Nigerian music is here, and it’s here to stay. 27-year old singer-songwriter Asake first came onto the seen in 2018 releasing a series of singles, but this time he is back with his debut album and it’s quite something.
Debuting at #66 on the Billboard US Album Chart, and produced entirely by his longtime collaborator Magicsticks, Asake is here with his debut album Mr Money With The Vibe, which was released on September 8 via YBNL and EMPIRE, seven months after his debut EP named Ololade Asake featuring his breakthrough song “Omo Ope”.
Using fuji, a popular Yoruba music genre, as his foundation, Asake crafts his music around Amapiano styled production to create such energetic songs as “Sunga” and “Peace Be Unto You” that firmly put him on the map. The music production excellence is definitely on showcase throughout this entire album.
We are welcomed to the album with a song with quite the ominous title – “Dull” – but the melodies and track speak entirely differently. Our ears are blessed with sounds of what I can only assume are background Maracas and a solid up tempo beat. Combining these two makes for a wonderful arrangement that is then upgraded even more by his soft yet demanding voice with added background choir vocals on the track.
The Nigerian native started showing signs of his talents early when he studied Theatre & Performing Arts at Obafemi Awolowo University in the southwest region of Nigeria in a state called Osun, and the YBNL-signed artist is certainly making a name for himself in this music industry.
One of the album’s lead singles “Peace Be Unto You” charted #1 on popular Nigerian aggregator chart TurnTableCharts and reached #7 on the Billboard SS Afrobeats Songs Chart, on its way to amassing over over 60 million streams online.
His infectious songs are definitely ones you cannot help but dance to, especially “Terminator” and “Joha”, which are standout tracks on the album, as well as the aforementioned “Peace Be Unto You” and “Sungba”, the latter which also comes with a remix with Grammy Award winner and afrobeats icon Burna Boy that wraps up the album.
Roughly half-way through the album on the fifth track, you are definitely hit with feelings of warmth and empowerment from the song “Dupe”. After this, we meet the complete opposite in terms of vibe and aura of song. “Muse” is certainly a tribute song to a loved one, with wonderfully accompanied background female vocals and a sweet sounding rhythm. You might find yourself slowly rocking your head from side to side on this track.
Asake is not afraid to show his versality switching up the tempo from song to song very quickly and smoothly. The smash hit album is predominantly sung in Nigerian pidgin English and Yoruba languages as it should be. He, like his fellow Nigerian artists on the world stage, are making no mistake in making sure their music is authentically Nigerian. They should be proud of this, as it is a sign of real patriotism but a sign of a true artist also.
American rapper Russ enters the album on “Reason” and he impresses with his twang and rap rhythm, although it of course sounds quite different to what we were listening to the last nine tracks on the album, it is a very alluring collaboration, even if you wouldn’t have expected it.
As mentioned previously, the last track on the album is the “Sungba” remix with Burna Boy, this song has over 18 million plays on Spotify alone, and I can see why! Burna Boy lends his wonderful talents to the already excellent song and definitely leaves his mark, not without the foundation of the marvellous production that will definitely have you bopping your head or winding your waist, whichever fits your fancy.
Asake is currently taking the exciting album on the road with his debut US tour from September 22 to October 9, with more dates to be announced soon. He also heads to the UK in December for his UK tour, and has already sold out two dates at the renowned O2 Academy Brixton, with a third date now added.
Listen to Asake’s debut album Mr Money With The Vibe below and purchase it here via digital download or exclusive vinyl.
Words by Shannon Lindo