On October 8, 2020, legendary Nigerian rapper and superstar artist, Olamide released his 10th solo body of work and 11th overall, ‘Carpe Diem.’
The 12-track album features Fireboy Omah Lay, Bella Shmurda, Phyno, Bad Boy Timz and Peruzzi.
Production is handled mostly by 18-year-old prodigy, P-Priime, but he was supported by Pheelz, ID Cabasa, VStix and Young Jonn.
The album is the culmination of Olamide’s February 18, 2020 announcement of his label’s deal with EMPIRE Distribution.
Time to get to work and serve you guys new Baddo album and new Fireboy album 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 who’s ready ? #YBNLEMPIRE
— Olamidé (@Olamide) February 18, 2020
At the time, he wrote, “Time to get to work and serve you guys new Baddo album and new Fireboy album.”
The project is a reflection of my mind, and also the current sound brewing underground in Nigeria,” Olamide says. “It’s a combination of a lot of traditional elements and also a sound from way back in Nigeria called galala, which has a little bit of reggae/dancehall. It’s also a fusion of something we call Celestial, which is when you are playing secular music in church. It’s like taking pop to the church.”
Here are five talking points from CARPE DIEM;
1.) Olamide Is Much Calmer And This Album Is Good
After the debacle that was ‘999,’ on which Olamide first attempted a needed evolution, the legend’s next album had to make sense. While Olamide now has an affiliation to EMPIRE, his music is calmer and more substantiated. He attempts more resonant topics and steps away from his ‘street-heavy’ brand and into a calmer, pop persona.
Largely, Olamide simply seeks to appeal to a female audience with love tunes and songs that speak about life generally. He is more resonant and mature, away from the vulgarity and profane language.
While we still got the street-heavy language on ‘Green Light,’ ‘Do Better’ and ‘Chilalo,’ they were not really pronounced. More of this on the review (to be drop soon)…
Essentially, this album is like merging Olamide of ‘Rich and Famous,’ and Fireboy’s ‘Afar‘ with the Olamide of ‘Melo Melo.’
While he was caught in a riptide between his more familiar street-heavy brand while aiming to evolve on ‘999,’ he chose the wrong path by trying to prove a point that he could rap in English. Here, he gets it right. Even the beats are right – his sound engineering, which he usually gets wrong is also improved.
2.) No Feature Is Out Of Place
After Lagos Nawa, ‘Carpe Diem‘ is Olamide’s album with the second least features at six. The good thing is that no feature feels out of place – everybody brings something great to the table.
However, Peruzzi, Omah Lay, Bad Boy Timz and Bella Shmurda stand out.
3.) ‘Carpe Diem’ Is Short And Concise
This album is definitely album is Olamide’s shortest body of work at 12 tracks and 38 minutes. This is of course after the 30-minute EP, ‘999‘ and the collaborative album, 2 Kings with Phyno.
This shows that Olamide is aligning with more contemporary standards of the short attention spans of Gen Z and young millennials and the realities of the streaming era. In the past, his albums were at least 17 tracks long like…
4.) The Singles Are The Weakest Songs On This Project
This is actually baffling and quite complimentary of ‘Carpe Diem.’ Standout tracks from the album are ‘Infinity,’ ‘Triumphant,’ ‘Loading,’ ‘Shilalo’ and ‘Plenty.’ However, this writer’s favourites are actually ‘Do Better’ and ‘Unconditionally.’ That’s five of the 12 tracks – two of those are singles.
This album will be a slow-burn. Olamide must make sure that it remains in heavy rotation and in people’s faces till they actually listen to it like they should. This is because on the first few listens, only a few songs will truly resonate with most people. While those songs are good, they lack the ‘ooomph’ that songs require in this microwave generation.
And there goes the critique of this album. While the production is brilliant, featuring Olamide’s most melodious beat selection yet and the album has impressive sonic cohesion, a lot of the production seems cut from the same cloth. This might be because P-Priime produced a chunk of the album.
While the prodigiously talented producer showed incredible bandwidth to produce a significant part of a legend’s important album, it’s also apparent that he is a young producer. His production is stylistically expansive and diverse, but the beats share a similar form, structure and instrumentation.
These things sort of affect the sonic experience that ‘Carpe Diem‘ promised. It felt like eating a perfect plate of firewood jollof rice at an owambe and drinking Satzenbrau with it when you should be drinking something slightly higher up. It’s not a story of inherent lack of quality, it’s a question of imperfections.
The good thing is that the album doesn’t have any fillers. The standard should have risen in certain parts, but it never dropped. More than anything, Olamide deserves his creditfor this album. Even though you could have had Orijin, manage the Satzenbrau. Beer na beer, alaye…
See you at the review…