ALBUM REVIEW: Is the Reign album worth the hype?

 

Official cover art for Shatta Wale’s Reign album

Definitely going down into the annals of Ghana music as one of the exponentially anticipated albums is Shatta Wale’s Reign album. A breeze of relief has finally extinguished the shackles of anticipation that music patrons have been subjected to, as Charles Nii Armah Mensah, popularly known as Shatta Wale releases his 2nd major project as brand Shatta Wale.

The Reign album is presented as a compilation of 17 songs. Let’s examine what the project has in stock for us;

Official track list for the Reign album

On Don’t Baby My Baby, Shatta basically warns against any trespassing by capable snatchers as he seeks to safeguard his exclusive right of intimacy with his better half. Shatta Wale further demonstrates his unbridled love for his girlfriend on If I See as he out pours a host of compliments on her. He echoes an enviable pinnacle of loyalty for his special lady on the instrumentals assembled by MOG Beatz. Shatta Wale made more elaborations of his compliments for his girlfriend on Squeeze. He makes an admiration of her uniqueness as he claims he has not had a life of intimacy with any lady of her kind before. MOG Beatz gently weaved the kicks on Squeeze in a very pleasant manner. Bend Over is also not very different in content from If I See and Squeeze. The interesting aspect of Bend Over is that Shatta Wale makes mention of the fan bases of his rivals, Bhim Nation and Sark Nation, as he claims he can convert a lady he loves to Shatta Movement should the lady belong to the aforementioned fan bases- the song also contains some interesting suggestive lyrics.

Gringo is the first record which was released off the album ahead of the album release. The song undoubtedly provides sufficient grounds for the appreciation of Shatta Wale’s prowess in the dancehall genre – It is a typical dancehall song produced by Shatta Wale himself. I however think he could have utilized the beat more on the song. Curtailing the song after only 1:44 mins appears to me to be a disservice to the appetite of music lovers. Regardless, the song has been successful commercially, which is quite rare considering the nature of the song. I am however personally of the view that the song would not have gained the mass attention it enjoyed had its release not been accompanied by the extravagant visuals.  The magnificence of the video was too astronomical to be ignored.

Shatta Wale sang for his mother on Mama Stories. On this record the dancehall icon decides to appreciate the inputs made by his mother in his life. The song has a spiritual vide – It initiates you into a territory of emotional deliberations. Mama Stories was released off the album on 13th May 2018, which happened to be the 2018 Mothers’ Day – clearly a song appropriate for the day.

Shatta Wale also sang for his sister on Sister Sister. Undoubtedly one of the alluring melodious sounds on the album. MOG Beatz also made an impressive contribution concerning the keyboard work on the song. Shatta Wale decided to talk remorse on I Regret where he also promised not to commit any further mistake(s) which could be injurious to his relationship with his lover. I Regret sounds average in terms of rhythm to me – it is not extraordinary in entirety.

Wonders is the only song on the album with a guest artiste. Nigerian artiste, Olamide was the only artiste featured on the album. It comes as a disappointment that Shatta Wale, an ardent advocate of the Ghanaian cause, decided to feature a Nigerian artiste, rather than a Ghanaian. Well, in an interview with Arnold Mensah Elavanyo on his Vibes In 5 show, Shatta Wale explained that his choice of Olamide was influenced by his view of Olamide as the only artiste capable of submitting the lyrics which will be compatible with the song’s core message.  Is Shatta Wale then insinuating that there is no single Ghanaian artiste clothed with the competence to deliver what Olamide did on the song? Anyway, the result of the convergence of the duo on a joint is actually in synchronization with the reasonable expectation of any ardent music listener. Both Shatta Wale and Olamide have a repertoire substantiating their capability to drop street bangers. Wonders therefore comes as an expected output from the duo. There is a hit in Wonders and I suggest an ultra-captivating official video will facilitate the materialization of the song’s commercial construct.

Give Dem Something is one of the records on the album which qualifies to make a cut in the playlist of any DJ at a party or any recreational gathering. It bears the characteristics of the songs which are appropriate for such recreational moods. Similar in character to Give Dem Something is the song dubbed Crazy. On Crazy, Shatta Wale made proud expressions with his material acquisitions, apparently aimed at motivating listeners to strive for same. For the dance freaks, Rosalinda perfectly serves them. Listening to the song, there is a high likelihood for parts of the body to be set into motion, thanks to the highly danceable assembly of instruments made by MOG Beatz.

Amount is one of the commercially appetizing songs on the album – patently a banger for the streets. Over the past few years, Shatta Wale has proven his potency for submitting sumptuous treats for the streets. The consistency he exudes in churning out commercial records for mass consumption has contributed immensely to his relevance in the industry till date. It therefore comes with no iota of surprise that he was able to conceive a commercial vibe in Amount. Amount is also one of the records with an official video, and released before the album release.

On Exodus Shatta Wale delivered one of the lyrically tightest records on the album. He decided to part ways with melody and absolutely delivered a lyrical dense verse in a boisterous mode. The beat, which he produced, invoked the beast mode in him – it manifests in his delivery as you listen to the hardcore dance hall tune. Another solid dancehall record on the album is Caesar, where Shatta Wale expatiates on the popular biblical maxim which states that Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar.

Another record accompanied by a pretty captivating video is My Mind Is Made Up.  With enthralling specie of the patois language, Shatta Wale emphasizes his orientation and inclination towards the music business – a disposition which has become public knowledge. His quest for greatness and utmost affluence is reiterated on the sound he produced himself.

Shatta Wale concludes the album with One Way Style. On this song, Shatta Wale talked about versatility, and expressed his dislike for a purported one way style of doing music.

General Views

The album could have been more diversified in terms of rhythm and content. If the album is indeed a project which primarily seeks to emphasize Shatta Wale’s position as occupying a reigning capacity, then I find it inconsistent with the general thematic postulate of the album, for Shatta Wale to channel about barely 50% of the lyrical content into talking about his ‘baby’/girlfriend. Some of the songs are also lyrically scanty – he could have done better with the pen game.

He has however managed to prove to any objective listener that he is truly a multi-talented artiste.  He sounded appealing with the vocal submissions, and the attitude associated with the ragga deliveries were also stirring. I would have preferred he had a little more of the typical & hardcore dancehall songs on the album to render the album more balanced genre wise. It is however understandable that the album is dominated by commercially appetizing songs, considering Shatta Wale’s orientation and disposition towards music. It is public knowledge that he has an inordinate penchant for amassing utmost monetary gains through music. It is therefore not surprising that the album is replete with commercially appealing vibes, owing to the fact that they are the kind of songs which are most likely to guarantee and facilitate the fulfillment of his primary desires.

Production

MOG Beatz dominated the production work on the album. MOG initially gained mass recognition following the relase of Sarkodie’s Rich Ni*ga Sh*t in 2016, the first hit single he was widely known to have produced. The Ashaiman based producer has since worked on a number of hit songs including Sarkodie’s Gboza and Wendy Shay’s Uber Driver & Bedroom Commando. As one of the sizzling Ghanaian producers in contemporary times, it comes as deserving for him to have produced most of the songs on the album – he discharged his task professionally and competently. The other music producers who worked on the album were DJ Milzy, Damage Musik and Shawers Ebiem – they were generally satisfactory with their contributions. The ability of Shatta Wale to also produce some of the songs himself cannot be ignored. His production efforts on Gringo and Exodus especially were impressive – he ignited the beast mode in him with those sounds.

Premised on the views expressed above, on a percentage scale, I will rate the Reign album 70%.

 

By Seth Mireku,

Writer, ghanafuo.com

 

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