A review of ‘Sideh Kai’ by Nigerian rapper Illbliss

15 years after releasing his debut album ‘Dat Ibo Boy’, Illbliss looks back on his journey to fame which forms the blueprint for those who came after him. As the head of the family, Illbliss deploys a communal approach in celebrating his success and highlighting his status in the game.

A student of hip hop and a battle-tested veteran of Nigerian music with the success to match, on ‘Sideh Kai’ Illbliss makes an album that brings together the generation of listeners who have followed his music.

His chest-thumping and thought-provoking lines while infectious and awe-inspiring can be overwhelming for the average listener. Illbliss manages this by exploring a robust collection of beats and recruiting the assistance of exciting artists for a rounded project.

He explores contemporary hip hop on the opening three records as the album kicked off with a strong note with Illbliss celebrating his success and holding up the communal accomplishments of his people as he proudly wears the Igbo Boy cap in a decided effort to say that his people will never be silence and suppressed as the country gets increasingly divided between ethno-religious lines.

He takes on the role of a professor of the game on the glorious ‘Masterclass’ where he delivers a tribute to hip-hop while leaving strong words for armchair sleuths who have a lot to say about hip-hop’s decline in Nigeria. Illbliss recruits rappers M.I Abaga, Vector, and Reminisce as visiting professors who share insights into the making of a Nigerian hip-hop great.

On the Suspect-produced bouncy ‘Full Chest’ Illbliss’ self-adulation and nod to the crop of producers shaping Afrobeats is perfectly complemented by the current face of Nigerian hip hop ODUMODUBLVCK who knows a thing or two about making chest-thumping records.

Making records that appeal to listeners outside hip hop contributed to the success of Nigerian hip hop greats as Reminisce‘s cameo highlighted in ‘Masterclass’. Illbliss has a fine collection of Afrobeats hits and he moves to add to them through an infusion of Igbo indigenous music alongside the sensational Highlife duo Umu Obiligo on ‘Chukwu Ebuka’ which can be expected to soundtrack parties in Eastern Nigeria. He partners with Fave and Teni who lay smooth hooks on pop records where Illbliss sues for peace of mind and covers his partner in superlatives.

Illbliss loves working with the younger generation. As a label boss, he oversaw the development and mainstream success of Phyno and Chidimna. As an artist, Illbliss has consistently collaborated with younger artists even taking the back seat while at it. While appearing on the Terms & Conditions Podcast, he narrated how he was A&Rd by Reekado Banks on their 2016 hit collaboration ‘OMG’.

‘Gen Z’ is Illbliss’ tribute to the fire of defiance and creativity that burns in Nigeria’s young generation. It’s also an indictment of the corrupt ruling class who continues to attempt to quench this fire. He partners with Cobhams Asuquo and Made Kuti for the Afrobeat styled ‘Spirit’ which hails the Nigerian resilience to keep forging ahead and occupying space while taking a dig at those at the seat of power.

While Illbliss enjoys flaunting his success, some things matter to the rapper more than the size of his bank account, impressive discography, and hip-hop status. The album title ‘Sideh Kai’, is a portmanteau of his daughters’ names and a prominent statement of his status as a family man. In ‘Daughters’ and ‘Maale,’ he cheerfully serenades his daughters, extols his wife, and pays a moving tribute to his mother.

Although Illbliss doesn’t shy away from acknowledging and flaunting his status and success in the game, he maintains an admirable level of self-awareness that shines through his music and persona.

This self-awareness allows him to appreciate his position as a torchbearer and prominent voice who must speak up for his people. It helps him to appreciate the collective efforts of his peers in growing Nigerian hip-hop and acknowledge the efforts of the future generation. Self-awareness helps him to stay grounded as a family man. Above all, self-awareness allows him to recruit the assistance of young artists and producers who help him add a modern touch to ‘Sideh Kai’ while retaining the essence that makes him the Oga(Big) Boss of the Nigerian music industry.

Songwriting, Themes, and Delivery: 1.7/2

Enjoyability and Satisfaction: 1.6/2

Source link