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Chiagoziem Onyekwena

Eva’s debut album 1960 has experienced more delays than an afternoon flight on Arik Air headed for a small city but her Alordians have stood by their woman every step of the way.
Emboldened by their loyalty, the rapper has embarked on one of the most imaginative album rollouts you’re ever going to see for the release of 1960. Rather than just handing the music over to distribution outlets and, with that losing the ability to interact with those fans directly, 1960 was packaged as a 3 part experience – a semi-erotic book, an intimate concert and last but by no means the least, Eva Alordiah’s first studio album.
The album proper is an experience on its own, a collection of deeply personal songs glued together by the occasional interlude that makes them feel like 13 or so successive stories but not stories with a contiguous plot. And what’s the plot? 1960 is a pivotal year for Eva for two reasons – first, that was the year Nigeria gained her independence, and independence and individualism are important themes on the project. Eva’s scattergun raps, mellowed by her trademark dusky flow splattered over a variety of sounds from synth-heavy hip-hop to reggae to lover’s rock to even Afro beat, makes her sound unique. She’s successfully shaken off the Nicki Minaj comparisons that surrounded her at the start of her career, even feeling comfortable enough to name drop the rapper ... Read Full Review

Eva’s debut album 1960 has experienced more delays than an afternoon flight on Arik Air headed for a small city but her Alordians have stood by their woman every step of the way.
Emboldened by their loyalty, the rapper has embarked on one of the most imaginative album rollouts you’re ever going to see for the release of 1960. Rather than just handing the music over to distribution outlets and, with that losing the ability to interact with those fans directly, 1960 was packaged as a 3 part experience – a semi-erotic book, an intimate concert and last but by no means the least, Eva Alordiah’s first studio album.
The album proper is an experience on its own, a collection of deeply personal songs glued together by the occasional interlude that makes them feel like 13 or so successive stories but not stories with a contiguous plot. And what’s the plot? 1960 is a pivotal year for Eva for two reasons – first, that was the year Nigeria gained her independence, and independence and individualism are important themes on the project. Eva’s scattergun raps, mellowed by her trademark dusky flow splattered over a variety of sounds from synth-heavy hip-hop to reggae to lover’s rock to even Afro beat, makes her sound unique. She’s successfully shaken off the Nicki Minaj comparisons that surrounded her at the start of her career, even feeling comfortable enough to name drop the rapper on the super-energetic “Kanayo”. But even when her inspirations are a little more apparent, Eva changes the context to suit her own purpose.
She reuses Hov’s seminal – what you think I rap for, to push a Rav 4? – line on her own “Deaf” record but after she follows it up with –
“Coming through the front just to take the back door I’ve had enough patience, do you think I’ve got more? Just to get up on the score, push my pedal to the floor”
You understand why.
But it’s not so much about what she says but the way she says it – her tonality, her attitude, her intensity – that grips you. When she does feature other MC’s like Olamide and Sarkodie on the addendum to the “Deaf” record – “Deaf and Dumb” or even artistes from other genres, she pulls them into her own world created by trusted producers Tintin and Gray Jon’z, not the other way round. For instance, if no one told you that pop princess Yemi Alade was the person that delivered the multi-layered, harrowing chorus on “Mbali” there’s simply no other way for you to find out.
The last aspect of this expression of independence is that Eva Alordiah is one of a handful of female rappers that can truly boast of being self-made; no record label (Trybe 2.0 aside), no male crew where she was the token female member and no wealthy benefactor behind her or at least none that we know of. On the spacey “Yaba” she brags –
“Everybody come see the way I live I put me on, I didn’t even have no record deal”
Eva’s mum has been the young MC’s major support system. Born in 1960, she is the second reason for the album’s title. Eva adores her mum and it’s clear to see, she promises to buy her a car on “Pretty” and a house on “For My Momma” as her way of saying thank you. Both songs are more than just dedications to Mama Alordiah though, Eva flips those gifts into aspirations, her dreams as a child into goals as an adult but that’s among other random thoughts – it’s that scattered approach to writing I was telling you about. She explores social activism on “War Coming” and feminism on “Sweet Little Girl” and “Woman” with greater focus. The latter features rare vocals and a glorious saxophone performance from Femi Kuti as Eva extols the values of womanhood. I found her comparison of a woman’s strength to a man’s strength too simplistic but being a woman in a man’s world, and in Nigeria a man’s country, isn’t a feeling I’ve experienced first-hand so I cannot tell Eva or indeed any woman how to express their frustrations.
What I can express my frustrations about however, is that Eva is showing strong signs that her other interests in makeup, fashion and writing are competing with her love for hip-hop and that her first album just might be her last. I’m not summarily diagnosing what I’m about to say next as the cause of the problem but if Eva goes the way of Mo Chedda, Sasha and Kel before her – who gave us stellar debuts and wandered off to chase creative endeavours in more female-friendly climes – then I’ll have to assume that the demands of performing “manly” hip-hop music in such a male-dominated entertainment arena takes its toll on our femcees in the long run and turns them into one-album phenomena.

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