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Basketmouth, Duktor – Horoscopes Album Review

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Basketmouth “Horoscopes” Is the Culmination of an Ever-Evolving Creative Process.

When Basketmouth dropped his debut album, YABASI, strictly produced by Duktor Sett in late 2020, as a soundtrack project for his web show Papa Benji, a sizable proportion of the industry thought it was just that.

An overblown movie soundtrack project; little did the crowd know that this was Basketmouth’s way of retracing his steps to leverage on the power of his first love as a creative, MUSIC.

This time, Basketmouth isn’t making a comeback as a rapper, but something entirely different.

There’s a new wave of non-performing/recording music executives who’re focused on changing the game by leveraging on the opportunities created by the presence of streaming platforms and their influence on the way music is published today.

These new sets of executives are backed by major labels, and equipped with the resources to dedicate their expertise to crafting music projects that rake in as much revenue as their performing colleagues.

With emerging A&Rs like Basketmouth in the music space, it’s a new dawn for the music making process in Africa.

A few days after the Horoscopes album dropped, in one of my music/creative collaborative sessions I bumped into and shared a puffy conversation with Duktor Sett, who’d produced the album in its entirety. My deep curiosity would not let it go, I just knew we had to have a conversation about this bombshell of a project before he hopped back into his creative shell.

The first thing we dissected was the creative mindset of the entire team while working on the project, and in his reply, the situation becomes quite clear.

This is Basketmouth and his team making huge strides to fix up some lapses in the industry, some serious creativity deficit and lack of organizational structure.

To the Baron’s World Entertainment outfit, this is just another one of those creative risks that we’ve known Basketmouth for all his career, another one that he’s resolved to be extremely successful at, even if the clime is somewhat tagged non-profitable.

In a crazy fit of Indica-induced laughter, Sett retorted; “Basket say make we just add small seriousness to this thing o.”

Horoscopes is just another good day of work at Baron’s World, and it’s back to business right after. Despite a 12-year studio journey as a music producer, Horoscopes is Duktor Sett’s first project with as much success as this.

Basketmouth’s contribution to Horoscopes as an A&R is the final lap of the first race in a new frontier of publishing in the music ecosystem.

His brilliance in the areas of tracklisting, collaborations and choice of artist are quite commendable and I’m delighted to see what he has in store for the future.

His deal with Empire is as legendary as, and even maybe more than the first time Larry Gaga achieved similar success with Universal Music Group.

Topping a decent project like Yabasi with Horoscopes is a feat that very few people in the Nigerian music space may be able to achieve. His coordination and coherence on the project was clear, and even though all hands were clearly on deck, Basketmouth steered the ship to the final destination.

TRACK BY TRACK REVIEW OF HOROSCOPES

Basketmouth, Duktor – Horoscopes Album Review 14

LOVE & LIFE – feat. Johnny Drille, Simi, M.I Abaga

The first track on the Horoscopes project is a straight knockout of the pack. Basketmouth makes a bold, assertive intro with the mid-tempo love track.

This is the tale of a young married woman, who’s still in love with her ex; who on the other hand, is a convict.

Johnny Drille does justice to this song with his usual boisterous and emotion-laden nightingale voice and the chorus sounds like something out of a 007 movie soundtrack. His range is out of this world, and his mind-piercing vocals are a good pair with Simi’s powerhouse rendition. Simi’s reply to the record’s underlying story is quite on point, and MI seals it off with a finishing verse that could have very well been avoided. MI’s saving grace here is his ability to whip up a verse that fits perfectly into the story line, making him a good substitute for the convicted ex.

YOUR BODY – feat. (Buju) BNXN.

Your body is one of those BNXN’s 2020 collaborations that ruled the airwaves and equally dominated all the charts. This was definitely one of the songs that helped to solidify BNXN’s legacy and real estate as a musician.

This record was dropped as an official single off the album, and it proved to be one of the best Basketmouth decisions that leaves its trail of success all over the album both prior and post release.

BNXN’s power as a money-making hook specialist is largely uncontested. For the past two years, he’s been quite able to hold his own when it comes to collaborations, some might even say his collaborations are way better than actual songs.

Your Body was a perfect single off the album, and it does justice to the entire project. It is equally an impressive follow up to the intro track, as per the storyline of the album.

LISTEN – feat. Wande Coal

Listen is a record where Wande Coal’s vocals truly shine. He sings about his journey in the Nigerian music space, dishing out premium advice for all the youngsters looking to get in the game.

