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Chiagoziem Onyekwena

Patoranking gave us an album’s worth of music before giving us an actual album.
Stretching a dozen singles out over 3 years to create a buzz for one LP at times felt like a basketball player starting his run up to the basket from the 3-point line. Sadly, when he finally got to the rim, rather than finishing his powerful run-up with a slam dunk on God Over Everything, Patoranking puts up a timid lay-up instead.
But pay attention, GOE is more than just a slogan or an album it’s a positive lifestyle to aspire for and Patoranking is preaching it through the music. The video for “My Woman, My Everything” is one of the rare times in pop culture that you’ll see a pop star kneel down to pray with his video model. Unfortunately, neither that song nor the prayer made their way to this project but don’t despair prayer warriors, two other prayers did.
First prayer – Mrs. Okorie, the singer’s mother, starts off GOE with a slightly off-putting prayer. I’ll never fix my mouth to say a prayer is unnecessary but immediately after praying to God and praising His Holy name, the song transitions to hailing her son and praising his own name. Dance hall meets prayer ground on “Patoranking” – perhaps the prayer could have been separated from the song proper to preserve the integrity of both messages.
The second prayer created another awkward moment on GOE. “Stammerer” ...

Patoranking gave us an album’s worth of music before giving us an actual album.
Stretching a dozen singles out over 3 years to create a buzz for one LP at times felt like a basketball player starting his run up to the basket from the 3-point line. Sadly, when he finally got to the rim, rather than finishing his powerful run-up with a slam dunk on God Over Everything, Patoranking puts up a timid lay-up instead.
But pay attention, GOE is more than just a slogan or an album it’s a positive lifestyle to aspire for and Patoranking is preaching it through the music. The video for “My Woman, My Everything” is one of the rare times in pop culture that you’ll see a pop star kneel down to pray with his video model. Unfortunately, neither that song nor the prayer made their way to this project but don’t despair prayer warriors, two other prayers did.
First prayer – Mrs. Okorie, the singer’s mother, starts off GOE with a slightly off-putting prayer. I’ll never fix my mouth to say a prayer is unnecessary but immediately after praying to God and praising His Holy name, the song transitions to hailing her son and praising his own name. Dance hall meets prayer ground on “Patoranking” – perhaps the prayer could have been separated from the song proper to preserve the integrity of both messages.
The second prayer created another awkward moment on GOE. “Stammerer” was preceded by a dramatic snippet of the “Lord’s Prayer”, recited in Latin. Perhaps Patoranking was trying to produce some kind of easy on the ear Niyabinghi moment but what does a song celebrating a speech defect in his lady really have to do with verses from the Book of Matthew? The song itself is so pedestrian, the singer’s Jamaican – by way of Lagos – accent couldn’t hide the ordinariness of the lyrics, as it almost does when you listen to the rest of the project. But even his enunciation isn’t enough to distract you from the lack of lyrical depth in the music –
“Me will always straff you /
Me will always baff you /”
Shockingly simple. I know I’m getting out of touch with street lingo but the last time I checked “straff” meant to sleep with someone, again more mixed messaging.
The message is a lot less ambiguous on “No Cheating Zone” and the Sarkodie-assisted “No Kissing, Baby”, songs that preach fidelity and abstinence respectively. The splendid “Writing on the Wall” and “GOE” are other godly moments on the album that tell you more about Pato’s story and why gratitude has become the singer’s attitude.
The spirit of reggae is also mixed with the vibrancy of dancehall. Olamide adds galala flavor to the party-starting “Mama Abayo” and Wizkid sprinkles star dust all over the album’s standout track “This Kind Luv”. “Ayinde” is a fuji-dancehall fusion featuring Kwam 1 that shines individually but seems out of place with the entire body of work, while the bluesy “Beautiful” is the singer’s most daring vocal performance.
There’s also a remix to the raucous “Daniella Wine” featuring Elephant man and Konshens. The original song was a minor blip in the singer’s run of hits, locally. Having back-to back hit songs might have seemed like a blessing for Patoranking and Foston Musik at the time, but when it came time for the album, these songs probably presented an interesting conundrum.
What to do? Place those old singles on GOE and allow the album sound dated and disjointed or leave them out and potentially leave out your strongest individual songs?
They chose the latter and were unable to replace quality with quality, thus leaving us with a solid but unfulfilling and contradictory LP from one of Africa’s most promising reggae/dancehall acts. On his oft-delayed debut album GOE, Patoranking seems to have ran out of steam and, perhaps more disappointingly, ran out of ideas.

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