Omawumi takes us on a nostalgic journey, rewinding times to the good ol’ days when her powerful vocals were the staple for RnB excellence in the country, whilst drawing from more contemporary influences to evoke a meaningful sonic evolution.
Even if you can’t mention 5 Omawumi songs off the top of your head, chances are her vocals will forever remain iconic and evergreen, burnt into your memory if you were a music head alive in the last decade. Asides from her vocals, her knack for poignant storytelling and ability to stir emotions is also like no other and it’s not just on her own songs. One of the most iconic songs of the late rapper, Dagrin Thank God was only made even more resonant and powerful because of Omawumi’s delivery.
Across eight songs, Omawumi seeks to reinvent herself in an industry that has immensely changed since her era and she does so beautifully, fusing elements from pop, highlife, traditional folk music and even Dancehall to create a potpourri of steaming delicious music. On EP opener, Thank God, Omawumi does the quintessential thing of her generation and kicks off the album with gratitude on her lips. She interpolates a gospel line cleverly, which only works in upping the nostalgia and making the sentiment more effective.
On the next track, Try Omawumi is a jaded lover and goes on to lament that her lover isn’t doing enough for her and she’s sick of the bare minimum. She sounds like she’s given up and is only lamenting, as opposed to still drowning in her lover’s antics and hoping he changes. It’s a reggae song but she effortlessly morphs into that soundscape with rich vocals and so much ease, that you forget it’s not familiar territory. Her writing is omce again powerful, but it’s hard not to miss that whilst getting delirious on her vocals.
She returns to familiar RnB fusion territory with More ft. Psycho YP, where the Abuja based rapper brings the needed dynamism and breath of fresh air that could prove pivotal to making the song appeal to younger demographics, because in itself it’s an old soul western RnB record. Psycho understands the assignment is more about resonance than impressive showmanship of bars and does the needed.
Love You Well ft. Yemi Alade has the sort of drum rolls, arrangement and snares that makes you reminisce about an earlier era of Nigerian pop music and you can tell it’s an intentional throwback record, from the flow cadences of the artist on the song and it works, because whilst the flow schemes might be derivative—the song sounds pristine and good. It does not necessarily balance the mainstream appeal of a younger audience though, but Omawumi is allowed one record to appeal to only the oldies.
Yolo ft. Cobhams Asuquo and Timi Dakolo places soulful classical guitar strings over an archetype Afropop beat template with a call and response format, that’s become dominant in the industry recently and it works to the tee. No Be Play is an highlife record with jazz horns and Flamenco infusion, that’s perhaps the most ambitious record. Despite it being very experimental, Omawumi manages to keep it rooted in the sonics so it still felt very Nigerian, despite the sonic influences.
There is still that cultural element in Fear in the manner of visceral drum progression and subtle shakers and when the curtains finally close on Auzubillahi, Omawumi is politically charged on a mission. This isn’t something she’s shied away from in the past and is in fact, familiar terrain for her in some way. Whilst it might not be the most resonant song on the EP, it’s still crucial that she retains her identity as an artist and doesn’t lose her soul in the bid of evolving.
Omawumi’s More is enjoyable music that’s very accesible and easy to get into. It’s not exactly grand or conceptual with its themes, narratives or sonics but it’s powerful nonetheless as it’s powered by lush vocals and impressive penmanship that many would find relatable. Which is the point of a comeback project like this one, anyways.
Sonic Cohesion: 1.4/2
Unharried Transitions: 1.4/2
Expansive Production: 1.3/2
Songwriting & Delivery: 1.5/2
Optimal Track Sequencing: 1.5/2
—written by T.J. Martins, an avid lover of music,