In the realm of musical expectations, few artists carry as much weight that rests upon the talented shoulders of Wande Coal. With a reputation for crafting nothing but perfection, it is only natural to hold him to the highest standard. As one delves into the captivating melodies that have adorned his career, it becomes evident that Wande Coal is a masterful weaver of harmonies, deserving of his rightful place among the legendary musicians of our time.
Whenever Wande Coal’s name arises in conversation, an array of chart-topping hits follow suit, testifying to his unparalleled musicality. His compositions, composed of ethereal chords and graceful vocalizations, are nothing short of mesmerizing. It is truly remarkable how one individual can birth albums that exude such blissful euphony, as demonstrated by his eponymous debut album, Mushin 2 Mo’Hits down to this very moment. Even during his intermittent hiatus from the industry, his musical creations continue to captivate the hearts of devoted fans. His artistry transcends the confines of time and remains cherished by music lovers, irrespective of his wavy presence in the game.
Thus, imagine the sheer surprise that envelops one’s senses upon embarking on a 1-time listen through his latest project, a sense of confusion, wonderment, and, dare this writer say, a tinge of disappointment pervades the air as the highly anticipated work of art unfolds. The release of his newest project, Legend Or No Legend, was shrouded in anticipation, eagerness to witness the unveiling of melodies from the lord of harmonies, the initial king of falsettos (with no offense intended towards the beloved Oxlade, whose falsetto croons we hold dear). While a near three-year gap since his last project was bridged by the 2020 EP, Realms, the announcement of this new album sent shockwaves through the Nigerian music scene.
Upon deep reflection, it becomes evident that the most fitting title for this album is indeed Legend Or No Legend. For within its sonic tapestry lies shoddiness and lacklustre efforts. It hints that perhaps the bestowed legendary status upon Wande Coal does not preclude occasional misstep in the creation of his melodies. Simply put, the album’s attempt to recreate Western styles of hip-hop, teeters on uncertain ground in its quest to strike the desired chords.
If one were to don the lens of self-opinionated observation, the struggle within the album becomes apparent. It heavily relies on the glory of yesteryears, as well as the raw reality of Wande Coal’s artistic endeavours. The album presents a delicate balance between enjoyable records and those that elicit a bewildered “What in the world is this?” The initial listen to Legend Or No Legend quivers with the realization of how improperly this body of work is organized. A profound conflict ensues, and regrettably, it lacks the compelling replay value one yearns for—unless one possesses the compassion to grant the album another listen, compelled by the desire to relive the few moments of true enjoyment from something of the records, if any were discovered.
It is impossible to ignore the lingering belief that more could have been done within this work. It fails to exude the soulful essence for which Wande Coal is known. It lacks the impactful resonance that we yearn for, and this, in itself, is disheartening. While we cannot dictate the path an artist’s work should take, it is only fair to express the sentiment hanging upon our lips: “You could have done better, even if only slightly.“
Amidst the tracks that grace this album, there exist those that radiate the sheer beauty and magic that permeate Wande Coal’s music. Notably, the records featuring collaborations with prominent Nigerian artists, including the internationally acclaimed T-Pain in Streets. The vocal similarities often drawn between Wande Coal and T-Pain are undeniable, and their union in this track, serves as a testament to their remarkable prowess.
An exceptional creation within the album lies in Jabo, featuring the sensational Fireboy DML. It transports one back to the lovesick Wande Coal of yore, gliding through songs such as Private Trips and Superwoman, among others. With Fireboy’s undeniable talent gracing the track, Wande Coal’s maestro vocals find themselves in perfect harmony. The resulting sync is nothing short of magical, elevating the track’s replay value a thousandfold.
We are treated to the long-awaited collaboration between Wande Coal and Wizkid. The combination of the crafty log drums and Wizkid’s serenading, crisp vocals in Ebelebe leaves one in awe. Wande Coal’s contribution to the track is pertinent and joyously infectious.
Even more appealing is the chemistry between Wande Coal and Olamide, which shines through once again in Kpe Paso, showcasing Olamide’s mastery in seamlessly gliding over beats. The undeniable synchronization between these artists is revealed yet again, reaffirming their remarkable artistic connection.
While some tracks on Legend Or No Legend may lack the infectious charm that typically accompanies Wande Coal’s music, they call for the artist to, perhaps, loosen up and immerse himself in the ocean of beats, melodies, and tantalizing rhythms that have characterized his illustrious career.
Legend Or No Legend stands as a testament to Wande Coal’s artistic journey. While it may not reach the lofty heights set by his previous masterpieces, it serves as a reminder that even the most revered musicians experience occasional setbacks. Yet, within the flaws are moments of brilliance, where Wande Coal’s musical prowess shines through. Let us embrace this album as a stepping stone on his ever-evolving path, eagerly awaiting the next symphony of harmonies that will undoubtedly captivate our hearts once again.