Naira Marley’s ‘Lord of Lamba’ excels for what it’s meant to be [EP Review]

For those who understand Naira Marley, they should like this EP.

See cover art, tracklist and release date for Naira Marley's 6-track EP, 'LOL.' (Instagram/NairaMarley)

It comes before MarlianFest, his concert which is set for December 30, 2019. He started the year as a quasi-hitmaker with nothing but one hit under his belt. But on a random afternoon, his life took a great turn by way of fleeting misfortune. He shone the spotlight on himself and members of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) picked him up.

During incarceration, his stock rose to sky high levels and upon getting released on bail, he went on a mad run by riding on his popularity. He didn’t just release smash hits, he became the face of a cultural movement and a President to the f ‘Marlians.’

The unspoken rules of that enclave is free-living, non-conformism to societal dictates and freewheeling culture. More importantly, you must vibe to the frenzied music of Naira Marley and never wear a belt. Of course, LOL is released to appropriately support his Detty December activities.

Is it a cash-grab? It could be. But the difference to forms of cash-grab by other Nigerian acts is that Naira Marley has had an amazing run in 2019. As much as LOL is a capitalist move to appropriately give the Marlians an experience wherever they encounter their president, it is also a necessary move to end a great year.

As he has done all year, dropping witty bars and punchlines on lamba, he has appropriately titled the EP. ‘Tingasa’ opens up the EP with gbedu. Killertunes, who annoyed you? It looks like Marley has another hit with this one. When all is said and done though, the beat feels like some Pheelz could have made.

Topically, it should be second on any list Naira Marley’s most lewd song. ‘Tesumole’ is produced by Rexxie and it’s morphing into a cultural moment. A dance routine is already in alive for the song. Lyrically, it’s a scatterbrained approach to writing. ‘Mafo’ is one of this writer’s favourite songs of 2019.

Built on an exciting drum arrangement, a dreamy appregio string and bass serve as a platform for the staccato piano chords that form its bridge and hook. Topically, it’s a call to Nigerians in diaspora. It’s also an ode to the ‘enjoyment’ that only Lagos can produce. However, Naira Marley makes an admission, you need money to get that ‘enjoyment.’

His tone ranges from assured to compassionate to the plight of Nigerians in diaspora. ‘Ishe Yen’ feels like a fusion of ‘True’ by Mayorkun and Kizz Daniel, Bobo’ by Olamide, Bolanle’ by IVD and Zlatan and ‘Yeye Boyfriend’ by Zlatan. Topically, it documents Naira Marley’s wish and ambition to succeed.

‘Oja’ is the third-best song on LOL. On it, Naira Marley prays to not get ruined by vanity. ‘Oja’ is Yoruba for all forms of vanity, but people mostly associate it with drugs. Rexxie, please don’t kill us. His production for that hook and his understanding of how to use vibrato is insane.

‘YanYanYan’ is slower like any Studio Magik beat. It’s a good song, Mayorkun does justice to the ‘vibes,’ but the song screams out for Falz, BOJ and Ajebutter22.

For what this project is meant to be, it excels. Naira Marley doesn’t take unnecessary risks. He simply makes the lamba that got him here and the lamba is actually good. For people who expect some grandiose project, they will complain.

For those who understand Naira Marley, they should like this EP. More importantly, the EP will serve its purpose and give Naira Marley an expansive list from which he can pick songs to perform.

Ratings: /10

• 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

Tracklist: 1.7/2.5

Production: 1.7/2.5

Enjoyability and Satisfaction: 2.0/2.5

Execution: 1.3/2.5

Total:

6.7 - Victory

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