Earlier today, this writer had a conversation with Davolee. The honesty his installments of 'Festival Bar' conveys is his true life. His heart is forever on his sleeves and his depths of pain can be felt in his voice. His life is the textbook representation of life of an underground artist in inner-city Lagos.
Between the moment Davolee dropped the first 'Festival Bar' installment in 2017 and now, he has grown to be revered as one of the best storytellers in Nigerian Hip-Hop. The franchise has also grown to have its own cult following from Nigerians across demographics because of its intrigue, imagery and detail.
Another factor for the attention it gets is about the resonance of the story. Nigeria is a society where life in the struggle is the reality for most people, after all. But while everyone has seen struggle, most people have not seen struggle like Davolee.
Festival Bar EP houses the first two installments and two new installments on which Davolee continues his empathetic story towards desired success. While his tone was slightly energetic on Festival Bar I and got needy on Festival Bar II, the tone on the latest two installments suggest a lack of vim and vigour.
When you listen to Festival Bar III and IV, you will understand that some of that loss of energy is warranted. Hence, this is a short film of Davolee's true story (as Segun) in four acts.
ALSO READ: Festival Bar I vs. Festival Bar II (Rodo)
In a previous article, this writer describes Festival Bar I as, "The 2017 lo-fi, drum-heavy, bass-rich trap beat laced with a the story of inner-city lifestyle and majorly, the topic of deceit and greed.
"Festival Bar is a local pub where Davolee's character named Segun used to work as a bar man. The bar is owned by a White man married to a Nigerian woman named Mama G.
"In front of the bar is a shop owned by Mama G. In addition to his bar responsibilities, Segun (Davolee's character in the song), also goes to Mama G's shop that is managed by a sales girl named Salewa, a deceitful person.
"Salewa hikes prices on everything, and reject Segun's counsel to stop doing such. She sees the money she makes from her deceit as a way to maintain herself. It all comes to a head when Salewa sold Don Simon a regular customer for NGN1,000 - it ordinarily sells for NGN600.
"She was new, so she didn't realize who she sold to was a regular customer who then protested so much that Mama G had to intervene. In the end, she chastises Salewa, but ends up blaming Segun for teaching an already corrupt Salewa bad habits of deceit. The song ends with Segun rejecting such claims of deceit as an 'igboro boy.'"
Festival Bar 2 sees, "A newly jobless Segun go back to the hood with his life was headed nowhere, and with limited life prospects. Fearing for his future, his family members tried to help him find his path shut his football dreams down.
"With little money to fund an education, and an unwillingness to go into a life of crime, Segun took to working with with constructions company. When he realized that hustle was not going to fund his big dreams, he left it.
"His parents started criticizing his life choices. Frustration became anger as he couldn't find employment. So, Segun started lashing out, fighting and breaking bottles in the streets. About seven months later, Segun got a job at Aqua Dana where he was earning N17,500.
"The money was insufficient to fund his feeding, transportation and music career so he started doing a little 'Dine and dash' at Iya Nafi's place - he also introduced his friends to the madness. A little later, he quit Aqua Dana after having issues with his tyrannical boss, Mr. Tony.
"Instead of apologizing, he left defiantly due to his ego. He then became a motor boy before he got sick. All this while, he was dropping freestyles on his Instragram page, but didn't realize Olamide Badoo was watching.
"This version ends with Davolee promising to tell the story of his short affiliation with YBNL Nation on the next 'Festival Bar.' Segun is still dreaming... Big"
Now, Segun is growing into music capitalism as he delivers a rallying cry for better streaming numbers to his fans. He also throws it way back with a boom bap beat. The story begins with Segun's attempts to live the Nigerian dream in a western colony. This dream was aided by his older brother who is based in the US.
Suddenly, his visa application got denied. With a resolution never to be a 'motor boy' again while also nursing the consequences of bad employee conduct somewhere else. He was back home without a job when a freestyle session gave him the jolt to record another another freestyle for Instagram - this continued for 62 straight days with terrible responses.
With depression creeping closer, BaseOne gave him an ear. Soon after, he got on Hennessy VS Class for 2016. From 3,000 people, 10 of them were picked only for Segun to be get cut at the final stage. With heads sparing with downward dogs, Olamide who was at the venue of his eviction sent him a message - he had been watching those freestyles that Segun thought nobody was watching.
Segun then got to freestyle for Olamide but his hunger made him stutter. This was 2016. Segun joined YBNL for a bit, but then he got depressed.
What came next was alcoholism and smoking because the hustle didn't yield desired results. One day at the club, Segun got repeatedly hailed by the hypeman. He got a little jolt, left the club and went to record 'Way' - a 2019 single. This act also brings into perspective the unwarranted harsh criticism he got after leaving YBNL.
Fasting and self-doubt then became his reality. He then replied his critics, "Don't say what you don't know, just shut the f*ck up..." before narrating why he had to leave YBNL because he thought it was the wrong move. He hated the one-by-one policy of the label. Nonetheless, Segun refuses to criticize Olamide.
There is nothing to criticize or even grade. This is a movie that's not at an end yet. Nonetheless, Davolee has one of the most refreshing techniques and flow schemes in Nigerian Hip-Hop. When his delivery inevitably becomes elite, he will also become elite. Currently, he's closer to being top-level than he is to B3 level.
His vocal texture is also perfectly suited to rap. It helps Davolee convey his passion and the hard hue that Hip-Hop heads love. The oft-underrated part of Davolee's artistry is his use of metaphors and wordplays. The only thing this writer hopes for is success for this talented rapper.