A few years ago, a group led by a LatinX-looking singer burst onto the scene in Nigeria with a song titled, 'Jika.' It was an Afro-house number that sunk into the hearts of people for the colorful dance routines in its video. Before then, their singles, 'These Streets' and 'Heaven Sent' were big on MTVBase and other channels.
These days, they are big enough to title their album after their current stance in life. Released on Friday, July 3, 2020, We Made It is a commentary on where the three-man group of Dr. Duda, J'Something and Mo-T currently stand. The album still has high appeal to the emotions and has that Mi Casa sonic stamp - lo-fi Afro-house.
We Made It might seem like a happy album, but it's not entirely happy. Instead, it's an album that represents the emotional realities of humanity as they relate to love. Sometimes it's good, sometimes it's bad. The album captures trouble in paradise and paradise in trouble on a glorious journey to ‘Sweet Wine’ and bliss. Essentially, this is an R&B album stuck in Afro-house.
Opening the album is 'Sober,' an Afro-house track defined by deft drum arrangements and a distinct horn as J'Something assumes the body of a man in a turbulent relationship. Although amorous, worries get drowned in alcohol and it impacts communication. Yet, the man fights for the woman.
'Obsessed' is one of the songs that people took to the virtual listening session for this album. With a more Afro-house hue on a more uptempo beat, the beat is dominated by wonderful trumpet sessions as J'Something once again sings about a turbulent relationship, eerily driven by obsession and lacking realistic possibilities.
'How Could You' is this writer's favourite song on this album. Featuring Rouge, the Emcee rapper perfectly compliments J'Something, whose delivery perfectly captures his character's emotions as he sounds lonely. Rouge feels like a needed presence and Those guitars makes this song feel like a Mike Shinoda-produced song.
'Love Everything About You' feels like 90's R&B/Pop suited to the opening scenes of an urban romantic comedy featuring Vivica Fox and Larenz Tate. With shakes, hi-hats and stick drums from early 2000s R&B, the song is a declaration of love from a distance - possibly as an aftermath of ‘How Could You.’
“J’Something ain’t nothing without his babe…” is quality songwriting. ‘Church Bells’ resumes the Afro-house syntro on wedding-themed music. As weirdly appealing as the song is, it’s too long at five minutes. Those chants are pleasing, but something about this song was off before the trumpets appeared to save the day - not entirely.
‘Sweet Wine’ suited to a dance routine at the wedding reception - the cadence of the main chord is so amazing. Now that the troubles of love are over, this love seems to be dripping with metaphoric sweet wine - hmmmm tasty… Sex on sweet wine is a funny proposition though, something scary will happen… ah. The guitar solo is majestic.
‘Eve’ is a symbolic story that borrows from the biblical story of Adam, Eve, the apple and the serpent as a story of envy, pleasure, pain and slavery. While this is the most impressive bit of creative songwriting on this album, its placement on this album seems off. Topically, it’s a flow interruptor and it should have been the penultimate track on this project - it breaks the amorous flow for a philosophical song.
‘Banza & Patsy’ resumes the amorous flow with a swashbuckling chamber music that collides horns, organs and choir samples into legatos, staccatos and strums. One would be forgiven for imagining a wedding scene to this song.
‘Mamela’ feels like the honeymoon phase of the journey we’ve witnessed so far. In English, ‘Mamela’ means obey and it could be J’Something’s character telling his love to believe his will to get away with her. ‘Chucks’ is a happy song about wishes upon the inevitability of death.
It uses ‘Chucks,’ the classic sneakers as a platform for itself. J’Something sings, “When I die, I want my chucks on…” But curiously, what J’Something is told by the preacher that he lives for is at the mercy of a listener. Is it the love he’s sung about till now? Is it something else?
If it’s the former, this song is well-placed. If it’s the latter, this song should have been the final song on this album after ‘Eve.’ It’s another flow disruptor. ‘Mr. Loverman’ is an amazing Afro-soul track that should have been the second track on this album with its declaration of a man’s weakness - beautiful women.
‘Home Alone’ features Aka and Nasty C is a pop song that speaks the mind of a sprung man - he can’t even live without his woman. From a strategy standpoint, this song will win on streaming platforms with AKA and Nasty C on one song. ‘One Day’ seems like a perfect album opener.
Great tracklisting combines sonic cohesion with topical cohesion - linear storytelling. Usually, A&Rs focus on the former because the music travels through the sound and it can be enough. But from a creative standpoint, when an album dares greatness like We Made It does, it requires an attempt at all-round perfection.
From a production standpoint, this album is amazing. The use of horns and organs presents Mi Casa as scarily music-savvy. They’re so good, they take the initiative to show-off on ‘Banza & Pasty.’ However, the topical cohesion is where this album falls short - from a creative perfection standpoint that this album deserves.
Songs like ‘One Day,’ ‘Mr. Loverman,’ ‘Eve’ and ‘Chucks’ are wrongly positioned - as highlighted in this song appraisal. With the alterations of ‘One Day’ as intro, ‘Mr. Loverman’ as track two and ‘Eve’ and ‘Chucks’ as penultimate and final tracks respectively, this album would have told a story of a man with a soft spot for beautiful women who then meets his match.
They then fall in love, hit rough patches, get married, live together as man and wife, hit rough patches of life (Eve) and then hit the inevitability of death (Chucks).
• 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, Songwriting & Delivery: 1.9/2
Enjoyability and Satisfaction: 1.7/2
8.5 - Champion