When ID37 camp shot me this email awhile back, I was almost done for the year – eagerly awaiting to take that much deserved break for my Medulla and a knock out sked for the Liver(read drinking), in form of the Christmas festivities. Two things; we have developed a mutual respect with the brothers at ID37 and I always attend to their mails, but I knew I was not in any good writing frame. I was bleary, frazzled and limp. The year had been tough on me, especially on my creative juices. I seriously needed that rejuvenation.
Secondly, I had been following up on Fecko’s moves for a minute and writing a hurried piece on his hard work would be, to say the least, insulting to his art. So I wrote back to the camp and requested to check it first thing January, shut down my PC and swoosh! The business was closed like a Nun’s legs.
But that’s not the whole story. Being in love with music is a taut relationship. A bewitchingly alluring one. Sometime during the Christmas break,my itchy fingers pressed the power button and I sat there, mutely listening to the PC hiss itself to life. Like a snake manouvering through a thicket of grass, searching for Eve, to decieve. It only found Caro! Hahaa. When Caro finally came to, I opened that email and clicked on the EP link attached. It was a soundcloud one. No download, just streaming. Sigh. I don’t know about my good people over there in Oba, Anambra but the internet gods in Nairobi are always uncooperative. Take this day for example; I had just dreamt that our Lord and saviour had decended upon us and (being the fair God he is) chosen me to ascend with him back to Heaven (obviously – I’m Holly). But just like that stubbon man in the good book, I said to our saviour, “Ooh Thy Kingdom be praised sir, but Fecko just dropped this dope ass EP and it would be unfair to get to your heavenly place without giving it a single listen. I kid you not sweet Jesus, It will be a minute. Just one shot.” Funny enough, He permitted me. Who dare refuses ART? Thus, when I woke up, I went straight to the PC to sample that EP. Only that the good people at Zuku are not as kind. The internet was draggingly slow. Sic.
Never one to give up easily, I gave it another shot 3 days later and viola! It played!. But I had to wait for January for all the merrymakers to shunt their cerebellum back to work mode. And it took eons. Here we are, tardily.
I’ve just given y’all four paragraphs of intro, surely. Do we need anything more? Maybe an encore….
FELA MUST RISE
From the title, I presumed the song was a tribute to Fela Kuti, as in, Fela (Kuti) must rise. Wrong me, maybe? Propitiously, it offers an immaculately warm welcome to the project. At exactly 20 seconds in, amidst a combination of drums, hi hats, jingles and what sounds like a low key rhythmic piano, Fecko starts his verse with Drake’s reknowned ‘started from the bottom’ slogan. Unlike the Toronto rapper, Fecko must have really started from the bottom, but he vowed to never kiss bottoms. When the hook comes on 58 seconds later, it takes me to my initial assumptions concerning the title. The hook is a powerfully uplifting African chant of self motivation. A clearly Fela inspired delivery. And he must RISE.
The second verse is just as strong as the previous. Fecko means business, evidently. Zilla got a call from Fecko like yo, big man, let’s create some classic art and he was like, yo, say no more homie, I got this. Let’s see what else is rising.
I NO WANT FAKE
This is why it will be very hard to convince me that Nigerians were not the first Africans to get on that slave ship. Their English is just like Black Americans. The Queen says; I don’t want fake or I want no fake. Nigerian says I no want fake. Africans are Kings, the King wins.
Teck takes us back to the Hip Hop golden era with this one. The instrumentals are reminisce of old skool hip hop. So I’ll boogie along to this. As if that’s not gem enough, Fecko brings on non other than the legendary Modenine. When was the last time you heard Mode9? Liars and pretenders, over to that corner. You’ll be purnished by your own guilt.
Mode is here spitting 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 🔥 like a hurt Daenerys Targaryen’s Drogon. I’m not too familiar with Maka and Villy but the whole body is a compact one which means every artist pulled their ends so tight. I for once love the dancehall/reggea smitherens. Go listen.
