Adekunle Gold’s Golden Album or Just Shiny?
He’s a Lagos prince from Isale Eko (downtown Lagos) who goes by the moniker Adekunle ‘Gold’. Although he claims its adoption was inspired after a soul-shaking church service, overall it makes complete sense as gold and royalty are inextricably linked.
Nephew to the iconic Nollywood actor Jide Kosoko, Adekunle ‘Gold’ – whose last name is also Kosoko – is a maverick of sorts and not just musically. The alleged “King of Photoshop”, is also a talented graphic designer responsible for the YBNL logo – one he created before joining the label as a musical artiste.
It’s been almost a year since the ‘Gold’ album was released to much acclaim, and now even ardent disbelievers can unabashedly admit that Adekunle scored a vital point with it. If the award-winning single Sade served as an introduction, the ‘Gold’ album was his auto-biography.
It is roughly 1 hour, 12 minutes, and including the eponymous intro comprises a total of 16 tracks. No doubt, Adekunle Gold is a crooner but we can all agree he is not in the mould of the Wande Coals, Tjans or Timi Dakolos when it comes to vocalising. This is obvious from the beginning of the ‘Gold’ album where he chooses to sacrifice vocal showboating for simple and clear lyrics that combine beautifully to add depth to his storytelling.
Similar to his fashion sense, his lyrics are simple, even casual sometimes but there is nothing to suggest cheapness because they are creatively laden. The 16 songs on the album are prudently sequenced thematically, as well as aesthetically. The lingo is a mixture of Pidgin English, English and Yoruba while the genre is predominantly high-life (neo-highlife or urban highlife). Not surprisingly, he is reputed to have grown up on the sounds of King Sunny Ade and Sir Ebenezer Obey. The instrumentation on the album is flawless and does more than just support Adekunle’s vocals on the tracks, they immortalise his sound.
Many will agree no debut album is considered complete without a breakthrough song (especially in Nigeria) and this is what the ‘Gold’ intro does for this album. Accompanied with melodious piano sounds, it provides a short backstory for the album, the artiste –Adekunle Kosoko and how he got the ‘Gold’ moniker.
My Life is the classic ‘hater song’ every notable Nigerian artiste has done or been compelled to do at least once. It continues the story from where ‘Gold’ intro left off and emphasises Adekunle’s divinely inspired placement in the spotlight. The percussion is robust and will get everyone swaying immediately.
It seems every crooner worth his salt must do a love song or a wedding track. Beautiful Night ticks both boxes. Orente, the track after it also fits both labels although the two songs differ in sound and theme.
Thereafter, Adekunle explores the pain of unrequited love in Nurse Alabere. It is easy to dismiss it as a song for the lovelorn but a deeper reflection on its lyrics raises some questions; like was there a hint at euthanasia in it? But perhaps, one is just overstretching the context.
Friendzone is an anthem of sorts for all the brothers out there who have been rejected by a woman. As is the norm, it blends in well after the preceding track. In Paradise, we can assume our ‘friendzoned’ brother has moved on and found his missing rib. It is beautiful as far as love ballads go. Adekunle combines simplicity and street lingo elegantly on this one.
The doe-faced Simi collaborates with him on No Forget to produce what might go on to be one of Nigeria’s most classic love duets. Needless to say, the language is once again as easy as it is exquisite.
While they differ in many respects, Pick up, Work and Ariwo Ko all espouse the benefits of hard work, honesty and integrity. The overarching theme is success. Temptation which comes before Ariwo Ko (track 12 on the album) is about an unusually explored theme – adultery. If nothing else, the storytelling on this song is superb.
Adekunle Gold is chivalrous in Fight for You. Where he shuns his friend’s wife in Temptation, here he’s ready to throw a gauntlet and also fire his bajinotu (dane gun) to rescue Awelewa (a damsel) from an abusive relationship.
If perhaps Awelewa didn’t understand the message enough in Fight for You, Adekunle Gold reinforces his point in Ready where he emphasises that he’s ready to love and that he’s single and searching. Overall, the sound is upbeat and carefree.
Sweet Me is highlife all through as we know it to be without the distractions of new pop culture. Sade is the last song but definitely not the least – considered to be Adekunle Gold’s breakthrough single, it is a sombre-sounding track that does well to round up the album.
The album for me is a 10 over 10.
July 26, 2019