Some persons might think the statement, “Too many cooks spoil the broth” is a platitude, a hackneyed expression if you desire, but not this writer. I hold on to that statement with serious respect. It should not be taken with disdain or a grain of sand, like other cliche phrases that litter commercial buses in Lagos. That said, when DRB Lasgidi released their album, Pionners, I was a tad scared.
It featured too many names from the alté scene, that I was worried it would flop. Like all creative works, sometimes, when there are too many brilliant minds on it, it always goes overboard. Imagine having Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Lewandoswki and Thomas Muller on one team. You get the picture now?
However, I must say, DRB Lasgidi didn’t flop; they came out strong and delivered us a project that will for a long time be remembered in the alté scene.
The 12-track album features a ensemble of big and fast-rising names from Nigeria’s youth culture-led alté scene, including Lady Donli, Tems, Santi, Odunsi (The Engine), Prettyboy DO, and others. It also features Nigerian indigenous rapper, Olamide on the track, Shomo.
Truth be told, the name DRB Lasgidi is not new to the music industry or the alté empire. Some might even argue that the group introduced the alté genre. The group has been a household name for alté since 2007. Perhaps, this is the reason behind the album’s name, Pioneers; a statement that this genre originated from it.
The DRB Lasgidi group which currently consists of Fresh L, Boj and Teezee worked with brilliant producers like GMK and Pheelz for this project.
Although some of the songs like Softly, the album’s lead single had been released a few weeks before Pionners dropped, it still hit hard.
Softly has that Afrobeats vibe, mixed with an alté sync. It sounds like a beat Fela would enjoy, and something from SDC’s Palmwine Express. It is an easy track that sounds great for outdoor events, with a live band.
Speaking about the song, Teezee said “It’s used for endearment. For example, when someone looks great or if someone is having a good time and relaxing you can say they are soft. Softly identifies calmness and gentleness, while delivering something fresh and brand new.”
“We wanted to mix the original sounds of Afrobeat, but infused with the new wave of the Alté sound.”
Ma Pariwo featuring Lady Donli comes next. I like to think that the subject of this song is about sex, especially when Fresh L says “nack we go balance for bed”. Yes, this Afropop song is great with Lady Donli. Her voice complements Boj, who is on the hook.
However, as much as this is my favorite track on the album, I have to pause to ask if Madam Cash is the best choice for a song on sex. As much as she delivers, it just blurs and distorts the image of Lady Donli’s music. A great track by DRB Lasgidi nonetheless.
While you’re still grooving to this song, Kasala comes up next and just blows your mind. First off, we need to appreciate BOJ’s voice and the way PrettyBoy D-O just comes with the hook. The entry is golden and the rap, pure cruise. When Fresh L said that line “body like Coke wey dey taste like Schweppes”, I literally screamed, because that was wild, only for Teezee to drop the Ebola line. The track seems like an effortless effort, as the team weaves through the instrumental to create their magic. Did I forget the black David Beckham line? No doubt these men came to hit us with bars!
Salty is a trap song that works well with the album. It features Santi and Maison 2500 and again, I think this song has something to do with sex. What’s the allusion to sex on every track? A question we’ll leave for DRB Lasgidi to answer.
However, the lyrics are quite indistinct and hard to pick. It almost wants to down the morale the album has been building.
The beauty of Set it Off are the piano chords that introduce you to the track. The song saves the group from the last track and helps to steady the pace from previous tracks. It has that bob-your-head to kind of vibe. Can we just say DRB Lasgidi to the world already?
Tems does not disappoint as always, and she comes through on Trouble with the boys. It is quite hard to pick what genre, this song falls under. As I listened to the song, the narrative that readily came to mind was Brymo’s Blackmail. It almost has the same story arc.
You remember Wani? The God Forbid crooner. He is featured on the I Swear track, which is a trap song. When placed with the other trap song, this actually bangs better. DRB Lasgidi had a love feel here.“Based on kpa kpa kpa kpa,” those are the opening words for the next track. This song come like a Cloud rap and the group puts on the cloak of pointing out the errors in Nigeria. Although they sing that “Nigeria jaga jaga,” they make to point out that they are living the good life and in a sense, they are not bothered by the troubles and ills assailing the populace.
DRB Lasgidi’ next track, Necessary with Odunsi (the engine) is a song on how money is quintessential and the imperative need of it. It is a trap song on materialism, and the lyrics all point to that narrative. The narrative is a seamless flow from the previous track.
As much as I like Shomo, I do not see the need for it. If there was a strong desire to feature a big name on the project, it should definitely be someone else, not Olamide. The bars are weak, the rhymes are poor and immature. It is the only poor song on the album.
Next Gen is an alté song juxtaposed with an Afro-fusion beat. It has Fresh L written over it. The writing, the delivery, everything reeks of his handwork.
The Game with Viviendi Sound is a strange track. It is an outro from the album and the guys decide to talk about a bit of their life on a beat. Strange but lovely.
All in all, the album which took ten years to drop was worth it. DRB Lasgidi showed that they are truly the godfathers of the alté industry with this output. They came, they saw they conquered.
Boj is a master at dropping hooks and singing chorus and he doesn’t disappoint on this album. He perhaps is having the most successful solo career of the group, and it is good to see him doing his thing here without missing.
Fresh L was all over this album, and why that should be overbearing and in a sense overflogged for a group, it isn’t. We finally see how much of his talent has been hidden and stowed away. He drops bars, rhymes with ease and just enjoys himself. We hope to see more of his works now that the album has sort of cemented a place for him.
Teezee sounds like that guy who hates stress and will likely not leave his comfort zone, but he tries to in this album and he does it in an exciting manner. The album was long-anticipated and it was definitely worth the weight.
Better late than never, right? Oh, I forgot. I hate trite expressions and clichés.
I rate the album a 7/10.Photo Credit: Instagram