The Pick: Ladipoe and Buju Play For Keeps on "Feeling"
Our song of the week!
Ladipoe seems to have found his formula. Brilliantly weaving sturdy, sharp-witted bars together and punctuating them with soft, sweet-sounding pop hooks from various Afropop acts appears to be working the trick for him. His 2018 mixtape, T.A.P (Talk About Poe), featured standout tracks like ‘Falling’, ‘Red Lights’ and ‘Voices’, which employed this formula. Yet, none of these songs had the elegance or appeal of the Simi-assisted ‘Know You’, which soundtracked a large part of pandemic-induced lockdown last year. While Ladipoe had always been on the fringes of the mainstream, it was ‘Know You’ that truly brought him to the fore as he delivered self-assured bars, perfectly complementing Simi’s honeyed, feather-like vocals.
After the massive success of ‘Know You’, he doubled down on the traditional verse-chorus song structure formula and ran with it. He quickly enlisted Joeboy – an artist famous for delivering addictive pop hooks – for the sultry ‘Yoruba Samurai’ as the follow up to ‘Know You’. On Yabasi, Basketmouth’s debut album, he also makes a memorable appearance, circling Waje’s angelic vocals with a fluid flow and delivering witty lines likes: “Girl even in the dark I can see you with my eyes closed / Your vision is so clear Gucci frames couldn’t hide those”
On ‘Feeling’, his latest single, he’s as calm and assured as ever. He continues to employ his tried and tested formula, this time securing the services of the burgeoning star, Buju, who delivers an incredible, atmospheric hook that serves as an anchor for the song. Ladipoe’s opening bars: “Way out my feelings and nothing can stress me / The way I run the game I’m feeling like referee” aptly reflects his state of mind. Both artists are currently in a good place. They both recognise the presence of the surrounding stress and adversity but they’re turning a blind eye to it, choosing to reel in their self-induced happiness and they employ us to do the same. “In these times, it’s hard to be grateful. The scars on my face are not as deep as the ones inside. Still, I like the way I’m feeling”, Ladipoe says, reflecting on the inspiration behind the song. He goes on to deliver feel-good, wordplay-heavy ‘lifelines’ over producer Andre Vibez’s staccato percussion in true Rap Messiah fashion.