Album- The Indestructible Choc Boi Nation
Artiste- M.I, Ice Prince, Jesse Jagz, Milli, Koker, Dice Ailes, Loose Kaynon, Nosa, DJ Caise, DJ Lambo, Victoria Kimani, Pryse, Ruby Gyang
Producers- Jesse Jagz, Reinhard, L37, TMXO, Tunday, Teck-Zilla, Nosa, DJ Caise, CKay
Record Label- Chocolate City (2015)
Duration- 59 minutes
At a crossroads of its stellar history of rap music in Nigeria, the number one rap imprint in Nigeria reboots itself by adding new blood and welcoming a prodigal son.
With its chairman Audu Maikori announcing his retirement, and Ice Prince rubbing shoulders with ‘the greatest rapper alive’, change is in the air for the record label known as Chocolate City.
After announcing the return of Jesse Jagz back to the fold, and merging Choc City with M.I’s vanity label Loopy Music, the record label aptly presents a compilation album with the bold title ‘ featuring 13 artistes, and comprising of 15 tracks.
The LP itself is a declaration that Chocolate City is ready for business. It sure sounds that way on the opener ‘Summer Time’ with Jesse Jagz’s voice heralding the new era. Ice Prince sounds rejuvenated maybe because he is back with his sensei and M.I drops a flashy verse. As for Jago he says “I came in the game, and made the whole empire grow” highlighting his re-entrance to Choc City which coincided with the merger.
Two years out of the pack, Jesse slots in with the whole crew effortlessly. He reconnects with his former pupil Ice Prince on ‘Suite 99’- the rap/dancehall mashup. “Ladies and gents/ salute the president/periodic flow/ I am in all of my elements” fires Ice Prince as he goes back and forth with Jesse Jagz.
On ‘Restoration’ featuring M.I and Milli, the leader of Jagz Nation addresses his exit from Chocolate City in 2013. In the first verse, the famed lyricist drops a strong contender of the best rap verse of the year. “Just for the sake 'a/ Reyna make paper/ I won't be a slaver/ Even if it's for the paper…Took a step, no disrespect was my failure/ I was like hell no, CC was like hell yeah/ so I put it on my Facebook shook nigga hell yea” he narrates on the self-produced song.
His elder bro M.I goes solo on ‘Third Mainland Bridge’ featuring Moti Cakes. Proving the success of ‘Bad Belle’ was not a fluke, their growing chemistry creates a trap record that knocks courtesy of CKay’s production. M.I’s Achilles heel of spitting corny punch lines- “stay fly, I never crash yet/these rappers need a ruler like a maths set” does not take the song off track thankfully. Moti Cake’s artistic DNA is very heavy on the song, with him coolly saying “came out the gutter, now its pure water” before doing his Young Thug impersonation.
It’s obvious the old heads hold their own on the project, but it’s the new talent and young veterans that show Choc City’s future is in good hands. Dice Ailes and Milli pull out a sweet pop candy from their pockets on ‘Drank’ which also features DJ Lambo.
‘Drank’ sounds a lost track from Chris Brown/Tyga’s collabo album. Milli is a shape shifting pop entity, and Dice shows what he is truly capable of when not searching for a Naija hit. Youthful, breezy, light and sweet, ‘Drank’ is a strong joint made from Reinhard- the chief architect of the album.
On ‘Oh No No’ a trap record with warning bells at the beginning, and rattling 808’s Dice Ailes shows what he is comfortable with. “Ogbeni you lying, you ain’t getting paper like that, you ain’t got swag/Olorun I am bringing it back” says Dice in his comfort zone.
The freshness of the rap sound continues on ‘Go Hard’ by Loose Kaynon featuring Ice Prince and Milli. Milli does his best Young Thug impression and Ice drops an impressive trap verse. “I came back with the fire now I am the devil up in here/I am the man of the year/ shout out to Phyno- but he knows/I roll so deep we gon’ need a couple of limos” raps Loose revealing his hunger for being on the sideline for quite a while.
The new kids on the block bring a fresh vibe to the compilation album. Even Pryse, another act who has been on the sideline for a while drops a Teck-Zilla produced joint ‘Ricochet’.
TICBN is not an all rap affair. Koker drops the most standout song on the project, not only in terms of sound but in quality also. ‘Do Something’ is a 2015 ode to Sir Shina Peters’ glittering Afro-Juju genre of the late 80’s and early 90’s. Produced by the highly impressive Reinhard ‘Do Something’ is an instant hit. Simply described, it is a waist moving, rump shaking, feet shuffling banger. Koker appears on ‘Heart Felt’ with Milli, another Reinhard joint and it’s a best of both world display from the young guns.
Sadly Koker’s run falls on ‘Bass’ his collaboration with Ice Prince. The Kenyan hottie Victoria Kimani sounds lost in the shuffle with ‘Loving You’- another Panshak Zamini feature. Obviously her best material wasn't picked for the project.
The bumps on the project are covered by Nosa who comes with his lush, smooth soulful vibe on ‘Love Is Calling’ a song produced by him, and DJ Caise with Ruby on the mellow House driven ‘Loose Soul’.
Versatility is a strong point on this album. Production on the LP is another strong point, thanks to the immense talent of the fast rising producer Reinhard. He has his hands on eight of the songs on the album. He stretches the sound of TICBN, embracing trap, pop, and Naija pop without losing the talents and their innocence on the project.
3-Worth Checking Out