On April 3, 2020, London-based Nigerian rapper marked the buzz he's been getting with a 5-track EP, 'Igbotic' which features BOJ and Mystro. The EP is his first since his 2017 effort, 'Son of The Soil.'
Throughout the five tracks, Ike Chuks shows that he understands the strengths and weaknesses of his act and his baritone voice. Usually, he raps like a MC with something to prove, but also with a good enough knowledge of the Nigerian soundscape that he knows when to mix it up. His bars are very relatable and his style is heartwarming.
A lot of rappers never understand when to test the limits of their vocals. It took Reminisce till 'Ponmile' to test his. Lil Wayne didn't really test his singer voice till Tha Carter IV. Commendably, Ike Chuks had planted seeds of his artistic flexibility from his first project, Son of The Soil and this writer commends him.
Igbotic opens up to Afro-Synth-pop of 'What Happened To Kate, Ike Chuks uses humour and anglo-Igbo bars to tell the story of sex. While it seems a girl called, Kate had bragged about her prowess, she ended up losing in game of 'bedmatics.' The hook and bridge of this song that this writer feels tempted to call, 'Afro-Hip-Hop' are so impressive. It's the third best song on Igbotic.
The second song 'Ego' features Mystro. 'Ego' is Igbo for money. The beat is more amped up hi-life that addresses the good life from the perspective of what triggers that good life, money. Mystro tries to salvage the song, but the beat is too fast. Slow down the beat down by 3-5 BPMs and this song would have been perfect.
'Never Been' is built on what could have been Afro&B. With the aid of slight auto-tune, Ike Chuks sings throughout this one as he adulates the body and character of a memorable but faceless woman. He also promises to, "Take your body to places you have never been before..." This song is well-written, but its beat is an issue.
'Money' features DRB Lasgidi member, BOJ. The song is amazing with its thematic base on money. It's actually problematic that two songs on one album are titled, 'Money.' Ike Chuks delivers on an impressive beat that oozes classy 'vibes.' He sung-raps his way into the echelon of musicality and BOJ - who usually has the midas touch for anything - aids his reputation. What a song.
'Money' is by far the best song on Igbotic EP, but this writer is just not sure it's a single. 'Fire' is another impressive song on which Ike Chuks shows versatility. It's also a plus that Ike Chuks already has a way with crafting hooks. While the hooks are not perfect yet, Ike Chuks does has a way with hooks and he will only get better.
This project is not perfect. It might not make Ike Chuks a superstar right away - and it doesn't look like the artist or his team thinks otherwise - but it's a step in the right direction. It shows the right things about a young artist and celebrates all his good traits including flexible artistry and an ease to switch between English and Igbo.
The important thing is what Ike Chuks and his team do with this EP and what comes after it. For now, Ike Chuks needed an EP and his team delivered a good one. Next time though, they need to select better beats.
• 0-1.9: Flop
• 2.0-3.9: Near fall
• 4.0-5.9: Average
• 6.0-7.9: Victory
• 8.0-10: Champion
6.1 - Victory