On his debut studio album, Sex Over Love, Blaqbonez continues his evolution. Weaving in and out of melodic cadences and hedonistic themes, and packing an onslaught of ruthless bars and cheeky smack talk, the project elucidates the inner workings of an artist who has found his fire.
In the early part of 2017, Blaqbonez released Last Time Under, his seventh independent mixtape, which signalled an evolution in his artistic journey. The project was a spirited sibylline prediction fueled by Blaq’s lingering desire to leave the halls of the underground. “This is the last time you gon’ have me in the background / You gon’ have to play me loud now,” he raps with vigour on ‘Last Time’, the penultimate track on the mixtape. The following year, his predictions came through. Bad Boy Blaq, the follow-up to Last Time Under, was executively produced by M.I Abaga and released under a major label imprint, 100 crowns, a subsidiary of Chocolate Music. ‘Mamiwota’, the standout track from the project, served as a springboard, finally shooting him into the green rooms of the mainstream.
“I’m a star now!” he belts on the bridge of ‘Heartbreaker’, the second track on his debut album, Sex > Love. While he might not necessarily be in the class of industry bigwigs like Burna Boy and Tiwa Savage, he has definitely made huge strides since his big break on Bad Boy Blaq. Since then, he’s released two solid projects: Bad Boy Blaq Re-Up and Mr Boombastic, which saw him evolve again, creating different personas while also melding his cut-throat raps with more melodic dalliances. He also got co-signs from some of the biggest acts in the country along the way while also being caught up in several controversies, further increasing his traction.
If you’ve never listened to Blaqbonez’s music, then Sex > Love is a great place to start. It features most of the personas he has created over the years, his eccentric personality and some of the best music of his career. ‘Novacane’, the opening track, sees Blaq employ a melodic trap flow, rapping and singing over an ominous beat, fully fleshing out this side of his music which first reared its head on Last Time Under. ‘Heartbreaker’ and ‘Zombie’ follow similar sonic directions; however, they’re more menacing as he trades hard-hitting bars with Nasty C, Psycho YP, Laycon and label boss, AQ.
In an interview with Apple Music, he talks about his constant evolution: “An important thing for me is giving you something different with every body of work”. On Mr Boombastic, his last project, he tries his hand at a more slick, Afrobeats sound fused with Dancehall leanings which he primarily excelled at. He doubles down on this exploration on standout tracks like ‘Fendi’, ‘Faaji’ and ‘BBC’ as he delivers braggadocious, hedonistic lyrics over exquisite production from Type A, Tuzi and Spax, respectively. The audacious ‘TGF Pussy’ perfectly captures Blaq’s carefree, jocular side. He raps about being thankful for sex with the seriousness of a rapper addressing societal ills. It features some of the funniest lines on the album: “This is the secret of my greatness / If you hold me highly, you should get a pen and paper and jot a few things down / If you always wanna get pussy, when you get it don’t forget to say thank you for that pussy that you gave to me.”
On the pre-released ‘Bling’, Blaq effortlessly weaves in and out of Afrobeats and R&B over minimalist production. He’s supported by Spaceship signee, Buju and Ghanaian vocalist and rapper, Amaarae who equally pull their weight, delivering sultry verses to make the song a very compelling listen. On the confessional ‘Never Been in Love’, Blaq doubles down on his polyamory gospel as he sings, “Never been in love all my life I don’t trust that shit” with so much zest. ‘Don’t Touch’, the following track, is conflicting, though. He sings about being head over heels for his love interest after just declaring he’s never been in love. The album closes out with the mellow, catchy ‘Haba’ that fits and sounds better in the album’s context.
Blabonez has come a long way. On ‘5AM’, a laid-back, sweet-toned number from Bad Boy Blaq, he raps: “I realize that I gotta put in the work if I’m going the distance / Done with trying to be the best / I’m trying to be the one that's here / The one that you talk about, the one with music in you ears / The one that you slam with a blunt in your hands / You put on your snap, the bro with the jams / The brother that’s popping on the charts.” Since then, he has put in the necessary work, constantly evolving to provide music that’s more accepting by the Nigerian audience while still preserving his core: ruthless, heavy and prolific bars. He has also put his humorous, ebullient personality into good use, creating thoughtful, funny content on the internet to constantly push his music. And while this could seem overbearing sometimes, his hard work has paid off and culminated into the biggest moment of his career thus far.