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Joey Akan

Yung6ix is the best Nigerian rapper to ever walk these streets and hit these mics. At least that’s how he sees it in his head. If you follow Yung6ix on social media, it’s a lesson in self-confidence. Open his mind, and you will discover he’s the Sango of flows, the Zeus of punch lines, and the Thor of hit records. It can be a beautiful thing to see, but sometimes (I mean many times), it’s maddening when you compare it with his status in the Nigerian music industry.

Everyone knows the rapper from the South is talented. He’s proven himself in that department. No one argues when he makes his claims about personal greatness and the quality of his skill. What ticks people off is that he has never truly come into his own as the pop culture ruler that he thinks he is. No one knows what the problem is. It’s just that it hasn’t happened.

His debut album, 2014’s “6 O’ Clock” is still one of Nigeria’s best rap projects since 2010. And as the years flow by, he has maintained a presence in the music industry, holding on to his relevance just below the surface of the biggest conversations. But he has never led from the front or made a big enough wave to move the scene.

That’s why he is banking so much on his sophomore LP, “High Star.” It’s a statement of intent, of diversity, of growth and all its beautiful friends. Music in Nigeria has cross-pollinated profu ...

Yung6ix is the best Nigerian rapper to ever walk these streets and hit these mics. At least that’s how he sees it in his head. If you follow Yung6ix on social media, it’s a lesson in self-confidence. Open his mind, and you will discover he’s the Sango of flows, the Zeus of punch lines, and the Thor of hit records. It can be a beautiful thing to see, but sometimes (I mean many times), it’s maddening when you compare it with his status in the Nigerian music industry.

Everyone knows the rapper from the South is talented. He’s proven himself in that department. No one argues when he makes his claims about personal greatness and the quality of his skill. What ticks people off is that he has never truly come into his own as the pop culture ruler that he thinks he is. No one knows what the problem is. It’s just that it hasn’t happened.

His debut album, 2014’s “6 O’ Clock” is still one of Nigeria’s best rap projects since 2010. And as the years flow by, he has maintained a presence in the music industry, holding on to his relevance just below the surface of the biggest conversations. But he has never led from the front or made a big enough wave to move the scene.

That’s why he is banking so much on his sophomore LP, “High Star.” It’s a statement of intent, of diversity, of growth and all its beautiful friends. Music in Nigeria has cross-pollinated profusely to create a heterogeneous spectrum of sounds. And on this album, he embraces them all, infusing his lyrical dexterity as a constant and unifier. ‘Gbe seyin’ with Niniola is a House record, which can sit comfortably on many platforms. 6ix finds a middle ground, rapping over the looping, dance instrumentals. ‘Beautiful scars’ obey the same formula, but it’s led by a brilliant romantic self-reflection. “They make jokes but my money, I go lie, really wasn’t funny, I live life like a mase…” he raps.

‘Ferragamo’ is his unique take on the dominant ‘Pon pon’ trend of 2017. Life is a vibe, and he enjoys it with the urban way with Davido, on ‘Let me know’.

Yung6ix and Niniola collaborated on a record ‘Gbe seyi’ off “High Star” album (iManage Africa)

Yung6ix is at his best on Trap records. He transforms into his truest form, with careerist and materialistic themes blending to produce a heady cocktail. Praiz and M.I are welcomed guests on ‘Grammy money,’ while he cranks up the energy on ‘Stay woke’, the best record on this album. “Always grinding but I stay woke, never sleeping but I stay woke,” the chorus goes, before Dremo, Sean Dennis, Blood Hot, LoolooWithTheJuice, Wale Turner and Baddest DJ Timmy have a party, up in the studio. On this rare occasion, too many cooks sweeten the soup, except for DJ Timmy, who brings nothing of note to the record. ‘No favours’ has Dice Ailes swaggering at his best.

‘You the man’ is an ego-trip, but Ycee’s a drag on ‘Weekend vibes’, but all of that is washed away on the outro, ‘Good times’, which offer perspective on the workings of his mind.

“High Star” has enough juice to crack the next level for 6ix. He’s put together a record of potential radio hits, that offer enough in depth to be the soundtrack of many sombre moments. He’s walking a fine line, balancing sound and substance for effect. And it’s beautiful to experience.

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