On May 22, 2020, veteran Nigerian rapper released his second EP in just under seven months. Alongside the last EP, 'V.I.B.E.S Before T.E.S.L.I.M,' Vector continues to rise above the greatest criticism of his career on 'Crossroads,' a collaborative EP with Masterkraft - his long-term producer and friend.
That criticism is simple - Vector doesn't have great bodies of work. But now, the music is more methodical and less scatterbrained and the raps are more methodical. Crossroads EP is made without a pressure for wide-reaching music with a bandwidth that's rich on limitless elasticity.
On all of Vector's projects prior to VIBES Before T.E.S.L.I.M - be it State of Suprise, A7, Barracks or Lafiaji, Vector tried to do too much and ended up saturating the music.
But starting with VIBES Before T.E.S.L.I.M, it seems age has led to an epiphany for Vector. The music started to have greater cohesion. Topically, Vector stopped being about punchlines and social media bars. The honesty he attempted on all the projects prior to 2019 also felt more resonant. Asides that, his musicality seems to have reached a new epoch.
While this might seem a reach, it seems veteran status is treating Vector nicely while embroidered with the musical version of all things beautiful. These days, Vector seems unbothered by a pressure to appeal to the mainstream and his music is better for it. In the old days, when he'd switch to Yoruba rap, it would seem forced. These days, there's a beauty to it and this writer is forced to ask, 'Where was this Vector all along?'
'No Peace' is a beautiful ballad on which Vector gets empirically introspective. The Self-produced, cloud string-heavy song will make Noah Shebib proud. On it, Vector gracefully glides on topics of peace, society and wisdom. "You own the peace (read piece), but there's no peace..." is so meaningful. To the backdrop is also the a defiance to Vector as he replies his critics.
The only problem is that this song would have been better with Vector singing throughout.
The rap is good, but it sort of sticks out. If Vector had sung those things he rapped, this song would have gone from an 8/10 to a 10/10. Nonetheless, Vector take a bow - what an opener. 'If We Must' is built on a choral section of melody. Topically, Vector delivers spoken word/rap as he discusses a society in disarray through deep-rooted corruption and the advent of COVID-19.
We then segway into 'No Worries.' Guys, Masterkraft aces this Afro-pop beat, but Vector makes sure the song is not bland. While he hopes people dance and make merry, he reaches into himself for important moments. Word on the street says Vector is trying to push rapfrobeat with sound and style.
That rapfrobeat is also the spirit on 'Eyan Colgate.' On the album closer, 'Blessed' Vector talks about life's more somber experience from betrayal by friends and a false assumption of love before using that premise to measure his blessings from God. In the end, Vector discovers a reason to be thankful. The beat is a slowed down ratchet sound.
The truth is, everybody's journey is different; some people hack the ability to make quality albums from the onset while it takes others a bit of time to get a hang of it. That's why we fans and critics alike can seem harsh when we pressurize artists to make better music. The critique might be valid, but it could also show a blatant disregard for an artist's journey. Sometimes, all an artist needs is time.
Crossroads is enjoyable and the topics seem tied to society and Vector's person. The EP is a cross-section between how Vector feels and the music he feels like making. It might seem dull for the finicky listener, but in the end, this is what quality music sounds like. Welcome Vector. Long may this continue.
• 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
Content and Themes: 1.6/2
Enjoyability and Satisfaction: 1.5/2
7.9 - Victory