Sknny music is another member of the current wave of talented artists that Port Harcourt, Nigeria has been producing. The young rapper released his EP, ‘YNC’ in October 2020. It showcased some of the best things about his music - his honesty, his ability to wear his heart on his sleeve for honest, resonant and relatable topics and his firm Hip-Hop background.
The beats on the project range from the Grimy, to the Trap-esque and even the Griselda-esque. All through, the music is built on stories that seem to emanate from Sknny’s life. His cadences are impressive and so is his technique. The problem is with the execution of certain songs and the fact that his talent, though immense, is still in formation.
For example, the hook on ‘No Clues’ is lyrically astute but musically, it could have been delivered better. Equally, Queen Belema could have done better for her hook on ‘Superhero.’ But Sknny’s willingness to talk about his struggle with getting admitted into an institution of higher learning and his struggles upon getting into the institution.
He also spoke about his struggles with mental illness and his frustrations. He then told a sad story about an incredibly touching story about a girl’s turbulent life on ‘Superhero.’ ‘Nomophobia’ depicts the perils of the typical internet/mobile-driven millennial/Gen Z life.
For context, Psychology Today defines Nomophobia as a growing fear in today's world—the fear of being without a mobile device, or beyond mobile phone contact. ‘Faith’ has the most amazing bit of production on this EP. It underscores Sknny’s belief in the Godhead.
In 2019, Zen was known as Lectrik and he dropped the amazing 8-track ‘Nightlife’ EP under that name. But in 2020, he changed his name because he didn’t want the stage name Lectrik to be misconstrued. Now, he’s known as Zen. On social media, you'll find him as Zen FRVR.
Under the new name and away from his day job at Tech City NG, he released a new EP titled, Bad Decisions. It’s a step away from the Emo/Alternative/Cloud Rap formation of Nightlife into a more relatable pop sound. His voice still sounds codeine drowsy, but his range shines through on expected premium production.
‘City Lights’ is a well-written RexofTheWest-produced Afro-swing record about admiration, attraction, emotional proximity and love. The guitar solo towards the end of the song is just an absolute madness. ‘Holiday’ is the Afro-fusion record which seems like meeting point of two people of the opposite sex. Zarion Uti absolutely kills this record.
‘College To Ogba’ features BZR and Dontouchrylie on a Reggae-Fusion record with woozy strings. It is an empirical take on life around College Road to Ogba, Lagos. There’s something special about Dontouchrylie. ‘Escape’ is a dedication to the Nigerian need for an escape. It is basically the Reggae-Fusion version of Joey Purp’s track of the same title.
‘Zones’ once again sees Zen on his Island vibes, as he delivers in patois about Lagos liberal counter-culture of smoking and debauchery. The production of this record shares amazing similarities with that of ‘Overdose’ by Dunnie.
The only thing to switch here is the tracklist/album sequencing
2Mak - Pandora’s Box
2Mak is a different type of rapper. While she shares certain similarities with artists like City Girls, Young Baby Tate, Doja Cat, Tierra Whack and a few new-age rappers, there’s something unique about her style and avant-garde beat selection. Sometimes, she also sounds like the Nigerian collective, Forevatired.
She’s not exactly saying anything profound on Pandora’s Box, but her style and music are infectious enough to make you click her music over and again. However for that to happen, there is one criteria; the music has to be for you. If it’s not for you, you would think the music is the worst thing since the devil disguised as the snake in the Garden of Eden.
‘Big Bourdillon Don’ is rage music, with a core dedication to Lagos and so is ‘There’s No Room’ which celebrates opulence. ‘Barcelona’ is West Coast Hip-Hop with a core dedication to Barcelona, Spain. ‘Smoothie’ might be a love song, but ‘Royal Highness’ is arguably the best song on this EP, and that featured act seals its beauty.
‘Champagne Poverty’ is an interesting and inaudible, fleeting take on fleeting wealth. However, it’s also the second most profound song on this project. She raps, “The crown might be heavy for you, but it’s perfect for me…”
‘Can I’ follows the same topical format, but the production is amazing. While ‘Therapy Session’ has some substance with its Emo production, ‘Escape’ sees 2Mak at her most vulnerable and it’s the most profound record on this project.
If 2Mak can learn to be more audible with more profound topics and better album sequencing, she would crack a lot of things.