Ycee had something to prove, he has been tagged as an undeveloped talent and the First Wave EP was his chance to correct that. We all know the road that led him to making mainstream music. Still an unpopular name at that time, his song Jagaban, was the common chorus on people's lips. It played from speaker to speaker across the country, climbing over songs by established artistes on the charts. Ycee quickly made another hit with Omo Alhaji and the hype around him grew, making him almost untouchable. Till today, some section of the fans still thinks he should have had the 2016 Headies Next Rated Awards.
The loss perhaps got to Ycee. He appeared to lose steam going forward and his musical releases dropped in consistency, becoming a lot wavy. Ycee was almost not entertaining at some point. This sparked ideas among fans that he is only an early bloomer. I too joined in doubting his long term potential. Having itched too long for more hit singles from Ycee, I was not exactly excited about an album or an EP. But with this 'first wave', he has drowned doubts about his musical ability and given his listeners reason to keep faith in him.
The first good thing about the EP is the title. I believe titles like ‘Jagaban’ or ‘Man of the Moment’ would have been easy picks for Ycee, but 'First Wave' was selected above others and it is apt. Perhaps because the EP is Ycee's first album offering, most people were not sure of what to expect, would it be heavily Hip-Hop or majorly Afro-Pop? But after listening to the constituent tracks of the EP, I concluded that Ycee's first offering is a balanced compilation of Hip-Hop and Afro-Pop sounds. Songs like Wavy, N.O.U.N would appeal to a Hip-Hop audience, while any one of Juice or Link Up would be popular in Afro-pop loving circles.
Rather than setting out to introduce himself or centering the theme of the album on hard luck stories like most artistes does on their first project, Ycee is about the buzz and positive vibe on ’First Wave' EP. He sets the tone of the EP with Wavy, keeping the spirit high and the mood cheerful. On the song, he met the pounding Hip-Hop beat with some breezy and boastful lyrics. Repeatedly, you can hear Ycee say, ‘Jagaban Jagbaban is what they call me.’ Interestingly, Ycee calls himself the future, the future of Nigerian Hip-Hop perhaps. While this is a good claim, he would need to up his level of consistency to feature in the future of Nigerian Hip-Hop, especially with the surge of Indigenous rap in the industry.
Ycee’s chest-beating demeanour continued into the EP, with songs such as, Kill Nobody. On it, Ycee said, ‘it’s heat that I rap/Aint no other competing with that.’ Mostly on the album, Ycee gives a mixed impression of a firm yet cheerful rapper, very similar to Big Sean. Ycee can be entertaining yet randomly boorish, but witty enough to lead on his listener. It is easy to confuse his facile rap for laziness. He might not dazzle with the deepest words or metaphors but he makes easy-to-get rap which is what makes his rap fun to listen to, even for non-Hip-Hop lovers.
The synergy between Ycee and Maleek Berry was one of the exciting things I spotted in the EP. The harmony between the two, was on display on ‘Juice’ and evident on ‘Don’t Need Bae.’ Maleek Berry who had earlier impressed with his EP is a pleasing presence on the First Wave EP. Hopefully, there would be creation of more melody between the two in the future. Other notable featured guests on the EP are Reekado Bank & Calibrii.
Although, Ycee’s unsophisticated style of rap is welcome, as it is easy to understand, he uses it as an excuse to drop some sloppy lyrics. For instance on Don’t Need Bae, Ycee served some overused rap lines, especially the part where he said, ‘You a slave meet your master/Am a king like mufassa.’ Similarly, on Bobbly, quality lyricism was missing. Falz particularly sounded too cliché.
Generally on the EP, Ycee makes a lot of bold statements and some teasing ones. He rapped about the big money, the girls and him being Jagaban, in a way that corrects his doubters and taunts his haters. A good example is his lyrics on N.O.U.N, where Ycee said, 'lot of money that be tighting up the loose ends/Oh my, so you wake up/And the plan is to stay up.'
It is interesting to see Ycee ride on such a high wave again, after slowing down on his early momentum. Although doubts had earlier gathered around the prospects of Ycee's long term success in the industry, he set out to clear doubts with this EP and he was largely successful. In fact, for me, Ycee's first wave has blown away the doubts I had earlier about his music and replaced it with a new belief.
Great piece... No doubts, i expected ycee to walk away with the 'next rated ' award last year. I feel he's currently proving why he should have been the victor.Reply Report
I know you'll always make us proud. Gentle, humble but sparked with so much intellect and analytic senses.Reply Report
well said bro, he's doing justice with his music now, clearing all doubtsReply Report
YCEE, the jagaban himself. He has done a lot to impose himself into the already crowded Music Industry. He's excellent at what he does, kudos to him. Great write-upReply Report