A puritan rap career in an industry where anything remotely radio-friendly gets a free pass on air can be difficult. So when Mode 9 announced earlier this year that he would be dropping an album with no physical copies, we hadn’t our eyebrows raised. Industry veterans have leaned on Alaba-assisted rollouts for many years despite its obvious systemic flaws that Mode 9 choosing to do things differently,had to be for good reason though it was unsual.
What we didn’t see coming, was Mode 9 pulling a surprise digital release with hushed PR only precluded by a tweet promising to drop the album today. Insulin, his latest project is a 21-track hip-hop and neo-soul fusion set on Mode 9’s comfort zone of classic rap beats, tinted with a layer of Jazz.
This new Mode does not toy around with the idea of Afro-inspired inventiveness or big bang motifs primed towards making club bangers. Instead, Insulin tells stories and delivers them in witty punchlines, unapologetic braggadocio and verses that inspire self-introspection.
The industry has witnessed numerous changes in the last few years. But unlike his aging peers who have refused to admit sound shifts created by younger artists have altered the course of Nigerian airwaves, Mode uses Insulin to signal his complete exit from jollof music route to squarely embrace a hip-hop virtuoso that was never in doubt.
We are still trying to get a wholesome feel of the project but you can cop it here.
On a side note, your favourite rapper is probably listening to it right now wishing he could make the same record without sacrificing sales or getting booked for concerts.
Listen to No Matter What, the lead single off Insulin which features songbird Maka below