Saturday, 30 June 2012

Episode 17: Bionic - Breaking the Silence (Album Review)

     Hi guys! First let me apologize for not posting anything on E3 2012 like I said I would. I haven't had much time for blogging because of my exams but I did publish an E3 RSS application and put it up to be downloaded for free. I haven't posted anything for a month but I'll soon be done with exams and will continue posting about Project Monkey on the 15th of July, 2012. Today, I want to post my first music album review. If you wanted a review on a popular album, you probably have much more professional sites to check, so I decided to review the debut album of one of Nigeria's upcoming rappers. This way, both my Nigerian and non-Nigerian readers will probably have something new to see here, instead of reading just another review for an album you already know very well.
The Album Cover
        I will review the album first, then talk about the artist at the end of the review. Breaking the silence is a rap album that I can summarize in one word: DIFFERENT. If you aren't Nigerian and haven't listen to a Nigerian album before, it will definitely be different to you, but I mean it sounds different even when compared with other Nigerian albums. So different, that I didn't like most of the songs at first until I warmed up to the unique style. Bionic raps in English and Igbo (one of the major Nigerian languages) and while that is common among Nigerian rappers, he doesn't swear at all, doesn't rap about women, money or many other topics that rappers beat to death, and this is where he starts to sound different. His verses sound like poems recited over hip hop beats, which means you might have to listen to a song multiple times to decipher the poems. There is more focus on this poetry than the punch lines most new rappers are known to work so hard at "spitting".
         Many people listen to hip hop just to enjoy the beats, and might not even really hear the lyrics of a song. If you fall into that category, breaking the silence has thirteen tracks, and almost all have really catchy beats. Some are typical hip hop beats, while others sound more like traditional Igbo drums, the latter making up some of the more unique sounds on the album. About half of the songs feature other Nigerian artists. Not many big names but three tracks are produced by J Martins (he even sings on one of them), one track is produced by Jeremiah Gyang and Waje is featured on one track. You can jump to the bottom of this page for details on where to get the album but first,
        A quick opinion on each track in the album (click on song to listen):
1. Succumb -  The chorus, "Amanuwa ah succumbuo", means "this season has given in" or "the era has acquiesced" or "the time is now". Probably has more Igbo than any other song on the album, but is also one of the catchiest tunes. Nice way to open the show.
2. Jones - Good beat with a typical old school rap chorus, meaning the chorus sounds like rap, not R & B or pop.
3. Tuale - Instead of a "diss song", Bionic does a "respect song". Tuale is a street slang for greeting one of higher respect than the greeter and the featured singer Ajuju does a good job of complimenting Bionic's style. I think it's the only song with Yoruba (another Nigerian langauge) in it.
4. The Most Amazing (Missing) - Catchy beat with old school rap chorus. Since he's hyping himself here, its the closest you'll hear to dissing on this album.
5. Rythm of my muthaland - I hardly recommend this song, even to non-Nigerians. It's in English throughout, is highly poetic, has an igbo beat, and the most unique chorus on the album. The chorus sounds like a comic mimicry of Igbo drums, where he literally yells "Patam Patam Potom!"
6. Show and Prove - Three other artists are featured here. It sounds like an old school Ludacris song. "Prove your dues, and please bring original receipt" - a very Nigerian punchline!
7. I luv you(ft J Martins) - Every rap album needs at least one love song. "You be ajebutter, well guess what, I bake bread!" - another very Nigerian punchline!
8. I luv you remix - Sounds less sleep inducing than the original, otherwise, almost the same song as the first.
9. Big Time Hustler - I want to see a video of this song. It's a tag team rap song where Bionic and Sugarboy play a master and a street-rat that has been taught to hustle (lie, steal, cheat). The dialogue and story are intriguing.
10. Mma Mma - Mma Mma means good tidings. He reenacts the popular South African song "Nsiko Lele Africa" (not sure of the spelling). The song is a prayer that says "God bless Nigeria and her inhabitants, God bless Africa and her inhabitants".
11. Chelu - An old school sound featuring a whistle and slow guitar (kinda like Wyclef and the Fugees). Bionic is basically giving some advice about life.
12. No Way - My favorite track on the album. It's a motivational song with an awesome beat and flow, Mamiska (a lady) sings a nice chorus and bridge, and the third verse is in Igbo.
13. Outro Throw Out - Bionic recites a poem over the sound of a heartbeat monitor. I still haven't decoded it, but I like lines like "I am a racist. You know, I mean lyrically! Face it".

                                             Succumb Official Video

          Overall, I say it's a very solid offering for a debut but still has a lot of space for improvement. I'd score it about 7.5 out of 10. If I had to suggest only three songs, I'd say "No Way", "Rhythm of my Muthaland" and "Outro Throw Out" (because trying to decipher the poem adds to the replay value". But then you'll be missing out on Tuale and Succumb so you'll probably wanna hear at least five tracks. You can buy each track for a dollar here, apart from the remix to I luv you, which can only be heard on a physical copy of the album. In Nigeria, you can get the album at The Hub Store at The Palms in Lagos, at The Hub Store, Polo Park Mall, Enugu or at ND Records, Road 23, Festac, Lagos. Visit Bionic's reverbnation page for more info on the artiste, follow @hilltownbionic on twitter or check out his Facebook fan page. If you do check out the album, let me know what you think in the comments section.

It's too bad he doesn't play basketball, I think he's about 6ft 6inches tall!

1 comment:

  1. Nominate Bionic for the Hip Hop World Awards!
    Use these details:
    Artist Name: Bionic
    Single: "Tuale" feat. Ajuju


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