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Notiki.Bello

rare. is arguably the most anticipated debut album of 2018 in Nigerian music and Odunsi (The Engine) has delivered on his promise by dropping the album today, 12th of October. The star’s stock has risen in the last few months. But this project, rare. should contribute more to his acclaim. Why? It is a wholesome project.

Of course, Odunsi has elevated himself in the eyes of industry faithfuls. He is no longer just the young lad putting out music on SoundCloud, but an artiste the world is watching.

rare. contains thirteen tracks (excluding bonus), which only 2 were released upfront. In fact, if you took out the bonus “Alté Cruise” you have only “divine” as a pre-released song.

“divine” features Davido and it could have you believing Odunsi was veering off his earlier sound. This is untrue. The album’s overall sound is a mix of both 80s and contemporary.

rare. is funky. It opens with “rare”, a sort of sung introduction. On this track, Odunsi declares it’s his time, a reminder of his readiness to take on the industry.

“Let’s have a funky time,” Odunsi says a few moment into the opening of the rare.

Things does get funky on “falling” where Odunsi garbs himself in peak P-Square vibe. The snare drums and hi-hats kick with break dance fervour. “falling” has very noticeable P-Square influence.

“take me there” continue ...

rare. is arguably the most anticipated debut album of 2018 in Nigerian music and Odunsi (The Engine) has delivered on his promise by dropping the album today, 12th of October. The star’s stock has risen in the last few months. But this project, rare. should contribute more to his acclaim. Why? It is a wholesome project.

Of course, Odunsi has elevated himself in the eyes of industry faithfuls. He is no longer just the young lad putting out music on SoundCloud, but an artiste the world is watching.

rare. contains thirteen tracks (excluding bonus), which only 2 were released upfront. In fact, if you took out the bonus “Alté Cruise” you have only “divine” as a pre-released song.

“divine” features Davido and it could have you believing Odunsi was veering off his earlier sound. This is untrue. The album’s overall sound is a mix of both 80s and contemporary.

rare. is funky. It opens with “rare”, a sort of sung introduction. On this track, Odunsi declares it’s his time, a reminder of his readiness to take on the industry.

“Let’s have a funky time,” Odunsi says a few moment into the opening of the rare.

Things does get funky on “falling” where Odunsi garbs himself in peak P-Square vibe. The snare drums and hi-hats kick with break dance fervour. “falling” has very noticeable P-Square influence.

“take me there” continues Odunsi’s mushy mood. The assistance of Hamzaa further takes it to mushier depths. This song utilises a skit towards its end, giving it a tinge of versatility.

“outcast” raises the tempo a bit from the slightly slow tempo from “take me there”. “outcast” is a song born from nostalgia. The Engine sings about moments from his childhood and the results of some of his actions on his momma.

rare. is an album that would feel definitely at home at a disco club. Odunsi however swerves towards an alternate direction on “divine”. Davido brings a cruising afropop direction to the song, the uncredited female voice put a final radio friendly stamp on the song.

“wanted you” sneaks in like smooth operator. But there is aggression in how it took its place: a sort of yo, forget what you heard there, this be the real shit! Rightfully, Odunsi summons the funk and disco back on “wanted you”.

The majority of rare. is about love. How Odunsi keeps this energy up is something to be closely observed, but how his audience keeps up with consistent love themes would even be more interesting. “angel” is an emotional assurance featuring duendita.

“take a break” is an appeal to Odunsi’s long distance love interest. One is needy. The other? Obviously has his eyes set on something else. Odunsi blends Yoruba language in his verse on “take a break”: the impression of this mix depends on who is listening.

The involvement of Santi and Nasty C on “express” pans rare. from its disco-funk core to trap. The good thing about it is that it is strategically positioned to ease boredom. “dance floor” takes Odunsi back to the usual heavy snares.

“star signs” is possibly the most impressive song on rare. The match-make of highlife and funk is almost perfect. It is the sort of song you would find on a Ofege vinyl tape from the 70s and 80s. Odunsi’s lilting voice on “star signs” advances his urge to milk highlife in a purposeful way. Who best to partner him in this quest than Runtown?

“Time and time again, I want to make you more than just a friend,” Odunsi sings on the Tay-assisted “green light”. Tay Iwar’s candy-like voice brings this song to its high. “hectic” opens — with the vocals of 234jaydaa — like something jacked from a 2013/14 project by US singer, Jhene Aiko. But amaarae’s voice like burning wood doused with water brings a different sensation, a completely distinct one at that. Solis also takes ownership of her verse.

rare. closes with “Alté Cruise” the most well-known song off the project. If one could rekindle a sense of novelty, “Alté Cruise” would be a memorable ending to the album. If one could not, then salad.

rare. is a wholesome debut. For a greater part of the project, Odunsi remains consistent. There is an appreciable level of clarity and intent in the album. This intentionality is seen in the recurrence of love themes and the funk core of the project. rare. in fact becomes more enjoyable with its repetitive funk pattern. And as this continues to recur at almost every 1-track interval, it sticks and becomes reckon-able-with. However, to some end, Odunsi doesn’t deliver a project satisfying every music taste, which is almost always seen as an ineffective approach; like on “divine” and “express”. This does not take away anything from rare. as it manages to stay true to its core from top to bottom.

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