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Young Jonn's hesitation to step away from the familiar stunts his debut LP

On 'Jiggy Forever,' Young Jonn crafts songs that while enjoyable as a unit are too formulaic to form a compelling listening experience across 16 tracks.

 A review of Young Jonn's debut LP 'Jiggy Forever'

Having scored a defining hit, Young Jonn quickly developed a keen appetite for hit singles, and his follow-up releases 'Xtracool', 'Aquafina', 'Shaperly', 'Go Home', and 'Big Big Things' leaned heavily towards the Amapiano export that dominates the Nigerian mainstream.

It's from the position of a hitmaking popstar that Young Jonn delivers his debut album 'Jiggy Forever' which expectedly offers party-starting Pop cuts but not enough songs to capture the depth of his artistry.

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That Young Jonn chose to lean almost entirely to familiar Amapiano-styled production doesn't come as a surprise given the singles he has released in the past 18 months. However, this predictability doesn't eliminate the pang of disappointment from listeners who expect more from the man who crafted the acclaimed 'Love Is Not Enough' EP.

'Jiggy Forever' suffers the familiar shortcoming of recent Pop albums in Nigerian music where artists choose to rely on the formulaic approach that brought them mainstream success.

For an acclaimed producer, Young Jonn fails to take a stab at the unknown or experiment to elevate, or at least, tweak the familiarity and predictability of his music. Young Jonn spends the better part of 42 minutes recreating different versions of the same song with none outshining the other. He stacked the album with similar-sounding tracks with the injection of excitement coming from guest appearances.

The Chinese folk strings on 'Pot of Gold' are outshined by familiar log drum usage and familiar melodies. When Young Jonn sings about the superstar life on 'Bahamas', it's with the same delivery and production. If Young Jonn's lover boy musing on the Magicsticks produced 'Aquafina' emphasises his commitment to Amapiano, his hedonistic confessions on 'Big Big Things' suggest an unhealthy affixation to log drum as not even Seyi Vibez's stellar verse could save the song from the banality that it's.

Young Jonn deploys similar drum arrangements and delivery on 'Jeje', 'Shine Shine,' and 'Full My Tank' feat Don Jazzy who seems to follow Young Jonn's lead and laid an underwhelming verse marked by regurgitated lyrics and melodies.

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While the Amapiano leaning heartbreak record 'Stronger' and the sweet melodies of 'Sharpally' stand out, they are just two distinctive tracks out of nearly 10 similar sounding records. It's this monotony and hesitation to step away from the familiar that stunts Young Jonn's debut LP.

We get to experience the best of the album when Young Jonn steps away from the comfort of Amapiano/up-tempo party staring production like on the Blaisebeat produced 'Bucket List'. The most compelling part of the project comes courtesy of the guest artists who take the front seat to steer the tracks into more adventurous territories.

On the Babybeats produced Konto bounce 'Showcase', label mate Blaqbonez delivers a compelling verse. Telz's brilliant folk drums on 'Hold On' offer a breather from the choking log drum while Sean Paul rivaled Blaqbonez for the best verse on the project. Ya Levis' sensual francophone melodies lift 'Maya Maya' and Zlatan's swaggering verse completes a strong run of three tracks that serve as a reward for enduring a monotonous run only punctuated by Blaqbonez's 'Showcase'.

While being able to predict the sonic direction of an artist doesn't reduce the quality of the work nor its gratification, this is only true when artists find creative ways to apply themselves to elevate the familiar to higher and distinctive standards. Young Jonn failed to do this on his debut LP.

On 'Jiggy Forever,' Young Jonn crafts songs that while enjoyable as a unit are too formulaic to form a compelling listening experience across 16 tracks. Although the album shows the making of a bonafide Afrobeats hitmaker it doesn't make for an industrious project.

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Ratings: /10

• 0-1.9: Flop

• 2.0-3.9: Near fall

• 4.0-5.9: Average

• 6.0-7.9: Victory

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• 8.0-10: Champion

Pulse Rating: /10

Album Sequencing: 1.5/2

Songwriting, Themes, and Delivery: 1.3/2

Production: 1.4/2

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Enjoyability and Satisfaction: 1.3/2

Execution: 1.4/2

TOTAL - 6.9

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