Album: Illygaty: 7052Artiste: IllBlissGuests: Bovi, Phyno, Vector, Reekado Banks, Mr Eazi, CDQ, Koker, Tha Suspect, Runtown, Lola Rae, Flavour, Stormrex, Del'B, CDQ, Ycee, Dremo, Falz, SessProducers: Sess, Kezy Klef, Bigfoot & XYZ, Tha Suspect & Phyno, Waz Beat, Del'B, Tunex, ReinhardDuration: 56 MinutesRecord Label: Capital Hill Music/The Goretti Company (2016)

“Came from the trenches, Lord, no more benches, play for the whole stretch, no I never lose breath…In the midst of crucifixion I found strength. Funny how Illygaty ran the whole length.”

The above line captures the spirit that leads this project. IllBliss, a member of Nigeria’s rap elite, is back with a 4 album, and the mood is all upbeat. Where he previously documented his aspirational living on all of his other projects, Oga Boss is motivational, introspective and very altruistic in his new approach to music on this new full-length release. IllBliss prays for the nation on the sobering ‘Dear God’, and admonishes the masses on ‘Judge’. “This life no be fight like you think it is, let the Lord judge, not you,” He raps.

A backdrop of “Illygaty: 7057” has the rapper shedding his old skin by going on a public purge, where he declared his exit from the game. The ‘old IllBliss’, the one who embraced luxury as a way of life and chased haters with the strength of his character, walked out the door forever. But with his exit, a new maestro showed up; one who is both as lyrically arrogant as the former, but more embracing of his peers, and younger entrants into the music scene.

He is now the one who “gets cream and pop bottle for my whole team…” one who shares scans through the industry, and sees a chance for everyone to succeed and soar in these ruthless skies. “Been around money enough to know who’s faking it. This bread, we baking it, and we breaking it around the table let us all eat. Let Falz eat, let Ycee and Dremo eat…” He declares the table open on ‘Hustler’s feet’.

This new wave that he is on is what inspires his collaborators on the project. Illbliss hands out spots to the new wave of artistes coming through, with the infantile (career wise) Mayorkun anchoring the hook on ‘Pere’. Ycee and Dremo go bar for bar on ‘Chukwu agozigo gi’.

This embrace of the new wave hasn’t been a purely altruistic pursuit. Illbliss is receiving his reward on earth too. ‘OMG (Jawon Laya)’ is blowing up and putting more money in his coffers with Reekado Banks and Mr Eazi. Elsewhere, there’s Koker with another club pop banger, ‘Pamper you’. Runtown also comes through, mixing his deft skill with IllBliss’s materialism which starts off ‘Can’t hear you.’(“So I’m counting my money so I can’t hear you.”)

A sore spot for the album is ‘Without you’. IllBliss has never truly appeared comfortable on the subject of romance, and although credit can be given for effort, it is the poorest work on the project. That aside, “Illygaty: 7057” comes home as a solid LP.

17 tracks long, “Illygaty: 7057” sees Illy transitioning from the boss to the benefactor of the rap game. He still sticks to his materialistic core theme, waves at radio while at it, but gives a fresh edge by artistically embracing the goodness in humanity. Illy Gatti produces the best rap album of his career that is technically and artistically strong. And all he had to do, was look within and bring forth positivity.

Rating – 4


1-Dull2-Boring2.5-Average3-Worth Checking Out3.5-Hot4-Smoking Hot4.5-Amazing5-Perfection