On May 15 2004, 2face Idibia released his debut solo album titled Face 2 Face.
Prior to the release of the album, 2face Idibia was already an household name, but only as a member of the group Plantashun Boys which also had Blackface and Faze.
After months of speculation, it was officially announced that the one who was christened as the Plantashun among the Boys according to Eedris Abdulkareem in Wackawickee Mcs, had jumped ship and was now sailing solo on the platform of Kennis Music, the label which was the biggest in the country at the time.
This led to opinion pieces, polls and futuristic prophecies from both industry observers and critics as many predicted that this was a move that was doomed to end in failure.
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How would 2face survive without the song writing or rap skills of Blackface, where will he be without Faze's falsetto bringing his hooks to a fine end?
What, why and how were the questions raised as many failed to understand the reasons for his decision.
But like 2face himself stated in an interview after the split, ''In life, people come together and at times depart each others company... I just woke up one day and told them I wanted to go out there and do my thing''. A decision that the other members of the group struggled to accept.
So at this point, the artist was at war not just with his ex-group members, but also a strong fan base who had followed the group religiously and felt betrayed by the exit of its most glamorous member.
His deal with Kennis Music supposedly came with benefits like a car, a rented apartment and a large fund to work it.
But it also came with immense pressure and the young Innocent Idibia knew he could not afford to get it wrong on his first project.
Housing 11 tracks, with production solely handled by the late OJB Jezreel, Face 2 Face was his first offering dipped in musical moods falling somewhere in between love, reality, fun and gratitutude.
This was no album that was to grow on you, with the well oiled machinery that Kennis Music possessed in terms of publicity and reach, all 2face had to do was complement the wheels in motion with a quality product to promote, and this he more than achieved.
Face 2 Face was a very soulful, vibrant and conscious album, that became an instant hit with more than five breakout singles.
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Recognizing that many had doubted his ability to do it all alone, he kept the guest features brief having just former Trybesmen, Freestyle who he had a synergy with on the love inspired, Ole, his brothers from Natives on Keep on rocking and Blackfaze on Odiya.
The first track on the album, “Nfana Ibaga” came in like a warning shot with 2face spitting a few rap bars, introducing himself and laying down the blueprint of how he intends to live his life.
It was the perfect way to announce that a new star had arrived and the video shot on the streets of Festac enhanced it into becoming a viral hit.
Top three songs off the album
Parading 11 tracks which includes three skit, there was a deliberate attempt at making the album an enjoyable listen with little or no room for fillers, but of the lot, three singles stood out.
With African Queen, love was made perfect and cherishing the one who means all to you found the right words in this song that was dedicated to his girlfriend at the time, now wife, Annie Macaulay.
African Queen is considered a classic and was the first video premiered on MTV Base Africa's airing in 2005, and later used as a soundtrack in the 2006 Hollywood movie, Phat Girlz.
Nfana Ibaga, there are fewer opening singles on a Nigerian album that can better this, as 2face declared that he had No Problem with anyone and 'who God has blessed, no man can curse'.
Ole (Thief), featured rapper Freestyle and became the perfect anthem for any guy whose heart has been 'stolen away' in love.
Cultural impact of the album
Outside winning quite a number of awards both locally and globally, perhaps the biggest attribute that can be paid to the Face2Face album was its impact on the music culture.
Nigerians live for a good love story and 2face opened room for a broad conversation from Ole where two friends exchanged ideas on how to go about talking to a girl they liked to Right Here, written by OJB Jezreel, and African Queen, 2face delivered love in a spectrum that appeal from different angles.
Understanding the strong impact that music can be channeled into, 2face is socially reflective in songs like U no holy pass, challenging negative criticisms, ''But they will try to push on more, try to open every door, but negativity doesn't make it certain'.
With Face2Face, 2face delivered not just a cohesive body of work as against a collection of singles clustered together but also a new album format that artists began to emulate by including at least one song touching on love and on gratitude to God on their albums.
Such was the impact of the project that on its tenth anniversary in 2014, 2face Idibia reunited with Kennis Music to put out an anniversary edition of the album titled, Face2Face 10.0 album.
This week makes it 14years since Face2Face made its debut and the album still sounds better with every listen, perhaps a testament not only to the artist, but the direction of the label and all of the talented people who worked on this album.
Face 2 face became the perfect example on how to score a successful debut album, it was a journey through the mind of a determined hustler who just wanted to succeed and when he said, 'Welcome to my world', it was indeed his world and we were just privileged to be living in it.
Praised by critics for its artistic depth, 2face was able to not just tell stories from several parts of his life but also mirror present day realities that his listeners could associate with, which led to it becoming a huge commercial success.
That’s the pure essence, power and grace that trailed the story of 2baba's golden album, Face2Face.