Yemi Alade has a blend of Igbo and Yoruba blood running in her. Plus she is one of the most widely travelled Nigerian singers. Perhaps that is why in part she was accepted when she adorned herself with the title – Mama Africa. However, asides touring the whole of Africa, there’s more the sultry singer needs to pay attention to.
One worries if the need to create lifetime songs strikes our artistes at all or they are just interested in one off hits. I think this decision influences whatever they sit down to write while producing songs. And also what they push out to the world eventually.
At a time when the African pop sound has risen, so much as to attain global recognition and acceptance, if there’s any other time to buckle their shoes and dominate the scene, now is it! How’s that possible? It is simply by creating music that will stand the test of time with great vibe and most importantly grounded lyrics.
YEMI ALADE – ISSOKAY
This song is one of such songs that leaves you dumbfounded as to what the singer is saying exactly. Yes, it is a usual ‘danceable’ vibe and that’s not a problem. At least we all won’t be conscious every time. We need songs for some moments when we decide to go gaga too. But even with that, a certain degree of coherence is still needed. I mean Simi’s Owambe was more than being a party vibe, it has a party theme entirely and still lyrically resonates. Same cannot be said of Yemi Alade’s ‘Issokay’ anyway.
No be say I be novice. You can’t say you don’t know this, ah
Back to back is not it. If you are feeling the groove then vibe it
No be say I too sabi but e be like say I sabi ah. On a row we dey party
If you’re not with me, then you’re lagging behind
Yemi Alade vibrates on the first verse of the song supposedly reminding us that she is not a kid in the game. But sis, come on, we know you are not but pls show it. I mean, the first verse of the song alone has three different lines flying in unsynchronized directions. While the fourth spreads out six times repetitively.
AS IF THAT WAS NOT ENOUGH
She enters the second verse singing about what seems like the essence of the song – dance – if the video is anything to go about at all. The video which spanned for 150 seconds has a lot of dancing energy in it. But just when we thought Yemi Alade will sustain that particular vibe and at least we will have something to hold on to on the song. She went lyrically off about making money and all of that completely thwarting the effort to hold on to something specifically off the song.
As the gbedu enter, the people start to dance (Make way); my people start to dance
Carry dey go, e dey the plans. So make you give me chance
Money oh, money oh! Money sweet oh, we dey make am
Money sweet oh, when we dey make am
We run the streets and we run the town
The 3 chorus lines and 2 pre-chorus lines did justice anyway by sticking to the unfathomable mother-body of the song. It had Yemi Alade emphasizing the title of the song ‘Issokay’ and the presumption that anyone who’s not with her is lagging behind. The question then is, ‘with you, on what exactly? On a vibe that we don’t even understand. Unfortunately, that’s the only clear and easy to grasp item of the song which lasted for 2 minutes and 30 seconds.
No no! Egar Boi brings his A-game into this by combining various instruments to make the sound interesting and terrific. It is near perfection for a song like ‘Issokay’. While the drum particularly enhanced the rhythm of the song, one would wonder if that was what captured Yemi Alade’s interest to jump on the beat and produce the song. It would have earned more prominence and give the listener a perfect and vibrating ‘eargasm’ if it was lyrically as dope as the beat anyway.
The video directed by Ireland based Ovie Etseyatse was typically nice. Shot outdoor in Toronto, Canada, it has clear images to complement the sound. And yes, talking about the dance, Yemi Alade and the other dancers brought so much energy onto the song, swaying that backside in an awesomely rhythmic tactic. That wasn’t surprising though for the Yemi Alade that we know. What she was not able to expound in the song, she paid up for it with the dance.
Yemi Alade is a wonderful artiste; the kind that brings a lot of vibe on the table. But that is one thing while being on top of your game to ensure that your song remains maybe not always on the music chart but in the heart of all your fans is another thing. A typical music lover listens to this song and 30 seconds after can’t remember what the song was talking about. In Victor Okpala’s word, that’s not genius.
What stands you out is brewing a fantastic music idea and harnessing the necessary element of art to properly translate the idea into a great musical piece. And at this age when people actually check your lyrics before listening to the songs, no amount of airplay and promotion will endear your song to the listener when your lines are tacky and disjointed.
In any case, ‘Issokay’ did not add up much insistence to Yemi Alade’s music profile and doesn’t do much harm either.