Over the past nine years, no artist has created on his own terms more than Jesse Garba Abaga. He can never be coerced and neither can he be 'tensioned.' He has mastered the art of merging the allure of a niche artist with a cult following with the nous and exposure of a mainstream artist.
He gives off the aura that neither money nor acclaim is a motivation for him and that the music is past-time activity that he treats only matters as an alternative to a conflicted mind. If he cared about money and acclaim, Jagz wouldn't have left Lagos for Jos, Plateau State.
No words better exemplifies Jesse Jagz like the one from Excel Joab of Boombuzz Nigeria, "Being Jesse Jagz means being able to make the kind of music you want to make." In truth, that's all he's done. His fans are like the hungry Isrealites on the way to Canaan and his music is manna. Well, you can infer the rest... I never said it.
With the EP titled, Garba - after his traditional name - Jesse Jagz offers us a part of himself and the things he holds dear in five tracks and 25 minutes. Sometimes, he hails his older brother MI Abaga. Other times, it's about his father and mother. One time it's about his past girlfriends. Most times, he eulogizes his city, Jos with envious affection that seeps through in small doses.
The tales of Garba are introduced to 'G' and agitated spoken word from Anchorman - a tale of the eerie nature and the agony of legacy. Possibly, this is Jesse Jagz decrying his father's mistakes as a parent. With assonance and multi-syllabic rhymes, Jesse Jagz raps with agony and pain in his vocal steps.
With his honesty, he links his personal issues with growing up without a father. He then discusses his unfinished degree before hailing his mother and his older brother, MI Abaga. While J-Town gets a lot of love, Jagz also describes the moment he found his determination to succeed in 2004.
'A' is built on a suspense theme. "I'm J-Town's John Lennon..." pretty much sums up a song on which Jesse Jagz celebrates a relationship of mutual respect with his city, Jos. For context, John Lennon is from Liverpool, England and the city has never forgotten his strides with The Beatles. Liverpool's airport is also named after him.
'R' is a vain afrobeat song laced with self-adulation. If this wasn't an EP, I might have mistaken the music for owambe music in Akure. 'B' is the lead single for this EP on which Jagz likens life to a boomerang as he discusses his relationship with girls.
'A' is an Afro-swing song that sees Jagz take a pessimistic view like a driver on his solitary strain. He speaks of women who decry love and seems to accept that reality.
Garba beautifully sells Jagz's tales with natural honesty and storytelling. It also excels on production. However, there's a vacuum between this EP and what could be deemed top quality. This is because Jagz seemingly let Garba be about lyrical brilliance and storytelling than an out-of-body sonic experience.
At 25 minutes, Garba is also ever-so-slightly longer than it should be.
• 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: 1.5/2
Enjoyability and Satisfaction: 1.0/2
6.8 - Victory