There is something special about the many experimentations with afro beat that have followed the creation of the original sound by Fela. Producers and artists alike have pushed the creative boundaries of genre pigeon holes to create buzz worthy sounds with a texture confident within its own sub-genre division.
This is the easiest way to thematically categorize the songs on the 9-man army compilation album known as The Collectiv3 LP released last year. Off the album, producer Ikon has dropped the single, Akintunde as he moves towards a debut album release later this year.
The song which features vocals from singer Temi Dollface opens with a promising premise. An electronic vocoder repeats the name “Akintunde” as Temi Dollface steps into the song to voice the loose translation of the title hook. She sings “It’s the return of the King oh/ Everybody sing yeah yeah yeah.” This simplistic nature of the opening of Akintunde’s lyrics, earmark it as a feel-good rap song with all of hip hop’s routine braggadocio and aggrandizing themes peppered within.
But even cliches need a twist of brilliance and Ikon’s semi-conscious lines are interwoven into one tightly-knitted verse. The producer further proves himself with the song’s production which fuses quasi-highlife guitars and percussions with lingering bass chords and jazz trumpets. This is an obvious cross-genre production masterpiece.
Akintunde takes off from the gate but its low points are more ideological than musical. The duo of Ikon and Temi Dollface come from a long line of Afro-diaspora musicians whose music is made from the point of view of purists embracing sounds of their African heritage. Hence, there seems to be too hard of an attempt to make an “African” song with Temi Dollface’s titular translation of a “cool” African word they can “educate” their non-Nigerian fans with. This an extreme fake-deep-low that takes way too much aesthetic out of the song because the title hook is taken completely out of context, creating a major disconnect between the confident instrumentation and the forced lyrical makeup. Ikon and the Temi Dollface could’ve avoided this entirely. Besides this major ideological glitch, Akintunde is a great song that lives up to all expectations.
We expect Ikon’s forthcoming album will have more promising alternative afro beat songs like this.