Ajebutter 22 and Studio Magic achieved a great feat with the release of their debut effort “ANYTIME SOON” which debuted at NO 1 on iTunes. Ajebutter and Studio Magic put on for the new school with features from relatively new acts like  Midnite, Boj and Dara Shashore (who isn’t an artist but has a heavenly voice). This record is a win  in that it brings some talented youth to the forefront of the Nigerian scene. Ajebutter 22 calls himself ” The Head Boy of the New School”  and he might just have a point.

Now that the thunderstorm of  hype surrounding the album’s release (It must be said that the roll out was the most creative from a Nigerian act in living memory) has calmed, we thought it a good time to release a review.

Enjoy.

1. Humble Guy

On this mellow tune, Ajebutter takes us on a journey of his personal life. His come up as an artist, and the difference in his life now he’s made his big break. The production is fantastic and Ajebutter rides the beat perfectly. Studio Magic are pioneers of alternative Afro music. Ajebutter stamps his uniqueness on the track and paints a perfect picture. One can almost envision the journey as the track plays. Would be nice if the song is released as a single. All in all, perfect intro to the project.

2. Alangba

Studio Magic know how to make hits!!!! The hook is catchy. The verses are witty. The beat has a certain groove to it and the chorus compliments it perfectly. Lyrically, one of the stand outs.

3. No Story ( ft. Midnite)

Fantastic to hear another verse from Midnite. Midnite and Butter trade lines and bounce off each other’s flows in a way reminiscent of  Puffy and Mase. Midnite who picks his verses like Andre 3000 shows once again why he’s rated so highly. Half club song. Half chill out track.  Signature Studio Magic.

4. Omo Pastor (FT. BOJ)

Not much to say here. No 1 hit. Put both Ajebutter 22 and Boj on the mainstream map.

5. Omo Igbo (ft Wizzboy)

Smart A&R move, shout out Headphones. A pattern is emerging with the success of the Highlife genre.  M.I’s collaboration with Flavour ‘Africa Rapper No 1’ is one of his biggest hits till date.  Ice Prince and Sunny Nneji’s ‘Whiskey’ another case in point. Ajebutter got the next big thing from the East, Wizzboy to do his thing. Solid track that will definitely expand his coast as an artist.

6. Dancing Competition

Another smart A&R move. Studio Magic really know how to position their acts musically to cut across demographics. Picture Agbada’s, money spraying and party rice. Yep! This one would bring the  ‘Owambe Money’ with bookings from the wealthy, partying crowd. Ajebutter 22 and Studio Magic show their understanding of the local fuji sound. Platinum Toxx also laces stellar back ground vocals.

7. Headphones Skit

Headphones, half of Studio Magic begs to stop the razzness. Funny skit. I like the fact that unlike other producers, Studio Magic are not scared to lend their voices or images. They are not shy of the limelight which must surely pay off for the brand in the long run.

8.Celebrate In Advance

Speak things into existence. An okay track.  Weak choice as single though. The single right before the album drops is meant to be a game changer. This wasn’t and pales into insignificance when one considers the impact of earlier singles like ‘Omo Pastor’ and ‘Senrenre’.

9. Okafor’s Law

Ajebutter is best on mellow tracks. His melodious style suits mellow beats. Perfect production from Studio Magic. The song talks about ex lovers who still think of each other from time to time. Drake territory.  His song writing is one of his strong points as he paints pictures that engage listeners.

10. Senrenre (ft Taymi B)

Game changer. Ajebutter’s first hit song. This song RUDELY woke up the Nigerian mainstream to the whole new school movement from the UK. The song is so unique and great that without Ajebutter 22 in the country, it still topped radio and tv charts. Studio Magic perfectly merge Afrobeats and European drum and base showing their international vantage point. A lot of people have tried to copy this trend and failed terribly i.e Lynxxx with ‘Ifeoma’ even jacking Ajebutter’s signature “uhn uhhnn” sound. Ajebutter 22 and Studio Magic carved a niche for themselves which only they can champion.

11. Follow The Leader

Potential hit. Fast paced song to keep you on your feet. The chorus constitutes some gibberish chants  and “Follow the Leader”.

12.Gbono (ft Dr Sid)

Born Kings (Management) dropped the ball by not shooting a video for this record. The buzz generated by a Dr Sid feature could have worked to greater effect.  The Nigerian market has evolved to the point where without videos, some songs don’t travel as far as they should. The audience has spread wider than internet followers and radio listeners. Still championing the sound they created, Ajebutter 22 and Studio Magic go a step higher than ‘Senrenre’.  Could still be pushed towards the global audience.

13. Omo Mummy

Not  a favourite. Cool track and story but can be easily skipped.  *Next!*

14. What Are We

Ajebutter is one of the best at coming up with hooks. The song reflects on something every young man goes through: When a girl ask you “What are we?” AWKWARD. Great track with a great story progressing in each verse.

15. Church Mind

Ajebutter closes the album with Church Mind. As said earlier on,  mellow beat = Best Ajebutter experience. Good outro to the project as he laments on his dreams and aspirations. This time from the perspective of a young artist well into his journey.”And I went Pop like oil inside pan/ Like when you pour water inside am” referring to how he burst on to the scene with ‘Senrenre’. Fantastic background vocals from Dara Shashore. Possible single choice.

Bonus Track: Badman Freestyle

Ajebutter 22 plays around on this catchy beat. Nothing much to it, as the title depicts it’s a freestyle. Not your typical freestyle as the song has a bridge,the beat also has various progressions which keeps the listener interested.

Verdict

Ajebutter 22 and Studio Magic delivered a stellar debut project covering all corners of their influences, from Rap music to drum and base to Afro beats. Ajebutter 22’s album might be the first concept and cohesive album, this side of the world. The album followed a pattern and all the songs complimented each other. It is also worthy of credit that this is so far removed from the stereotypical Nigerian album that tends more to be a combination of singles with no concept.  The album introduced a lot of “strange” sounds which is essentially what the more exposed, new school movement represent.

Musically the album is almost perfect, the only fault is the timing of its release. Ajebutter 22 dropped the album when the impact of his biggest singles had died down. The Nigerian market is solely dependent on singles as the mass public don’t purchase albums, unless the artist is fully dominating with 3-4 chart topping smash hits in rotation and only heavyweights like Wizkid, Wande Coal, Olamide and Ice Prince have done that of late. In his favour, Ajebutter  has a cult following that ought to support him through thick and thin but it must be noted that, that’s just a certain demographic and artistes that cater to demographics tend not to last in Nigeria. With his next project,  Ajebutter has to make the transition from Star to Superstar.

There is a lot of significance in this album. It represents the arrival of the new school in a nut shell. Names like Midnite, Boj and Dara are actually printed on album cases. Ajebutter is the first to come out of the gate and with Studio Magic being frequent collaborators, Boj’s next project particularly looks promising. Let’s not forget Studio Magic also broke Falz. Add that to one of the  standout tracks (‘Represent’) on M.I’s last album and working with Joe Budden.

‘Anytime Soon’ is a great project. Studio Magic and Ajebutter deserve all the kudos. Over to Born Kings to utilise the great material to their benefit.

If you haven’t, buy it on iTunes