In 2018, Nigerian rapper, Blaqbonez visited Pulse Nigeria just after he released his 10th body of work, 'Mr. Boombastic.' This was also in the thick of accusations leveled against him that he was 'jacking' Prettyboy D-O's style.
When asked questions on the topic, Blaqbonez said, "I don't have a problem with that... I told him that he inspires me. Before I started making progress with the Boombastic sound, I sent him music. If they say I'm trying to sound like Prettyboy D-O, that's fair... I appreciate what D-O has done, but I'm trying to recreate it in my own way."
Now, Blaqbonez might be young, but he has been around for a minute. Prettyboy D-O has also been making music for a minute, but Blaqbonez's admittance to getting inspired by D-O shows two things; the strength of his talent and brand, the attraction of his style and the depth of his talent. Prettyboy D-O is special and everybody knows that.
His brand fuses with his personality, style and artistry. While he is a blue blood, he also has the soul of shepeteri and the range to make proper lamba music. He excels either he makes music with Terry G or Santi. You might call him alte, but when you watch his energy and presence on stage, you will rethink that notion. It's called artistic density.
On June 19, 2020, he released Wildfire, his sophomore album and follow-up to critically-acclaimed debut, Everything Pretty. Your emotional response to Wildfire will depend on the time of day you play it and the mood you are in. But even in your worst mood and in your most cynical state, this album will still be a 6/10.
Wildfire is introduced to ‘Waka,’ a vindictive track with more damning languages than Drake’s equally vindictive ‘Worst Behaviour.’ Built on a dancehall sound that’s become his own, D-O enjoys his life wild delivering a giant round of expletives to his haters.
'Odeshi' is a Nigerian colloquialism for 'Invincible.' A song about turning bad energy into a boomerang sees D-O embody everything that makes him Nigerian. While ‘Waka’ is more damning, ‘Odeshi’ is still vindictive but in a more relaxed tone. Tim Lyre delivers one of the most creative and best verses of 2020 in Nigeria.
‘Odeshi’ is also a showcase of D-O’s range as he raps and crafts an amazing hook. ‘Mentally’ brings us back down to earth with amorous tunes on a dancehall beat - this is the kind of song that requires a video with a club scene. WANI - ‘the god forbid guy’ doesn’t perform badly, but he doesn’t stand out either. Wildfire is proving a case of quality hooks so far.
The soft D-O didn’t have ‘the surface’ for too long before D-O’s verse of ‘The Beast’ surfaced again. On Afro-pop, he once again engages in a staredown with his haters and detractors. “Na the same energy wey you give to me, make you keep am now, when you see me…” is a quotable.
‘Bulala’ is usually Nigerianism for ‘cane’ or ‘flogging.’ But due to the perception of sex from the average Nigerian, ‘Bulala’ is a symbolism for sex. While D-O is more aggressive in his masculine haze of pheromones, Solana is softer and this gives the track balance.
Something about the beat for ‘Bulala’ screams incomplete though - like a melody is missing somewhere. But D-O’s rap at the end is beautiful - the medley of trap/R&B/dancehall is worthy of plaudits too. ‘Bulala’ might have been better as a track four though, while ‘Same Energy’ becomes track five. This would have aided the experience.
‘Wetin You Smoke’ has a beautiful intro by D-O as he joins Olamide in a celebration of hedonism. The beat is very risque, but Olamide remains the master of hooks who delivers once again. ‘Reality’ is the most honest track on this album and it sees D-O discuss the unsavoury and savoury parts of his journey - from growing up in Port Harcourt, to living in Osapa London.
‘Dey Go Hear Wehh’ sees D-O back on his vindictive vibe with more aggression. It seems like the build-up from the opening two tracks and on ‘Same Energy’ peaked here with subtle threats of violence. The Port Harcourt men will always Harcourt - just pretend you understand the statement, don’t stress me dear.
D-O's depth of talent is a unique blend of delivery in rap, sung-rap and ragga that makes him unique. Even when he makes slower, more methodical music, he can't help but churn out doses of highly-charged energy. Thus, Wildfire is a defibrillator of sorts - a potpourri of jolts and experiments from an artist slowly making his way to maturation.
He's not quite there yet and that's why songs like 'Bulala' and 'Wetin You Smoke' might have weaknesses in their production and overall sound despite their potential. But then, those songs still can't help but make an impression. What D-O currently lacks is an extra round of sonic and stylistic experimentation, but this time with better A&R that knows exactly what he needs.
When D-O becomes fully formed, he will become what an OG describes as, "The hybrid of D'Banj, Burna Boy and Durella. Women love him, but he doesn’t buy into that market enough. He needs to make more music for the women because women own the world."
D-O will have his moment and this writer is here for it. On Wildfire, Prettyboy D-O is a pilot on his sophomore flight, learning to steady his hands and actually enjoy being sky high - pun intended.
• 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: 1.4/2
Enjoyability and Satisfaction: 1.5/2
7.4 - Victory