He might be abroad, but Daramola is one of Nigeria’s premier R&B acts. Not only are his songs always sprung from honesty, his countertenor voice will keep you glued.
Dove Award winning-Daramola is the producer of The Social Club Misfits which is signed to Capitol Records. He is also a member of talent incubator, Neon16. Before he blew, he was a producer for Andy Mineo, Lecrae and Brisco.
The son of Nigerian gospel singer, Gbenga Olaleye who sang the legendary Christian tune, ‘Leta Ayo,’ he is based in Miami, Florida, US. Word also has it that Daramola recently got married. The 11-track It's a Double Pleasure to Deceive the Deceiver was released on August 23, 2019.
The album is a follow-up to critically-acclaimed 2017 album, The Last Time I Tried. On the album is the masterful title track, ‘TLTIT.’
On The Last Time I Tried, the singer was more empirical with his views on life, women, love, doubt and prayers. He also dealt with troubles and imperfections in love. In 2017, “Girls in Miami, they all have a thing in common, they all like to swim,” became a recognizable feature of Daramola’s lyrics.
On his new album, Daramola discusses getting over addictive negativity, (dysfunctional) love, recklessness in love, detraction, doubt and growth. As he is known for, Daramola also hugs his Christian faith on some songs.
While the first album involves brooding about mixed emotions that ordinarily dominate the average life, it mostly talked about other people. This second album is mostly about Daramola himself. He doesn’t brood, instead Daramola accepts and takes responsibility for imperfections. Then, he grows.
The first track, ‘9 & Berlin’ is a dynamic execution of detailed songwriting on smooth production. The song is also like a manifesto of all the topics and emotional rollercoaster Daramola is about to put his listeners through. There’s also that Weeknd effect on 1:56.
The song sees Daramola accept responsibility for dysfunction as he talks about opposition, addiction and then about his aspirations and doubts. His Genius profile says this song is inspired by the movie, Atomic Blonde. Hence, the Berlin references. His mother, Gbemi OIaleye’s 1992 record, ‘It’s going to be okay’ is also sampled.
What comes next is one of the greatest segues in history. The transition from somber ‘9 & Berlin’ to pop-tinged trap vibes of ‘Heartbreak Please’ is effortless. In line with the manifesto on ‘9 & Berlin,’ Daramola is love struck on ‘Heartbreak Please.’
His lover has apparently been through a terrible love affair. He makes promises to her and he's eager to make her feel safe and cherished.
‘D.M.W.T’ (Don’t Waster My Time) features Karen Inder - Daramola's wife - and Daneon. It is a dancehall track that sees Daramola as the serious lover dealing with a seeming unresponsive lover who is reluctant to reciprocate his love. Daramola craves clarity on where he stands as he sings, “Love goes both ways.”
Karen Inder sings in Spanish from the female perspective, “Baby boy don’t waste my time.” This time, she is the one with the unresponsive man - It balances the perspective. With the transition, we experienced between tracks one and two, track three might not have been suitable to follow track two. We went from somber melody to fast pace, and from lovey dovey to nonreciprocal love.
But then, ‘Bring Me Down’ topically validates ‘D.W.M.T.’ Where the latter deals with an unresponsive lover, ‘Bring Me Down’ sees Daramola's character giving up on love. He sings, “But these days it's so hard to give my love to you…”
Daramola is too immersed, he begs his lover not to bring him down. But even with the issues, Daramola admits that he’s still in love with this unnamed female. As he gets through the love, he thanks God.
‘Lagos City Wave’ was released in 2017 and documents Daramola’s journey from Lagos to Miami. The underlying strings remind one of Noah Shebib’s woozy cloud-esque strings, while being backed by thumping trap drums. The song also about talks a unique, real time lover that makes Daramola feel at home.
Presumably, this girl is Karen Inder, Daramola's wife. He says she moved to Miami in two years prior - 2015.
Produced by Ace Harris, ‘Joseph’ is an afrobeats song that talks about a love that requires distance. One understands that Daramola needs radio-worthy song, but ‘Joseph’ shouldn’t have made this project. The aim for a radio song is achieved with the next track, ‘Fiyah,’ anyways - a better fit for the overall sonic direction of this album more than ‘Joseph’ does.
The choral trumpets also make sense. Daramola kind of pulls off the latin sound he wants. Props for detail with the mention of “pesos.”
After ‘Traffic (Remix),’ ‘Satisfied’ marks the second collaboration between Nonso Amadi and Daramola. Nonso is a man fighting for love that is seemingly drifting away. He fights for the love and implores his lover to aid him. Nigerian men taking responsibility, this is new and refreshing.
Daramola is in a slightly different boat. The love is still intact, but he craves to know if his lover is satisfied.
‘Fashion Lover’ is synth-pop track that appreciates healthy love. ‘New Drugs’ brings us back to the trap & B vibes. While it is unclear whether Daramola is literally talking about drugs or whether he uses drugs as a metaphor for how addictive women are, one thing is sure, Daramola is talking about change.
At the end, Daramola does drops a sample that says, “Weed is for Jealousy, Lean is for Greed, Coke is for Envy. We are what we eat.” This could mean Daramola is talking about being done with negativity. But what matters is that he is no longer addicted to these 'drugs,' and has hugged Jesus, his virtue.
The final track ‘Don’t Be Mad At Me’ is one of the best tracks on It’s Double Pleasure To Deceive The Deceiver. It is a sentimental ballad that centres on Daramola’s ideal woman. He wants to be with her forever.
The album’s title is slightly difficult to fathom, but this writer wagers that with this title, Daramola takes a dig at all the attractiveness of negative things that hamper people.
Throughout the album, Daramola is an overcomer that either wholly rejects certain pitfalls or is keen to prevent these pitfalls from becoming existent in the first place. He takes power and deceives them.
Finally, on ‘New Drugs,’ he overcomes them all and hugs a new drug; Jesus. The album is a variety of topics that many-a-youth and young adults deal with. In the end, this album is a tale of victory in life, in love and in spirit - the problems are deceived.
Sometimes, the album also seems to be a diary of Daramola's relationship with Karen Inder - from lovers to marriage.
The track list is almost perfect, but the presence of ‘D.M.W.T’ is slightly problematic. It doesn’t fit in either sonically or topically.
• 0-1.9: Flop
• 2.0-3.9: Near fall
• 4.0-5.9: Average
• 6.0-7.9: Victory
• 8.0-10: Champion
Pulse Rating: /10
Content and Themes: 1.7/2
Enjoyability and Satisfaction: 1.7/2
8.0 - Victory