Album - Wanted

Artiste - Wande Coal

Guest Appearances - Seyi Law, AKA, Falz, Maleek Berry, Jimmie, 2face Idibia, Burna Boy, Wizkid and King Spesh.

Producers- Sarz, Xela, Maleek Berry, LeriQ, Major Bangz, BeatFreakz, Legendury Beatz, JFem

Record Label - Black Diamond Entertainment (2015)

Duration - 74 minutes

Wande Coal’s sophomore studio album caught Nigeria by surprise. For a man who had set such a lofty standard 6 years ago, with an album that counts as one of the Nigerian classics, The Black Diamond has indeed taken a long route to this material. From the fallout of his first home Mo’Hits Records, to his personal discontent at Mavin Records, the singer has been on a relatively arduous career journey which has taken his toll on the administrative parts of his career, but never found a way to adulterate the most essential part – his music-making abilities.

A superb single at every turn have kept him relevant and financial refreshed, and that has been vital in creating the bedrock of this album. With the arrival of “Wanted”, all of the complaints from the hiatus now seem like another lifetime, as Wande Coal becomes his own man.

A 17-track album (minus three skits and two bonus songs) “Wanted” eases Wande Coal in with a bang, that sees him feeding off the input from fans, internalising that energy, and creating music to find equilibrium for his commercial and artistic parts.

This album throws it all at you. It starts off on a mellow note as Wande Coal drops the slow-burning and religiously thankful track ‘Adura’. The subject shifts gears, and the classy R&B ‘Superwoman’ gives you a sense of Wande’s soul. He is less ‘musician’ and more ‘artiste’ who happens to use music as his canvass, and love as all shades of colour.

There’s a sense of light freedom as ‘We ball’ shows a more comfortable Wande Coal, but he exerts himself on the Hip-hop cut, ‘Same shit’ with AKA.

The pace gets altered with arrogance, as materialism becomes evident in ‘Monster’ and ‘Wanted’. This is Wande Coal at his best. There is character, rhythm, progression, twists and bounce on these tracks. These songs hark back to his glorious and free past, which he reinvents with élan.

Wande Coal’s core African artistry is thrown into the mix, as he works with elemental sounds of highlife and folk on ‘African lady’, ‘Iyawo mi’ and ‘Plenty love’.

But while the happiness from Wande Coal can be overwhelming, he gets a bit of a downer as 2face Idibia is shoe-horned onto a song which can be described as gritty cuisine. There’s an underlying sense of enjoyment, but it all fails to come together. ‘Lowkey’ gives a window into reggae-dancehall.

The last four songs ‘Jelly’, ‘Baby Hello’, ‘Wanted’ (Remix), and ‘Kpono’ ft Wizkid are a sprint through the radio friendly pop songs. Wizkid gets the job done on ‘Kpono’, a typical commercial jam which ticks all the boxes for the ultimate radio jam (pacy instrumentation, catch-phrase, stardust, and not a lot of sense).

The remix of 'Wanted' was skewed with a reggaeton infusion which drifted too far to accommodate the elements of Burna Boy's art. Meeting him in the middle too something out of it. Sound was sacrificed for stardust.

Wande Coal’s album returns to a scene which has left his space untouched in the industry. No one singer is the total package, or comes close to it as Wande Coal has. “Wanted” album, more patchwork than conceptual album, but it throws in Wande Coal’s superior hat into the ring. A hat that combines dexterity of sound, and a shrewd understanding of the market. Wande Coal is back to his art. This is good for Nigeria.

Rating: 3.5

Ratings Board

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