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Udochukwu Ikwuagwu

Brother Taju prepares listeners for the musical experience on Stories that Touch: There will be ‘so much pothole on the way (sic)’, ‘serious troublent (sic)’, ‘lost of cabin pressure (sic)’, and possibility of emergency landing, but in all these the feast onboard fades the chaos.

TJ, for short, the alter ego of Falz the Bahd Guy son of legal luminary Femi Falana (SAN) reads that warning or, for the literati, the prologue of Stories presented in audiobook format. TJ made his name as an Instagram sensation with his Ello Bae skits, but Falz is the serious alternate— a yang to TJ's yin, to regulate the excesses of comic persona. Remember Terry tha Rapman (now Lord TR) and his amusing alter ego Joe Spazm.

Falz, born in the nineties isn’t the typical millennial rapper with little regard for the OGs and the foundation of the genre; he understands the template and like Six Foot Plus, Junior & Pretty, Trybesmen, 2Shotz, Dat Nigga Raw, Folarin Falana has intertwined comedy and rap to define his oeuvre. He is from the Nu Skool era of UK returnees including D.I.S.guise, Omo Akin, Ajebutter22, DRB Lasgidi, and partner in crime Cheyenne Labesa aka Chyn. If one regards Shakara mixtape as a mission statement of a freshman, Cool Parry, High Class and Currency were works of a "serious" rapper.

Examine his introductory speech on Chardonnay Music “Ladies and gentlemen, these ...

Brother Taju prepares listeners for the musical experience on Stories that Touch: There will be ‘so much pothole on the way (sic)’, ‘serious troublent (sic)’, ‘lost of cabin pressure (sic)’, and possibility of emergency landing, but in all these the feast onboard fades the chaos.

TJ, for short, the alter ego of Falz the Bahd Guy son of legal luminary Femi Falana (SAN) reads that warning or, for the literati, the prologue of Stories presented in audiobook format. TJ made his name as an Instagram sensation with his Ello Bae skits, but Falz is the serious alternate— a yang to TJ’s yin, to regulate the excesses of comic persona. Remember Terry tha Rapman (now Lord TR) and his amusing alter ego Joe Spazm.

Falz, born in the nineties isn’t the typical millennial rapper with little regard for the OGs and the foundation of the genre; he understands the template and like Six Foot Plus, Junior & Pretty, Trybesmen, 2Shotz, Dat Nigga Raw, Folarin Falana has intertwined comedy and rap to define his oeuvre. He is from the Nu Skool era of UK returnees including D.I.S.guise, Omo Akin, Ajebutter22, DRB Lasgidi, and partner in crime Cheyenne Labesa aka Chyn. If one regards Shakara mixtape as a mission statement of a freshman, Cool Parry, High Class and Currency were works of a “serious” rapper.

Examine his introductory speech on Chardonnay Music “Ladies and gentlemen, these are (sic) mature music… This is SS3 senior rap, make my juniors bow/Still do this for the cake, still do this for chow/They say when they don blow they turn stupid or proud/I guess I’m stupid and proud tryna shoot for the cloud.”

The Jazz-fest crafted behind frequent collaborator Spax’s boards – a cocktail of horns interrupted by piano keys and kicks – offers an unusual meal for those who discovered Falz clowning over the tepid Fuji rendition that was Ello Bae. He’s the type to hold a convo without spilling his tall glass of Chardonnay, his goal on his mind — to privatize the rap game with a game plan! And that game plan has him trash-talking opponents, flexing lyrical muscles on Clap; not an accident that he samples Nigerian boxer Lateef Kayode dropping punchlines, jabs after jabs on the dizzy 808 beat. Falz doesn’t have the genius of Studio Magic, but it’s obvious he doesn’t “need that magic” as Sess steps into the ring like Freddie Roach to his Lateef Kayode.

Stories that Touch pulls rappers Phyno, Reminisce, Poe, Chyn, M.I., Tec and Ghost, and Soft Work, Falz emphasises that he cares less about the competition. “We no struggle to collect Best Artiste/First Class no be who collect extra sheet,” he raps. On the Reminisce-assisted Clap, for instance, he waves the feature off not pressured to out-rap Alaga Ibile, as he switches to wooing a light-skinned lady: “Baby girl, I will propose but what’s your egusi like?”

With this mission statement as a Bahd Guy, one would expect him to be a Workaholic to dominate the Rap genre extending his territory to non-Hip-Hop fanbase, but Mr. Falana is not one for that lifestyle. “Gra gra no dey win the race,” he utters on the ’80 Coffin for Head of State-influenced record. Why should he be a workhorse in the first place? Kings shouldn’t be seen competing with subjects; this he thunders on the album opener, Kabiyesi. Two royals, King Wasiu Ayinde Marshall and Chief Doctor Sikiru Ayinde Barrister are feted by the praise singing of Oyinkansola.

From time to time kings take the throne to address subjects, Falz does same on My People. Sadly the Afrobeat platform the royal chooses to speak on is chaotic. A noisy production seizes the blessings from attentive ears. He keeps namedropping, namedropping till the people are left bewildered.

Forget Ello Bae or Soupé, which sounded like a naïve prince seeking love. Falz still needs that lady that can “role-play to ni logo—Omo to yellow bi Sikiratu Sindodo—a damsel that already knows the koko”, and he asks a dark-skinned Simi on Soldier if she has the answer to that query. Simi and Oscar Heman-Ackah bring out the vulnerability in our royal—Your fada! It’s an abomination to insult the crown, but love is a bastard! In an era of groupies and gold diggers and one-night stands, the fear of falling for the wrong one comes heavy on Falz’s mind on Karishika. “Kill her with the flow ‘cos nobody sicker, the money and fame now coming quicker,” he raps on the dark production laid by Sess.

Back in 1996, Karishika was the queen of demons taking souls of young agile men to hell with Becky Okorie warning men to keep it in the pants. These days, the queens of the coast are no longer on Allen Avenue or other red light districts, they are Instagram hotties swinging the latest Hermes, Loubs and LVs: “Lord, save me from Karishika!”

Karishika could be a metaphor for worldly enticement in this fast life- or, bitch of a life! Ghost from Show Dem Camp had to knock the spooky message in: “Any Queen of the Coast, I reject you—Omo who be Karishika to a Neptune—Jezebels on my heels, Lord keep me on my toes.”

On Stories that Touch, Falz isn’t joking like brother Taju would on Instagram. It’s not a laughing stuff, here. Though the album falls out of the concept album categorization, Falz found an exciting way of sticking to the theme of the project, and this reflected in the individual tracks. Stories of hustle, rap dominance, love and lust, societal troubles, everyday struggles, sipping easy, celebration, contentment and self-belief are all told beautifully on Falana’s sophomore album. The Sess, Tin Tin, Oscar and Spax production were like the publishing house giving a writer tools to pen a New-York Times best seller, while the sound engineers and backing vocals acted as editors. Like Spax’s production tag- classic.

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