The futility of life. The disaster of corruption. The wickedness of man. Finding demons everywhere you look. Musicians have long pointed fingers at something or a life event that brings them into a realm of depth and understanding of the world around them. For Brymo, it’s nothing special. That’s his default state, and he makes music from the world around him. Digging into the fabric of our existence, and the relationship between ourselves and our neighbours, he spins wisdom and advice into melody, speaking to himself, and to every one of us on numerous life issues.
That’s the driver for the songwriting on his sixth album, “Oso (The Wizard).” The 11-track album, with a run-time of 38-minutes, reads off like a sage-worthy scroll. It’s a breathing marvel of entertainment and illumination; offering you sonic satisfaction, while providing a deeper understanding of life, by educating, inspiring and entertaining you.
This isn’t a new dimension of Brymo. This has been the formula for his art across all his projects. From “Merchants, Dealers & Slaves,” to “Klitoris”, you would always find Brymo taking an intellectual leap with you, pulling you by the hair, or whispering into your heart to accompany him on a journey. That’s why when he is loved by a fan, it runs deep. He is a companion that transcends the art and your playlist, into becoming a staple of your life.
While his previous albums have moved tempos and provided pop satisfaction and danceable numbers, “Oso (The Wizard)” takes away pace from everything. Brymo, writing on a piano, with producer Mikkyme Joses, keeps it all serene and ambient, providing his voice, songwriting prowess and wisdom as the leading elements of this album. There are no delirious highs of “Preek no get shoulder!,” or the banging cries of “Femi!” What you get is relaxed, soothing, vibes, interspersed with an exploration of the human condition.
Opener ‘No be me’ starts from a place of romance, before morphing into an existentialist discourse which has the hook, “No be me create the world, no be you create the world, we dey point the finger at each other, but no be me create the world.” On interlude ‘Mama’, he appreciates maternal efforts of comfort, despite the raging injustice and suffering around us. (“The government dey veto, dey fuck us oh. The thief still dey shit on the good man oh.”)
Despite the Nigerian situation that we all agree is dark, Brymo still believes in the power of our efforts. ‘Heya’ with its piano accompaniment, carries the hopes and desires of hopeful lovers, who need to show discernment and tenacity in finding their heart desire. The emotions on ‘Patience and Goodluck’ simply points to us to the huge moral lesson that says “hang in there, don’t lose hope!” While ‘God is in your mind’ – one of the gloomiest cuts of the album – encourages us to be our own heroes. “For the first time, gods are we, without a face. For the first time, gods are we, without a name…For the first time, God is in your mind.”
This dichotomy of dark sounds, paired with inspirational lyricism carry through this album, creating a weirdly satisfying blend of mastery. Perhaps, that is the wizardry here; the ability to create an inverse Trojan horse by wrapping light in the darkness.
Over the years, Brymo has taken on a few personas: the impossibly smart Lagosian with “M, D&S”, the cinematic loverboy on ‘Klitoris’, and the woke-pop enthusiast on “Tabula Rasa”, for example. As it turns out, larger-than-life, philosophical Brymo which we get on this album, is the one that suits him best.
1-Dull2-Boring2.5-Average3-Worth Checking Out3.5-Hot4-Smoking Hot4.5-Amazing5-Perfection