Album: 27 (2017)
Folarain Falana’s 3rd studio album is another strong repertoire of songs just like his sophomore; Stories That Touch. And while the sophomore was filled with inspirational, humorous and even instructional stories that actually touched; 27 is simply rap that pops.
It’s a fusion of rap and pop that’s perfectly mixed and served as a great tasting cocktail. Folks believe rappers are not as big in Nigeria because in a country that is so stressful, who wants added work trying to decode strong and viable rap lines. So a lot of them (save for Boogey and a few others) settle and become rappers that sing. Thankfully, in Falz’s case, it doesn’t feel like settling. He fuses both genres and puts out enjoyable records like; Jeje (track 4) or La Fete (track 2) with the added flavor of French.
As the best of rap lines go, there is proper use of metaphors throughout the album and smart play-around with words such as; …that thing you do dey tickle my ‘likkle’ soldier… and …if you think I give a damn, you’re damn right… on I Get it (track 10)
The ‘razz boy’ persona is a lot of Falz’s unique selling point but Polished (track 1) is a reminder that he is still very sophisticated with an acumen for the big designers and a taste for the finest things money can buy, even adopting the Queen’s English to further drive home his point. The versatile Lamba Song (track 7) is in direct juxtaposition as the unpolished Falz rears his head.
Rap can elicit a number of emotions from you; anger, the need to swipe at everything with a baton, invincibility and more. One of which is the push to dance and that’s why La Fete (track 2) is; part pop, part rap. Added flavor is the French.
Burna Boy has a litany of records, some; stellar, others; lackluster. But when Burna shines, he does so brightly like his outing on Alright (track 3). Worthy of commendation is the seamless transfer from Burna to Falz and if you aren’t listening intently, you’d almost think Burna is the same voice on the second verse, but it’s Falz, surprisingly, singing in the same key.
Every rapper has that one vocalist that complements their bars, so well, with a hot hook and that’s Sir Dauda’s role on Boogie (track 6), which sounds like a rap song from the 90’s- way before mumble and trap rap became the main-stay- and the socially conscious Confirm (track 14) which preaches against internet fraud and advocates contentment.
Life isn’t always about the party and Falz aptly approaches the dreary side of life on Child of the World (track 5), when an uncle rapes his niece. It scores huge points for Falz because the tempo and aura perfectly conveys the grief of the song; it’s not a socially conscious song on a party beat, it’s properly done. As the story unfolds, even as the protagonist contracts HIV, she manages to turn her life around. This is telling of Falz’s dexterity as a rapper able to use his rap to not only spin humour or make things pop but convey real life stories as he did, again, on Get Me (track 8).
Money (track 13) ft. Terry Apala is the vent of a money-lender and runs along the lines of Rihanna’s Bitch Better Have My Money
Maleek Berry brings the urbane movement with his trap influenced rap on Next (track 15) further spiced with the unmistakable Ghanaian vibe from Medikal.
27 is proof that rap can sell in Nigeria and also sell out shows, too. The rapper just has to find an approach that works. Possibly sell out, like Falz, without really selling out. Or better still, pop up the rap.