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ALBUM: YAGI (Young And Getting it).

ARTISTE: Lil Kesh

Keshinro Ololade, a.k.a Lil Kesh, was only 18 when Olamide offered him a record deal in 2014 and even though very little was known about him or his music, people lent him their ear and attention because the connoisseur of hits, Baddo Sneh (Olamide), had vouched for him. Before long he released his first single, as a bonafide artiste under YBNL Nation, Shoki, and in no time, it became a monstrous hit.

People of different age groups knew the song. Lil Kesh had arrived.

Fast forward to sometime in March 2016, and armed with plenty of success and accolades, he released his debut album, YAGI (Young And Getting it) and at the end of this year, when the best albums are being listed, this should hold down one of the top spots. Comfortably.

It’s an album that entertains. It’s also an album that’s emotional and inspires as Lil Kesh reflects about the bad old days but not in a regretful manner. Also, if you thought all he knows how to do is drop some heavy bars, this album will shake that thought process as he sings quite well.

FSU (Fuck Shit Up) (track 1) is an instant banger. It doesn’t have to grow on anyone or anything. It’s a brazen show of Kesh’s dexterity as a rapper and he owns it which is why he raps stuff like: “They say Kesh is our next rated, fuck that, I feel like I am the best rated.” And, “I’m that kind of rapper that makes rappers lose their appetite.” Boss. Enough said.

One of the delightful things about Ishe (track 2) is the particular instrumentation the song starts with which continues, as a baseline, throughout the song. Other delightful points are Kesh recounting the huge sacrifices his mother made and the infectious hook. The Yoruba cultural lilt and tone is the bane of Semilore (track 3) as Kesh gives glory to God. It’s also a well produced song.

The first skit (track 4) is heavy with street language and demeanor. This leads to energetic and gripping Cause Trouble (track 5) which features Ycee. Concrete rap is the order of the day on Abua Wara (track 6) and it is creative with the infusion of the Yoruba incantation like chants: Lil Kesh starts off with some top notch stuff and Chinko and Phyno collect the baton at appropriate times and don’t falter or slow down the pace. Triple delight.

Is it Because I Love You (track 7), which features Patoranking, is another pop thrill. When compared to its predecessors, Jabo (track 8), is the first average song and only so, not because it is actually average but because the songs before it had set a pretty high standard. Itunmo (track 9) is Kesh’s song but his feature, Zino, surprisingly, shunts Lil Kesh to the side, with his R&B-esque delivery.

For You (track 10) is one of the best songs of the album and considering how good most of the songs are, this is a huge feat. It’s in contrast to the usually hyper Lil Kesh as he opts for a gentle tone, to woo a lady. It has Hausa and Yoruba leanings with vocal runs and is euphoric in its mellow-ness. It’s a song that convinces of Lil Kesh’s  ability to sing and if sung, in the exact same way with same instrumentation to any lady, it should do the trick and have her cheeks plump and rosy from the continuous smile this song will plant on her face.

The second skit (track 11) is funnier than the first, especially when the comedian says: “I know you love me but you love my money.” Efejoku (track 12) is another well produced party starter as assisted by his label mate, Viktoh, who is equally talented. The same applies to Ibile (track 17). Wale’s western influenced rap fits the locally groomed and energetic tone of Cause Trouble (track 13).

Olamide is only a feature on Problem Child (track 14) but that doesn’t deter him from showing off on a song that’s not his. It’s rap that’s ballsy. Life of a Star (track 15) got it right in many ways: from Pheelz’s country-esque production, to Adekunle Gold’s sonorous rendition, Lil Kesh’s playful and rhyme-like rap, the choral male voices and the telling of the ups and downs of being a star.

Igba Iponju (track 16) is laden with emotion and pain of past hurts but balances out with renewed hope because things have worked out for Kesh: The calmer Kesh comes to the fore again, on this song. Davido features on Yaya Yoyo (track 18) and while it’s not bad, it neither added nor took from the song as it could have managed without the feature.  Lil Kesh calls himself a rapper and since he has been adjudged a good one, it is only right he can ‘wax lyrical’ on call and that is what he does on Lyrically (track 19).

It’s a good debut and more than anything, Kesh has proven this is no child’s play for him. He means business and YAGI is proof.

Written by: Ade Tayo