By Ayomide Tayo
Ill Bliss stakes his claim as the biggest boss seen thus far in the Nigerian rap game…
Album -Oga Boss
Artiste – Ill Bliss
Features – Suspect, Phyno, Banky W, Silvastone, Wizboy, Ice Prince, Chidinma, Del B, Storm Rex, Timaya and Naeto C
Producers- Suspect, Phyno, Legendury Beatz, XYZ, Silvastone, Wizboy, Wazbeat, and Del B
Record Label – The Goretti Company/Capital Hill Music
Running Time- 49 minutes 9 seconds
One thing that hits when you play Illbliss’ Oga Boss is the improvement of his rhyme scheme. Before now, many critics saw Bliss’ rhyming as his soft spot. The Capital Hill chieftain has upgraded his rhyme pattern, which he is beginning to show mastery of. Take for instance the LP’s opener ‘Illyminate’ featuring Tha Suspect, where he comes out spitting in a Rakim-esque manner ‘omo-I declare more Alomo/demo-gunshots ringing in the air/this one no be robbery (omila)/security-‘cos the boy get too much liquidity.’ On ‘Currency Boyz 2’ which boasts of an Ice Prince Zamani feature, Illy waltzes around the sonic floor constructed by Suspect. “We gifted from the umbilical- biblical/Oga boss spits ridicule-cynical,” he rhymes, making him one of Nigeria’s most improved MCs.
On his sophomore effort, Illbliss has been able to build a boss-like persona, which he is able to pull off considerably well. Oga Boss is filled with street influenced cuts which allow Ill Bliss to express his Mafioso-esque character. On ‘2 Hands’ produced by XYZ, he lets you know that he’s not your average hustler on the streets, so you have to shake him with two hands as a sign of respect. Other songs, such as the street scorcher ‘Anamachi Kwanu’ featuring Phyno and ‘I’m Going In’ reinforce his status.
XYZ creates a moody atmosphere on ‘Asiko’ featuring Tha Suspect, as Illbliss reminisces about his struggle before he hit big. “No finances, I just kept moving on/got some passion- no whips and mansion/no sponsor- got a day job just to pay my bills/’cos you know the skills not enough… After the hustle comes the glory, and as a boss who watches out for his team, Illbliss carries fellow Capital Hill artistes, Chidinma and Tha Suspect to celebrate their big balling status on ‘E Mi Ni Baller,’ produced by Legendary Beatz.
Despite being a boss, Illbliss isn’t afraid of showing his weakness- his wife. His better half is referenced on several tracks on the album, most notably on ‘My Heartbeats’ featuring Banky W and Silvastone and ‘Gidigba’ featuring Del B where he says “more than a diamond, cut from the finest stones/soft spoken, forever you are the queen of my home/before and after the seeds, I go remain gidigba.”
Illbliss’ vision of dropping a song to cater to the contemporary highlife demographic fails as ‘Graduate’ featuring Wizboyy comes off as uninteresting. A few other guest features don’t hit the spot. Timaya has a soulful voice, but his penchant for not pushing himself lyrically has marred several of his songs. On ‘Double Double’ he actually sings “right now we are double/anything we do is a double double/every car that we buy is a double double/everything that we wear is a double double” as the chorus of the song. Meanwhile, Naeto C’s verse comes off as uninspired on ‘Hustlers Footstep‘, which boasts of another brilliant production from Phyno.
Oga Boss’ flaws are forgivable when you hear ‘Naalu Ekene’ featuring Storm Rex, also produced by Phyno. The soulful Igbo hook will truly the lift the spirit of hustlers out there hoping to be the boss someday. This combination of Phyno and Illbliss creates arguably the album’s best track, which he dedicates to the late MC Loph.
On Oga Boss, Illbliss doesn’t make an attempt to please everyone. He is comfortable where he is at in the game. His sophomore album is a testament of hard work, ambition, determination and success. With a confident and solid second album, Illbliss reigns as the boss of all bosses.
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