‘Light’ proves Mohbad needs to step away from Naira Marley’s shadow [Pulse EP Review]
If Mohbad can step away from Naira Marley’s shadow and element of his label boss’ brand, he has everything to truly break through. Until then, he might struggle to have his own brand.
By 2020, he found his feet and started releasing his own music, More importantly, he honed his formless craft and his singing even got better. ‘Komajensun’ became one of the sleeper hits of 2020 and his feature on Naira Marley’s ‘Dido Lobo’ was also a standout performance. ‘Over Hype’ remains his best record though.
In the final quarter of 2020, he followed up ‘Ponmo’ featuring Naira Marley and Lil Kesh with his debut body of work, Light EP - a project that sees Mohbad perfect his singing side while he also flaunts his more familiar rapping side. He addresses lifestyle, counter-cultural and socio-political topics.
The EP has unique tracks like the Afro-swing record, ‘Debe’ featuring Davido, and the amazing ‘Father Abraham,’ which sees Mohbad cry to the heavens for help on earth but they are insufficient to inspire cogent enjoyment of the EP.
However, the larger parts of the album sees Mohbad borrow excessively from his label boss, Naira Marley. The similarities make his music slightly too complicated to enjoy. His topical conversations and even his cadences excessively sound like Naira Marley. No
It’s no coincidence that everytime he steps away from Naira Marley’s style, he makes something special. That's why ‘Debe’ featuring Davido, ‘Holy’ and the amazing ‘Father Abraham’ are the best songs on the EP.
‘Debe’ is a beautiful ratchet love song, ‘Father Abraham’ is an empirical study on the problems of life, which Mohbad feels requires heavenly help and ‘Holy’ is an introspective topic which sees Mohbad discuss his journey and his aspirations before he turns 28.
‘Holy,’ he even reveals that he’s a pastor’s son who smokes Diarra's weed and calls prostitutes whenever he gets horny.
The beat to ‘Holy’ is also reminiscent of the Afro-Drill sound that Young Jonn and Pheelz premiered with Lil Kesh and Olamide circa 2015. But across the rest of the EP, songs like ‘Sorry,’ ‘Marlian Anthem’ and ‘Omokomo’ feel like a repeat of the tried, tested and exhausted vulgarity-led/rebellion-inspired Naira Marley formulae.
The worst instance of the formula is ‘Ponmo’ which some might unfairly deem slutshaming. While certain elements of the song do glean slutshaming, the song is more of a political commentary on Lagos thot culture than outright slutshaming.
Pointedly, Mohbad is unimpressed by the vagina sweetener and kanyamata counter-culture that is currently gripping Lagos.
In Yoruba, “Awon omo ti tiwon ti ta, lo n lo p*ssy sweetener, awon omo ti tiwon ti ta lo n lo kanyanmata… For my life, I never see p*ssy wey bitter. Ponmo sweet, sweet, sweet…Shey your puna bitter ni, why the pussy sweetener?”
Technically, the perspective which birthed ‘isn't a lie but nuances from the woke culture will make it the wrong perspective. Of all the Naira Marley-esque songs, ‘Omokomo’ is the most sonically alluring. Like ‘Ponmo,’ the song is also on the borderline but ‘Omokomo’ is filled with explicit slutshaming, marked by disses to sexually liberal women.
He even namechecks Mercy, Tiwa and Toke Makinwa as ‘Omokomo.’ In Yoruba, ‘Omokomo’ is the colloquial for wayward girls.
If Mohbad can step away from Naira Marley’s shadow and element of his label boss’ brand, he has enough to truly break through. Until then, he might struggle to have his own brand.
• 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
7.0 - Victory
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