Album -Better Late Than Never (BLTN)Artist - Yung LRecord Label - Chocolate City (2017)Duration - 68 minutes

Welcome to Yung L’s mind. Welcome to a world of Caribbean-themed party dance, shaking butts, sexy women, wild parties, and a comedown of self-reflection mostly delivered in Naija-patois.

Four years ago, Yung L had a big hit. ‘SOS’, his record produced by Chopstix introduced him to a wider pop audience. He dined out on that record, performing at many concerts and prepping himself up for the next level. That level never came.

Subsequent singles have failed to garner the attention and acceptance necessary for a pop star to be made, although he did find some success in ‘Pass the aux’, it was limited to the dance circuits of Nigeria. A new deal with Chocolate City earlier in 2017 brought some structure to his energy, and it was only a matter of time before the primary dancehall artist would put together a body of work.

“Better Late Than Never” (BLTN) announces itself late. It’s a personal triumph for the man who has served music for almost a decade. That decade is packed with stories and failed attempts to fly which Yung L precipitates on opener ‘Where you dey’.

The 19-track album contains two parts of the singer. One shows loyalty to his core influence and style from the Caribbean. His vocals – malleable and Promethean – continue to serve him all through. ‘Nina’ is a reggae syrupy serving, while the urban production of ‘Superman’ enable him to rhyme ‘tire’, ‘fire’, ‘tyre’, ‘acapella’, ‘choir’, ‘stepper’, ‘dada’, and ‘river’ together. He finds kindred spirit in R2bees on ‘Suzzy’, a classic dancehall record in which plans to cruise with his Suzzy, (“Me I wan say, tell me anything you wan dey, Monday to the Sunday, we dey vibe we dey cruise.”)

But you get a feeling that Yung L makes much his best work when he isn’t bound by the rules of dancehall. ‘Pressure’ allows space for Sarkodie to drag him to Kumasi with deep claps and ambient kicks. And he stays behind in Ghana to record ‘Migrate, one of the best cuts from the album. He stretches himself to produce sunny Highlife on ‘Anya’. While ‘Gbewa’ is the zenith of his versatility. It’s a record of House music, which knocks the stress out of your mind.

Consumed whole, BLTN thematic consistency provides an all-encompassing experience where happiness and being alive is a lifestyle, rather than a state of mind. Isn’t that what we all aspire to as a people?

Rating: 3.5/5


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