Pulse.ng’s music critic, Joey Akan, takes a an in-depth analyis of the newest gift in town – Phyno’s ‘No Guts, No Glory’ album. Sit tight people. He’s under oath to state the truth.
Artiste – Phyno
Album – No Guts No Glory
Features – Omawumi, Flavour, Runtown, M.I, Ice Prince, Efa, Olamide, P-Square, Chigurl & Stormrex
Producers – Major Bangz, Phyno, Wizzy Pro, Chopstix, Phyno & Jay Stuntz
Running Time – 01:07:17
Record Label – Sputnet/Penthauze Records (2014)
After a long wait which bordered on eternity, indigenous Nigerian rapper, Phyno, has put together what will be a testament to his efforts in revolutionizing the Nigerian rap culture, and creating a trend for our pop culture.
Phyno has always been one to make us all salivate to his music. His first major release, ‘Ghost Mode’ which featured another indigenous rap creative, Olamide, threw us all into the 9 heaven. Till date, ‘Ghost Mode’ still rocks on. It’s a song for all seasons.
The title, “No Guts, No Glory”, brings to mind the ageless art of risk taking. Phyno, edgy and urban, aptly named his LP to reflect what he has been up to since he broke even. For Phyno, music isn’t a business to approach all mellow and meek. It’s requires a hand-on approach of innovation and steel.
“If music were a bull charging towards Phyno, to wreck murderous rage on him, he wouldn’t cower. He’ll grab it by the horns (or balls), and wrestle it to the ground.”
Phyno took major risks on this album. Let’s see if they all paid off. Remember, it’s “No Guts, No Glory”.
The opening track to an album has to have all it takes to set give the listener a sense of worth. Get it wrong, and you rub off the wrong way on the listener. Phyno deeply understands this and he brings on Stormrex to aid him in a hilarious narrative of his life story on “Chibuzo”.
Alobam goes the way of the conscious music. Phyno drops an ode to his people who’ve been instrumental to his success. Every album contains this song of ‘gratitude. It usually pops up in the second half of most Nigerian LPs, but Phyno brings it on early. It’s a solo effort, but not lacking in any ingredient. You get the feeling that Drake’s Worst Behavior offered up some inspiration for this. Introduction just gets better. Guts!
P-Square gets things warm in “O Set”. It’s a catchy tune, designed to feed the clubs, and all of Nigeria’s groovy citizens. The piece de resistance in this track, is right in the chief phrase. I could see my eastern brothers make that a punchline to every short joke. Perhaps, a mindless exclamation.
Nme Nme goes down the same road. It’s a feel good song about life and enjoyment. Authe which features Flavour also provides similar lines off merriment, linking it to the trendy objectification of women. (even though there are claims that the hook might be a bite of DJ Spinall’s Gba Gbe).
Enter the familiar songs to make you hit the climax, while maintaining a safe feeling of warmth and joy. “Man Of The Year”, Ghost Mode, Multiply, and Parcel are all songs that gave Phyno the premature but deserved title of “King Of Eastern Hip hop”. Past kings have been toppled in the east., Mc Loph fell to death, and Mr. Raw’s powers have waned considerably. These songs are Phyno’s trump cards. Crown jewels to his efforts.
Chukwu Na Enye (featuring Omawumi) and Good Die Young (a tribute to his late friends) bring us down to reality, showing a human side of the maverick that Phyno is.
Nigerian artistes are wont to always include the filler songs, and Phyno fell right into that trap. Holiday, Paper Chase, Shey U Know, and Ojigi are downright bland, if not underwhelming.
Icholiya has good features, and Aju (with Olamide and Efa) brought on the indigenous diversity of which Nigeria is proud of.
The inclusion of the 3-year old “Multiply” was a stroke at throwback. Phyno really has come a long way from the English rapper that he was.
Phyno has already demonstrated that he possesses the dynamism and talent to makes songs complete alone – production, chorus, verses, bridge and even adlibs. On NGNG, he features his peers only on songs where they’ll add value, like Omawumi’s celestial performance on Chukwu na enye which elevates it from a good hi-life tune to a great candidate for ‘Prayer and Worship’ sessions in church.
Three artistes appear more than once on NGNG, they do so for understandable reasons. Phyno’s label mate Runtown is in need of all the ppublicty that Holiday and the Anamachi Versace will bring to him. The album is too lengthy. I8 songs just about nearly kills the listeners will to continue, but the good tracks which were evenly spread, attempts to make up for this.
NGNG album sure works. For a debut effort at compilation, Phyno has for the most part pressed all the right buttons. This album is way more than a compilation of songs. It’s importance far outweighs the personal benefits for Phyno. It is a testament to the emerging trend (that indigenous rappers are the cool kids on the block), in Nigerian music.
Phyno has earned our respect. Let’s wait and see if he’ll be the ‘Man of The Year.