Saturday, 20 April 2024
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Skepta and Portable’s ‘Tony Montana’ Is An Unlikely Delight

A Skepta and Portable collaboration, ‘Tony Montana’, is one of the unlikeliest in recent times. For the most part, it works.

'Tony Montana' Cover art.

Skepta is no stranger to collaborations with Nigerian-born artistes. While having notably worked with Wizkid, Davido and Rema, Skepta teamed up ODUMODUBLVCK on ‘Jangrova’, released in January 2024. Conversely, the single is Portable’s first ‘international’ collaboration.

At first glance, Skepta and Portable exist on opposite ends of different spectrums. The diaspora and the home front. British Hip-Hop and Nigeria Street-Hop. Established international act and upcoming local act. A refined approach and a raw, evolving one. It all comes to a head on the single, ‘Tony Montana’, buoyed by insurgent instrumentals.

Portable’s hook is catchy and serviceable, with the latter description also applicable to Skepta’s narrative bars. Some listeners may find Skepta speaking Yoruba and Pidgin English jarring, but it is all part of the crossover experience. However, Skepta’s literal spelling out of ‘shokolobangoshe‘ is more divisive. One is either indifferent or disapproving of the line, but it does not matter much.

Portable’s sound is intact on the song, seemingly refined by the stellar production quality. His fans would particularly love his brief solo moment in the concluding moments.

Skepta and Portable.
Skepta and Portable in the ‘Tony Montana’ music video.

However, the single does not break much ground for Skepta, artistically. A case may be made for experimentation and unpredictability, but the point remains. Portable is the bigger beneficiary of the feature, but that is presumably the core objective of the track.

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