Hate it or love it, shame or not, Falz has been the best Nigerian rapper for at least the last three years. If you look past the humourous Yoruba accent, he has on a consistent basis dropped some very tight lines and showcased an effortless versatility that has stretched all the way into the French language. The major takeaway from 27, his last studio album was that he can be many other things apart from a “hip hop Yoruba boy”.
The Fela samples on the Moral Instruction tracklist right after the buzzing pre-album single, Talk suggested this album was going to be on the socio-conscious path and it turned out so.
Falz gets a thumbs up for his excellent narrative skills and cognizant effort to pass messages through his songs but that is really just as far as it goes.
Some unnecessary Fela comparisons were started online after Talk dropped and with the omniscient presence of Abami Eda on the album, it’s starting to appear the whole thing was arranged by Falz himself.
On this album, we see an artiste trying too hard to exert himself on some Fela sounds. Amen; a song on the modern day church business which takes a slice of Coffin For Head Of State is the only Fela sample that works. After you figure out Johnny could very well be his slang for ‘John Doe’, you are treated to some good storytelling but the effect is compromised in the desperate bid to conform to an over-stretched Journey Just Come sound. He tries to tie the bandwagon mentality to Fela’s Zombie on Follow Follow but the inability to sync delivery on his verses with the fast pace of Fela’s chorus leaves the listener loving mostly parts of a song they have spent the whole of their lives listening to.
There’s really nothing wrong in an artiste transforming his music into a tool for social activism as long as he does it to his strengths. You can’t effectively get your message across if the song doesn’t move the audience. Falz seems to have understood that on Talk. A hippy sound, a catchy chorus and some quite intriguing lines: “Shey dem neva tire dem wan continue the race/We buy your story/But you no give us ‘change’…”
Sarcasm and wit are two of his greatest gifts and moving forward, he has to employ them as best as possible while managing to keep his ‘present-day youth’ fan base on their feet rather than their seats. That way his sermons will make a better impact.
No matter how powerful the messages on E No Finish and Paper are, they are songs that will hardly get a second listen. He, however, commendably gets slow right on probably the best song of the album; Brother’s Keeper where he is complemented beautifully well by a singing Sess the problem kid. A quite arresting effort.
Demmie Vee’s voice sits pretty nicely on the chorus of Hypocrite but lyrically, it is as loose as it gets. What surprises, however, is how it seems to do little or no harm to the song.
Overall, this writer will submit that Moral Instruction is good but definitely not great.
Umar Sa’ad Hassan is based in Kano. He tweets via @Alaye_100.
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