Heh! Gotta love our brothers from the land of plantain, rice and Onugbu soup. As if Ojuelegba wasn’t enough of an enigma already, now we have to do more R and D around the meaning of Ladugbomi (which might just be a name to some indeginious plant that miraculously turns itself into a cat at night). But mystery is the beauty of art, isn’t it?
Anyhow, Tupeng offers some refreshing contribution to this single. First, his vocals and melody are rough, raw and and ultimately ear candy. Hey, when you are used to hearing irritatingly autotuned vocals on a repetitive afrobeats, you will absolutely appreciate some good Nigerian Hip Hop. This is like one of those Ghetto gospels. I kid you not, give this jam a decent ‘Nigerian’ video and we are talking about a Channel O, MTV Base, Trace and a Sound City chat topper. Also, in my other life, I was a failed clairvoyant (which is still better than a Naija movie devil who removes his shoes while getting in the house 😂😂😂😂😂).
Zilla made this track a favorite by using minimal elements on the instrumentals, making the vocals more audible and enabling the focus to be on the lyrical content of the two artists. Did I already mention that Teck Zilla is genius? We can always say it again. And again.
The intro to this is a playful one. I just find myself smiling as it starts. There is not much to be said about an interlude because they are just, well, interludes. However, Fecko still flexes on his interlude with some mean bars. Ensuring that we know how high he is raising the bar for his peers.(If whiskey is served in this bar, you’ll have to let me in man. We are family, right?)
No African man worth his balls should have an entire lifetime without dedicating a moment to appreciate, uplift and celebrate the lords most angelically wonderful creations – the African Woman. This is Fecko’s devine epoch to opine on this motif. True to his nature as a well brought up African son, he brings along two Queens (female kings) to echo his epistle.
Now this is the music our mothers and sisters ought to listen to, while relentlessly pounding that yam.
I love Maka’s soulful vocals and Phlow can rap to me for as long she can breathe. This is the that sleek delivery that can ressurect our hero Mandela. The flow that can make Kwame smile and wave from his grave. Shit, this delivery can block Trump from the White House. Love and respect to every woman in the world, alive or resting with the angels. You are forever our Kings.
HUSTLE OVER FEELINGS (Rmx)
Guess who we have here? The East African King himself, Feisal! But hold your horses(we will need the hair still, for the weaves 😊😊😊). This right here is where Teck Zilla just threw a middle finger to the hot Saharan air and said ‘bring me all the drum kits.’ And it was done. When the original to this record was released, it generated a really good buzz and that prompted Fecko to work on a video… and a remix.
Are we talking Kanye’s Slow Jamz? Anyone? The instrument in itself is life. Sadly, it had to encounter the twin assassins, Shukid and Fecko. RIP in advance beat, we loved you nevertheless. They tackled it, going toe to toe, not willing to let the feelings win over the hustle. Another gem in the Ep. Nairobi is certainly represented.
The elephant in the room. A hook won’t be neccessary here dear brothers. We are talking about a cypher moment comprising of some of the best MCs in the continent; Kenya’s K. Jones, Malawi’s Dominant 1, Zambia’s Holstar, Rwanda’s Raiza Biza and Nigeria’s Fecko. This is strictly for the real Hip Hop fans, the lovers of ART. Who goes in harder? You decide. I’m tempted to quote all the lyrics for you to mull over.
Question is, how did Fecko manage to bring all these heavyweight MCs together for a project? Respect.
ART – Afrobeats, Rhythm & Truth is a comendable project from the duo of Fecko and Teck Zill. For some strange reasons, back in 2013, I used to think Zilla was Malawian. Hehee. What we have witnessed, in addition to formidable skills and harnessed craftsmanship, is the power of Networking. If all African artists would work together and cross these borders, we would really have more of these beautiful music and that will change the world. One song at a time. Fecko has done his bit (just tell us what Ladugbomi means broh and you’re free), Zilla too. So much respect to the two, especially for bringing Mode9 on board. God bless y’all.
How about the rest, what more is out there really?