The track begins with a line of admonishment and a plea to listen to his advice;
“Tetiiiiii, tetiiiiii si ohun ti mofe so na ooo”; this is directly translated in the English language as listen.

Listen is like a blank vocal chord cheque in the hands of Wande Coal, he possesses the most intriguing voice out of Africa, and he’s sure to bring a grenade to a knife battle.

CELOWI – feat. Peruzzi

This is one of the most outstanding tracks on the project. Perruzi’s experimental rendition on the record is both powerful and sensuous enough to distract you from the remainder of the project.

His ability to weave a melodious number even on such a deeply Latino influenced beat is another proof of Peruzzi’s vocal prowess.

Although Peruzzi sounds uniquely different on this record than others, one quality that truly stands out is the vocal dexterity required to deliver one such stellar performance as the youngster did.

What Basketmouth did on this project is quite clear. He was obviously working to beat the genius of his debut project Yabasi which also doubled as the soundtrack for his web series; Papa Benji. His pick of artists for this project is definitely elite.

MONEY – feat. Oxlade & EFYA

This is another vocally encapsulating record on the Horoscopes project. On Money, Oxlade completely unleashed his vocal prowess like never before, switching between ranges like he’s got a surgical throat.

Although EFYA did sound a little like Teni on this record, her verse is equally an absolute killer. The record is a simple tale of money and what you would do if you had it immersed completely in your grasp.

TROUBLE – feat. 2Baba & Blaqbonez

A Basketmouth album without 2Baba on it is definitely incomplete, especially if the project is poised at achieving cult classic status.

As usual with 2Baba, in this record he’s in trouble for snatching someone else’s wife/girlfriend. Blaqbones on the other hand contributes his legendary wordplay to the song, all the while sticking to his sex over love campaign with braggadocios lyrics about his performance in chasing and bedding the opposite sex without any commitments.

THE TRAVELLER – feat. CAVEMEN & KWABENA KWABENA

The Traveller is undoubtedly the best song on the album. The record brings the highly underrated Cavemen into the spotlight, while introducing a wider audience base to the beauty of their unique brand of highlife.

The best part of The Traveller is the simple fact that it is a truly pan-African record. It is guaranteed to do crazy numbers on charts across Africa because it is rooted in a super cool blend of our traditional sounds. KWABENA KWABENA blesses the record with his genius, and all is well with the world.

The first line of the Traveller song is one of the most nostalgic references to a baby boomer or the average millennial.

…The journey to Mandillas dey start with Kitos”…

LEAVE ME – feat. Reekado Banks

Leave me is a decent song that could have just been left out of the project. Reekado Banks sounds absolutely lazy that you can easily figure out this was a free verse.

The song contributes nothing nor takes away nothing from the entire body of work, instead it casts a bad light on Falz who’s an exceptional artist on his own.

Leave Me is an easily forgettable song, and it deserves no place among all the classic records that made it unto the project. Basketmouth May have been trying to play super A&R with a calculated move that benefits from Reekado’s comeback but this is simply not well executed.

ASSEMBLY OF GODS – feat. Cavemen, Magnito, Falz, Dremo, IllBliss, Flavour

Assembly of Gods is a mind-piercing mid tempo highlife song that perfectly suits The Cavemen & Flavour’s ability to spurn out the most culturally referenced songs, and it equally gives rappers like Falz, Dremo, & Magnito a chance to shine through.

At the beginning, it initially feels like two generations of highlife colluded to drop a bombshell until it’s clear that this is a classic record for the books and no single collaborator was meant to shine more than the record itself.

The rappers also contribute to the record with sleek, boisterous lines, rhymes and wordplay that are both melodious and easily identifiable to the layman.

It is a deserving outro to a fantastic performance, and also redemption for Falz for his lackluster performance on Leave Me.

Rating: 7.5/10

Comment: Although Larry Gaga first charted a new course for A&Rs in the game, Basketmouth has expanded the territory and brought more bags to the table.

Horoscopes is one for the culture and for the books. Congratulations to Basketmouth & Duktor Sett for an outstanding performance.

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Written by AfrobeatsMerije.
Bisi-Taiwo Chukwumerije is a blood-bound Nigerian writer & Music Executive.
Tweet your favourite, random, mind-boggling songs, EPs, LPs, Albums, & music projects to him; @AfrobeatsMerije. 

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