Humour, punch lines, and catchy beats. Those are the words that would be emblazoned on any review of Allow Me to be Frank, an EP released by upcoming rapper Chidey. Sampling audio from Scarface and Bob Marley’s discography, and with talented producers like SynX and Mr Bangs, Chidey has, to be frank, created very impressive sonic art.
He has created sounds which are on the crossroads where satirical lyrics and danceable tunes meet, Igbo and pidgin collide, pun filled rapping and soulful vocals converge, all to create a one of a kind collection of awesome music you’d definitely want to add to your playlist.
Reviewed by Chigozie Joshua, there are seven songs in the EP which begins with STIR IT UP FEAT BOB MARLEY AND THE WAILERS. Here Chidey samples Bob Marley’s classic and does quite well. It would have been very challenging and daring to do this, yet he manages to infuse his sound, blend it with the classic, and produced something different and really pleasant to listen to.
Chidey thrives when rapping in songs fewer than 100 beats per minute; he clearly chose the right song to sample. I’d say this was a great appetizer to the main dish of his original work.
In BUHARI, Chidey cleverly uses the roving nature of our President to describe a girl. The beats are really catchy and original; afro beats with a bit of a jazzy feel, sort of like a new angle to the Fela rhythm. Big ups to SynX. However the mastering was far from perfect, Chidey’s vocals didn’t seem well blended with the beats, and a bit finer tuning would certainly have made it a lot more enjoyable to listen to.
In SHOOT BIRD MAMA FLY, Chidey and SynX grace our ears with catchy beats and great lyrics. Nevertheless, the auto tuning of Chidey’s vocals in the chorus did not exactly achieve end results. It did not deliver as much pleasantness to the ears as it would if they toned down the auto tune. I do realize I said the opposite of this regarding his vocals in the BUHARI chorus. Perhaps Chidey needs to adopt a lower pitch when singing his choruses and find a range that best suits him.
The subsequent track we are graced with is SICK KID, the quintessential rap song about confidence leaning into lyrical narcissism. Any rap release almost feels incomplete without one of these. Unfortunately the problem of the auto tuned chorus comes up again. However the puns and great rhymes make up for that.
In IF I DON’T MAKE HEAVEN FEAT CILIA, Chidey once again uses puns and punch lines to conjure images of self-reflection, regrets, and remorse. It’s the type of track many people would relate to during sleepless nights. Cilia was the icing on the cake with her soulful verse at the outro. She oozed so much passion and raw energy.
One can’t help but think it would even have been more resonating if her vocals were mastered properly. Either that or the auto tuning (which is quite unnecessary for someone with Cilia’s talent) just didn’t produce the best results.
END TIME PIKIN, a satirical track, offers us such great original beats, not the overly recycled melody that afro beat artists use. It also brings along puns and humour which are characteristic of Chidey. It works like a drama in which at the end even the protagonist admits to being complicit to the problems in society, yet it does this without being overly preachy.
NEW SONG FEAT DAVIS sounds like it should be blaring from sound systems on Sunday all over the country. One really has to wonder why it isn’t. Chidey and Davis do a very good job with the vocals. Catchy melody, highlife beats and thankful lyrics really make for an amazing gospel piece. This track is truly a worthy end to the EP. It leaves us dancing and grateful after experiencing a flurry of emotions conjured by the other tracks.
It’s like the happy ending in a movie that had a love story, humour, regrets, discord and learning. It’s like an unofficial version of end credits, the artist acknowledging the help given to him in the creation of the artwork just presented before you. It works very well like this, yet it is still a song almost every Nigerian would find relatable.
There are certainly weak points in this EP. For one, at times it felt like it was more talking and less rapping, like it lost rhythm, lost flow with the beats. I understand this happens once in a while in rap music, but it felt like it happened too many times. So many disruptions in flow at times make it less enjoyable.
There was also the reoccurring problem of the mastering and auto tune mentioned above. However, Chidey together with SynX and Mr Bangs consistently made up for these with the most clever humorous lyrics and catchy original beats.
With this EP Chidey has proven he is truly a lyricist, one with his own style that embodies a cauldron of puns and humour. We’ve seen how far Falz has gone with his style. Chidey, with such originality and wit has shown he can go as far with such a huge potential.
If ALLOW ME TO BE FRANK could have a longer title, it would be ‘Allow Me to be Funny’, witty, infuse puns and punch lines, allow me to make you want to dance, reflect on your life and society, allow me make mistakes as I learn and grow in artistry and life in general. Most of all, allow me to be Chidey, because he was most emphatically that, himself, and that is the essence of all art. I certainly look forward to what projects he has planned for the future.