Blaqbonez shows promise with 'Mr. Boombastic' experiment [EP Review]
With 'Mr. Boombastic,' Blaqbonez establishes that he has no artistic ceiling.
He was articulate, thoughtful and calm. He picked his words carefully, and when it came time to discuss similarities of his then-new song, 'Shut Up' with Prettyboy D-O's sound, he rightly claims art should inspire art. He also didn't deny being inspired by Prettyboy D-O. He claims that Mr. Boombastic is an alter ego.
But there's more to him. Unknown to many, he's been grinding for a minute.
From near-all Hip-Hop shows and competitions to mixtapes and project upon project, his ability to make music always stood out. While writing an article a few weeks ago, this writer remembered his 2016 single, 'Rambo (Remix).' It was the well-produced trab bop that featured Vector and Dremo. He got a reminder of how Blaqbonez had been making good music for a minute.
As good a rapper as he was then, what really impressed most people was his palpable ability to make music - not just rap. This then became clearer on his acclaimed mixtape, Last Time Under which became a reference point for Blaqbonez's identity. Then, he signed to 100 Crowns/Chocolate City. This period also coincided with his exploratory tendencies.
He wasn't just taking risks with his music, he also incorporated his naturally goofy tendencies into the public persona. This helped promote him on social media platform, Twitter. It also endeared him towards younger millennials and generation zers. Those who were attracted have slowly become fans of his music.
Then came the 2018 album, Bad Boy Blaq. While it might have performed well on streaming platforms, it was a weak album that was only slightly aided by its Re-Up, which dropped a few months later - January 2019. At the listening party for Bad Boy Blaq, Blaqbonez's modus operandi became clear when he said, "I don rap. See, I don rap..."
He wanted to be more commercially viable. That move was clear with the album, but the songs were very much below its intended commercial impact. Still, he kept grinding and exploring his artistic ceiling. Over the past 18 months, it's become clear to this writer that Blaqbonez is one of the few Nigerian artists without an artistic ceiling - he could be anything he wants.
If Bad Boy Blaq was a weak attempt as artistic evolution, Mr. Boombastic EP is likely to be his actual moment. Although Mr. Boombastic falls slightly short of excellence, it is still a commendable effort. While this writer found some holes at the first listen, he found those holes being patched by the second and third listen.
He might not get that genuine hit from this EP, but the genuine hit now seems closer than ever. It might even come from Mr. Boombastic EP depending on marketing and strategy. The EP is seven good songs. Interestingly, he achieves this while retaining the cadences and delivery of his Hip-Hop background on beats that also help convey that mould.
A lot of people keep likening this EP to Prettyboy D-O's 2018 album, Everything Pretty and they have an incredible point. However, the production on Mr. Boombastic is more rounded and better evolved than that on Everything Pretty. For example, 'Boombastic' which features Falz is a tweaked up afrobeat song. Did anybody hear the guitar riffs on the hook?
It's like putting Fela's 'Zombie' on a percussion produced by Young John. 'Run My Race' might not be a single, but it is definitely the best song on this EP. On an afro-dance beat with a bachata dash, Blaqbonez is bullish, introspective and vindictive. He drags haters, talks about the pressures of his burgeoning fame and appraises himself in one fell swoop.
'Shut Up' is a good song with a dope beat. It is the vindictive anthem for Blaq's 'haters.' The Chillz-produced 'Magic' features the elusive BlackMagic. It is a love/'wash' song directed at an unnamed woman whom Blaqbonez supposedly loves. He thinks she is 'Magic.' Hmmm...
BlackMagic delivers like Blackmagic does. He raps in his typically laid-back baritone about a woman and mixes 'wash' with a killer basketball metaphor about shooting your shot. As good as 'Magic' is, 'Come For You' surpasses it. The underlying bass riffs with the drum arrangement mixed with that looped vocal sample make an incredible hook.
'God When' is a good song, but the 'God When' titling is corny and it seems forced. In a way, it seems an afterthought, than an inspiration for the song. Tempoe did good by finding an 90's R&B hue to this beat. Topically, Blaq is a knight in shining armour for a damsel in distress.
'Promo' is an R&B song with an alte soul. Can someone tell me why the rap right at the end was cut? It better start the next project.
Blaqbonez wants to make it and he does everything humanly possible to make it happen. Making it to the mainstream as a rapper in Nigeria is hard. You have to evolve and make music. Rappity rap is a hard-sell because Nigeria lacks a Hip-Hop soul that is sufficient to make rappers truly financially successful at rap music.
Blaqbonez knows that and he is finding a way around it. As noted earlier, he is not just pivoting, he still makes music that reflects his Hip-Hop/Rap background. Even when he sings, it's like sung-rap. The cadences are definitely a rapper's. Like this writer has noted over the years, people don't talk enough about Blaqbonez's ability to craft hooks. This meticulous approach is commendable.
There's also an air of honesty to Blaqbonez's topics on Mr. Boombastic, but he focuses excessive energy on haters when he could have talked about much more in his life.
That said, when one listens to this EP, it seems talk of Blaqbonez's 'risque' exploration of his alter ego, Mr. Boombastic was rash.
The songs are brilliant, but the satisfaction slightly wanes with the final three tracks. Those songs are still good, but they fail to match the high benchmark set by the first three tracks.
Nonetheless, Blaqbonez has established that he has no artistic ceiling. Going forward, it is left for him to become anything he wants. More importantly, he needs to market himself more on Instagram than on Twitter - a bubble and a very elitist sub-culture with little impact on the mainstream.
• 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: 1.4/2
Enjoyability and Satisfaction: 1.3/2
7.0 - Victory
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