Saturday, 20 April 2024

Joeboy’s “Osadebe” Is An Intentional Return To Form [Song Review]

Alongside Fireboy DML and Rema, Joeboy’s break out in 2019 was pivotal in resetting the sonic landscape of the Nigerian mainstream and ushering in a new vanguard of popstars, that could finally challenge the OG’s who had overstayed their welcome at the zenith of Nigerian music.

Joeboy new era
Joeboy new era

For the first time in 2019, with the insurgence of Fireboy DML, Rema and Joeboy—it finally felt like we had stars that not only had the charisma, intentionality and branding to challenge the OG’s (Wizkid, Davido, Burna, Olamide, Tiwa Savage etc) but most of all had wealth of immense talent to remain consistent. Since then, Rema and Fireboy DML have made huge strides that have earned them status as frontrunners of their generation, had multiple hit records and classic albums to their name and have both scored huge Afrobeats crossover hit songs that pushed Afrobeats farther on the international stage.

Joeboy on the other hand has done quite well for himself, cementing himself as a mainstay and a reliable hitmaker in the industry. He might not have clinched similar heights some of his peers have but it’s never been as a result of the quality of music. One could even argue that it’s solely down to the fact that he’s not had the strategic backing and resources that some of his peers have enjoyed. But hopefully, now that he’s beginning a beginning a new phase in partnership with Warner music, he can get his much needed moment.

Joeboy "Osadebe" cover
Joeboy “Osadebe” cover

The question though is, Osadebe that song? So far, the first quarter of this year has produced some really monotonous, horrible music. The industry is in need of a major sonic reset, as the current soundscape that’s thrived on Amapiano fusion templates and log drums is now stale, as the formular has been overflogged. Osadebe does conform to the dominant sound of Afro-Pop currently, but there is something inherently refreshing about it.

It’s quite minimalistic in nature. The production and delivery, in particular. The drums do have subtle shakers, but they are more of rippling under currents than they are billowing waves of water. Basically, they’re not in your face and it gives ample space for Joeboy to coast on said beat about lyrics that tread thematic arcs of living large and being the man.

Joeboy is one of the best writers around and he’s shown his ability to delve deep into topics and weave strong, relatable narratives out of them but he keeps it light on there and aims more for simplistic tesonance, rather than something grand. And it’s understandable, he’s a popstar in need of a major moment and who knows? Osadebe might turn out to generate said moment for him.

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