Tuesday, 23 April 2024

On “Boy Alone” Deluxe, Omah Lay is a Different Soldier in the Same War

‘’The war still rages within but the soldier is more nuanced and pacific’’

Omah Lay (@omah_lay)

Melancholic, severe, and debilitatingly relative, everyone knows now that Omah Lay’s purple patch was wrought from existential despair. Boy Alone is famously an entropy of Lay’s buried emotions. It is a diary of his personal struggles. For inspiration, Omah Lay referred to stark self. He moved into a mental house haunted by the ghosts of his late father, of Port Harcourt Waterside, of fame’s loneliness, & his own genius. However divine the result, on this project, the angels would take no credits. On Boy Alone, the Artist has never been more present.

It was not immediately apparent what he had done. When Omah Lay dropped Boy Alone in July 2022, this writer was not immediately drawn into the morose soundscape the singer had created. I had a few favorites of course. ‘Bend You’ was my immediate bias. It is raunchy, and decadent- but coated in that deceptively righteous vocals of Omah Lay, you might not catch on quick. ‘I’m a Mess’ appealed to my inner tiredness. It afforded me justification for the Saturday nights I’ve spent drinking alcohol alone- after all, I too do not know how to keep company.

However, like a malignant tumor, slowly but viscerally, other songs on the project lodged themselves in my sonic subconscious. Someone once told me a true artist is God’s ultimate conduit. When you meet the incredible, you will know without question. You will love it and you will fear it. You will require no validation, ask that nothing be added or removed.

‘Never forget’ made me pay attention. On my usual work commute, a traffic-laden late night drive from Victoria island to Alapere, I found Omah Lay’s grief weaved so brilliantly and covertly into a song. To me, Never Forget was a war chant as the singer defiantly ventures into his darkness. Here, Omah Lay eulogizes his dead father. He chants his name as a priest would God. Lay Immortalizes his progenitor in what would be the album’s most important composition for me.

I found ‘Temptation’ soon after. Handmade joints will never get a better serenade and I will never look at Omah Lay’s artistry again without reverence.

‘Soso’ would catalyze the album’s commercial success. The highly pensive tune made us touch the center of our collective sorrows. It is beautiful in the way dark things are. It brought with it the comfort of knowing that we are all in need of some form of relief. Misery loves company. 

Many would tell you, Boy Alone was 2022’s best Afrobeats project. Others would say it is the best ever.

Me? I wondered, what comes next.

Exactly a year after Boy Alone, Omah Lay released Boy Alone Deluxe. He added six new songs to the project, including his Soso remix with Pueto Rican superstar, Ozuna. On the Deluxe, this writer hears a new character is Omah Lay’s erstwhile desolate world. The war still rages within but the soldier is more nuanced and pacific. While he’s still fighting, on ‘Reason’, he therapizes his muse. On ‘Come Closer’ he wants to teach her how to win against her insecurities even as he battles his. On ‘It’s Yours’ he sings of want, of loyalty and camaraderie. On ‘Imagine’ with British rapper, Aitch, Omah Lay is learning to let go. On ‘Joanna’, Omah Lay is a hopeless romantic in the belligerent way only a boy from Marine Base can be.

Already enjoying critical acclaim, on Boy Alone Deluxe, Omah Lay solidifies his claim as one of Afrobeats most proficient storytellers, and perhaps most importantly- its most honest. The story goes one. The life of an artist oscillates between ecstasy and agony. The boy is still alone, but now he sees beyond his own darkness. He has shored the fragments of everyday life against his own ruins. Omah Lay is finding purchase in the loneliness of others, and in the pursuit of ordinary things.

Progress, Stanley. Progress! 

I don’t know if you think this is the best Afrobeats deluxe of the year. Or if you think it is the best deluxe ever…

This writer is just wondering, what comes next?

Think Piece on Omah Lay’s “Boy Alone”, written by Tope Agbeyo. (Twitter: @tope_docx, IG: tope.docx)

Related posts
EPs & MixtapesNewsNigerian

Seyi Vibez Unveils New Label Signings and Teases Upcoming Joint Mixtape

The trend of young artists establishing independent record labels and signing new talent is one that…
Read more

ODUMODUBLVCK's "Eziokwu" Surpasses 150M Spotify Streams

ODUMODUBLVCK continues to solidify his legacy in the hip-hop scene with his latest project…
Read more
New ReleasesNigerianReviews

On ‘On Code’, BigZiq Gets Off To A Supercharged Start

After a pulsating wait, rising Hip-Hop act BigZiq formally commenced his Hip-Hop journey with the…
Read more

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *