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'Pioneers' by DR Lasgidi is a delayed plate of delicious meishai noodles

Through the four producers that worked on this album and the varying genres and sub-genres of music, the greatest victory on Pioneers is that sonic cohesion.

'Pioneers' is a 12 track album [Instagram/DRBLasgidi]

Word around the block is that BOJ who has since released on solo project and two Make E No Cause Fight editions coined the word, 'alte' and everything it has grown to mean. On May 1, 2020, the group dropped its long-awaited album, Pioneers. 'Necessary,' the lead single to the album had been released months earlier.

Another single, 'Shomo' was released just weeks before the album dropped - it features Olamide. The most noticeable creative backdrop to this album is the switched sonic direction. Some songs on the album were produced by Pheelz and a single was released with Olamide.

While BOJ has long been on the fringes of the Nigerian mainstream with a devoted female fanbase, this was the first time that DRB Lasgidi had launched a visible effort at mainstream appeal. During their appearance on Loose Talk Podcast, DRB Lasgidi alluded to how they'd been exploring other genres of music and this is evidence of their ambition.

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Some tracks on the album still possess the recognizable 'alte' feel, but even those tracks are significantly built on elements of Nigerian mainstream pop. BOJ had long carved a niche for himself, but Fresh L needs this album the most - for a long time, a lot of Nigerian listeners including this writer had questioned his music-making capabilities.

While he was not exactly mindblowing on Pioneers, he did himself proud and was impressive throughout. When push comes to shove, he can always refer people to his performance on this album. Teezee is probably more of a Diddy - a businessman - than an artist, but he also did some impressive things on Pioneers. At the end of the day, Pioneers is the Nigerian best album that dropped on May 1, 2020.

The 35-minute experience of Pioneers opens to the Pheelz-produced afrobeat number, 'Softly.' Those adlibs are as tasty as they are hilarious. Fresh L, Tec would be proud of you. "Put it on the work, be like say na day shift..." is a good line. While the beat feels cut from something Fela would be proud of with a heartbeat of weird alte minimalist sounds, it also sounds like Palmwine Music.

'Ma Pariwo' features Lady Donli and the heart of it is the topic of exciting, mindblowing sex - it's just weird to listen to men sing about sex to me... sighs. Yo, someone tell Ajebutter22 to arrest Teezee for impersonation. Lady Donli does herself justice even though the choice to pick her for this song is questionable. 'Ma Pariwo' is Yoruba for 'Don't Shout.'

Wait, don't get your nickers in a twist - it's not a problematic situation, it's an allusion to the ecstasy of sex. Breathe, amigo... Breathe. 'Kasala' is such a beautiful R&B song and PrettyBoy D-O, take a bow for that hook. 'Kasala' is a Nigerian colloquialism for 'Wahala.' Oh snap, that's another Nigerian colloquialism. 'Kasala' means 'Fracas.'

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'Kasala' is then a hyperbole that aims to 'hype' a woman's body and sexuality. Perhaps, she's waterfalls all day... Whoop. That ebola line by Teezee is wild, but Fresh L, two kids bro? Okay. 'Salty' is a trap song that features Santi and Maison2500. It's another love-sex song and it fits well into the entire zeitgeist of this album.

It's a sonic delight, some of its lyrics are discernible but the entire song is a lyrical snooze-fest. We move. 'Set It Off' rescues Pioneers from the train tracks... Yes, a train was close by. Those guitar chords are beautiful and so are those piano chords. "Don't depress my mumu button..." is such a wild line. It's a soft love song that's positively ambitious about exclusivity.

'Trouble' could have been a single. Tems aces this hook. The beat seems like a mix of Kwaito and slowed down Afro-House. Tems sings from the perspective of a problematic woman while Fresh L plays a man who sees the flaws, yet still craves the woman. He starts his rap with, "You're troublesome, please give me some..."

'I Swear' is another trap song with the scatterbrained soul of vanity that trap songs possess. It's a good song with beautiful sung-rapped hook by WANI - the 'God forbid' guy. The GMK-produced 'Based' is a hammer built 'On Kpa.' The song features a creative use of narratives.

It's like the sonic manifestation of that Nigerian prayer, "Nigeria is hard, but God, let Nigeria be easy for me..." On 'Based,' Fresh L, BOJ and Teezee are living the good life through the hardship and strife of some. 'Necessary' was a jam when it dropped as it is still a jam now. A trap bop that features psychedelic strings, it is a song about necessity and a warm embrace of materialism by any means.

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'Shomo' is a terrible song and waste of space - simple. 'Next Gen' feels like a Fresh L song, but it's a different brand of Afro-Fusion that was birthed with Burna Boy, but flourished with alte.

Somebody say, 'VIVENDI SOUND! SOUND! SOUND!' Okay, that was weird, but we digress. 'The Game' is a weird attempt at opulent talk on a pop beat. That was quite something... weird.

Pioneers sounds like something that had been in the production phase for a long time. There's also a synergy between the three members of DRB Lasgidi. Look, BOJ would complement anybody - even Speed Darlington - but the way Fresh L and Teezee as well as other features performed is something commendable.

It's hard to get two or more people on one song. It's harder to get three people to contribute to one album, especially when those three people are in different head-spaces in their lives. Asides that, through the four producers that worked on this album and the varying genres and sub-genres of music, the greatest victory on Pioneers is that sonic cohesion.

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It feels like flying first class without turbulence. That said, 'Shomo' was a terrible idea, a mismatch and an all-round disaster. There are ways to explore your mainstream tendencies without going from earth to Mars aboard an Alaba-made spaceship. Just... no. BOJ is the bridge god of Nigerian music though.

Pioneers came later than anticipated, but better late than never, right? Moreover, it's a good album.

Ratings: /10

• 0-1.9: Flop

• 2.0-3.9: Near fall

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• 4.0-5.9: Average

• 6.0-7.9: Victory

• 8.0-10: Champion

Pulse Rating: /10

Tracklist and Sequencing: 1.5/2

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Content, Themes, Delivery: 1.5/2

Production: 1.5/2

Enjoyability and Satisfaction: 1.4/2

Execution: 1.4/2

Total:

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7.3 - Victory

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