On Friday, June 22, Ekenedilichukwu Ijemba, popularly known as Humblesmith released his debut album, Osinachi.
It is almost easy to forget that the singer who made his music debut in 2014 and hit the limelight a year later following the loud bang that accompanied the release of his single Osinachi which featured Phyno and earned him a remix with Davido is yet to release his debut album.
But four years down the line and Humblesmith, the young artist who made the trip from Abakaliki down to Lagos in search of greener pastures has found his voice and matured into the man on the center stage.
So with the success of Osinachi, which means 'From God', it is only right that he turned a hot song into a hot project and that is exactly what he aimed at on his debut offering.
Previously released singles like Focus, Abakaliki 2 Lasgidi feat Olamide and with Flavour make their way on the 22 track project, which is packed with songs that showcases a rich mix of high-life with the infusion of other styles of music.
The album opens with ''Be There'', a love song that reminds you of a Sunday School rhyme, the high-life feel provided by Tiwezi makes this a really solid listen, not what I expected but turned out to be a smooth opening welcome.
The album is sensibly arranged to allow Humblesmith shine time, while also giving room for guest features to add some variety to the sound, as after a couple of individual songs, there is a sequence of featured acts on the next set of tracks.
Attracta, a song that had been long recorded but now officially released with Tiwa Savage is one that stands out as the love collaboration actually pans out well and this could grow into a truly memorable anthem and did I mention that the rhythm on this is all shades of sick.
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Humblesmith credits his industry success to Davido jumping on the remix of his hit single, Osinachi and it is no surprise that he borrows the O.B.O for another attempt at a ground breaking record on Mama Africa, but the result is a tad disappointing as it breathes off Davido's Aye.
The Zeeno Foster continuous tag at the end of every song is already getting to an annoying level at this point.
Rudeboy joins the list of featured acts on Report My Case while Sugar is another cut where Patoranking shows just why he is one special talent, with Onyeoma delivering another truly vibey tune.
Across the album, Humblesmith borrows not just inspiration but lines from classic songs, exposing a lack of range and diversity, as his heavy reliance on a single genre limits the project.
‘Arabanko’ is a song that you have probably heard before on every other project by an artist from the East, while ‘Shakara’ infuses a fair dose of Afrobeat as he highlights the statistics of his dream woman.
'I Feel Good' is the fulfilment anthem where he declares being content at the level he has attained, but on 'Jehovah', he is giving thanks to God alongside Phyno, as hetells a story of his coming to Lagos, but this is more patronizing than artistically solid, especially with the corny ''Jingle Bell'' sample at the start of the song.
''If You Love Me'' with Harrysong taps into the trending, ''Keep looking sexy for me'' exchange between Wizkid and Tiwa Savage, as Harrysong delivers a below-par verse.
Papilo infuses a bit of French language, with the dance themed songs, 'Fine Baby' and 'Makossa' failing to leave an impression.
'Sunny' is one really sweet tune that possesses the praise singing delight of the typical grassroot song but however continues his repetitive tale of becoming a 'big man'.
Humblesmith’s lyrics on this album are very bare and ordinary, the simplicity gives no room for mysteries or discarding of layers as what you hear once is exactly what it is.
His strength however lies in his melodies and rhythm, as he carries the Eastern flag proudly and one can also tell that he is a lover of ladies, who never tires to remind you of his journey with the prevailing flash of pseudo-gospel songs.
Most times Humblesmith’s album sounds way too repetitive and being 22 tracks long doesn't help its cause in any way.
In all, the album is in no way a ground-breaking debut, nor one that will create a ripple in the type of music presently in circulation but it does parade a number of encouraging moments that makes his debut body of work worth listening to.
1-Dull2-Boring2.5-Average3-Worth Checking Out3.5-Hot4-Smoking Hot4.5-Amazing5-Perfection