dancehall, and other genres.
The melodies of Azanti and Zaiam effortlessly flow through and undoubtedly have an essence that makes the Fela-inspired single Cruise grow on you, shifting your attention to want to give the record an opportunity to dig into your mind.
You’re talking about quality and the magic Adekunle Gold created on Cloud 9 with the reverberant strings, the sweep-through of AG Baby’s vocals, and yet another chorus that borrows heavily from Fela’s influence with the customary female audience voices. In this song, his vocal agility is audible, and the featured artist and DJ Spinall have syncopated the African drums with such elegance.
Who knew BNXN fka Buju and Stefflon Don could sound so good, their vocals sharing a thin wall or more with BNXN’s desire to exceedingly outdo himself on a track and Stefflon’s aural versatility; sounding alike and generating such mind-blowing masterpiece with Oshey?
Examine Powerful by DJ SPINALL carefully; it features Summer Walker, DJ Snake, Äyanna, and Nasty C. The feature’s randomness and the euphoria that followed it ought to be understudied and commended. From the song’s first seconds, we shouldn’t miss the crisp violins and the Caribbean squeeze.
When you eventually get DJ SPINALL’s aims — the spontaneous selection of artists, the genre-hopping, and the skill of the artists on display — you’ll only be able to appreciate such beauty.
Top Boy is an even more brilliant production for checking off boxes outside of the conventional list requirements for an album, from Amaraee’s laid-back energy that has somehow become her super power thing revealed on Bow Down to Blxckie’s creativity incorporated alongside Ladipoe’s hot rap flows in Outside to us seeing new stormy talents like Kemuel.