Album:- I aM Me
Record Label:- J.E Records
Distributed By:- Spinlet/I-Tunes [ Online ]
Guest Appearances:- Ice Prince, Oritse Femi, Seriki, Vector, Olamide, Small Doctor, Jozie, Cee Boi, DNot, Chinko Ekun, Olamide, Reminisce, Lil Kesh , CDQ, Akymz, Kiss Daniels and Lamboginny.
Producers:- Lamboginny, Kriz Beatz, Tee-Y Mix, Hitville, Taleen Beatz, B.Banks, Rhyme Baba, Kimbeat, and Oluomo
Track Number:- 11 Tracks [ Economy Version ], 22 Tracks [ Deluxe Version ]
Release Date:- 30th May 2015
In 2007, my elder sister came back from Obafemi Awolowo University where she was a student then with the Certificate Album by 9ice, I listened to this album thoroughly and immediately knew 9ice was going to go on to become a national superstar, however one of the songs that stood out on that Album was Ganja Man, a song which quickly became a fan favourite but while everybody was enjoying the new smokers anthem, I was drawn to the featured act Jahbless who dropped a solid verse and also declared “Toto no sweet reach Igbo Claro”.After some Crate digging, I realized he was one of the fringe artistes ( alongside Olamide, 2Phat,X.P, Reminisce and Spaco) that were affiliated with Coded Tunes Records who had already made Lord Of Ajasa a household name, and were on the way to making 9ice one.I went on to hear him on Reminisce’s first single One Chance, and on the chorus of the Hip-Hop anthem Ikira which was performed by The Kalifate, but before all these collaborations, Jahbless had already left Coded Tunes, co-Founded and joined Edge Records, as well as started working on some solo music which he intended to use to establish himself in the game.
In 2009, he dropped his first album Rebirth which spanned the nominal hit track Street Rules and Jooor Featuring Lord Of Ajasa ,This album established his pedigree as a recording act, and gave him the impetus to keep redefining his sound until he struck the Jackpot with his biggest song till date The Remix of the aforementioned Joor Oh, a track which has come to define him musically and featured Ice Prince, Ruggedman , Reminisce, Durella and Eldee Tha Don.The song also won the “Best Collaboration” award at the 2011 Hip-Hop World Awards.All these developments helped him drop his sophomore album Overground that same year which was not only ultimately bigger and better than his debut Album, but assisted in making him a more recognizable household name.
Jahbless announced and started working on his third studio album the following year, releasing singles like Uku Uku Featuring Reminisce and Take It Slow ( 2012 ) but some unforeseen and unexplained circumstances led to him parting ways with Edge Records, jettisoning the previously released singles and signing a new deal with J.E Records.After sorting out his label situation, he dropped Lights,Camera,Action and Owambe a party song which acted as the prelude to the third single 69 missed calls Featuring CDQ, Chinko Ekun, Reminisce, Olamide and Lil Kesh.Those two latter songs appealed to two different demography’s of music listeners, and set the tone for the eventual release of his 3rd studio album I Am Me which was released on the 30th of May.
The first song on the album is I Gat which has a short intro by an OAP in Lagos, and sets the tone for Jahbless to go down memory lane, thanking God for all the blessings, memories and struggles which he has experienced so far on his musical journey.Its a solid rap song which was created possibly to appeal to his more Hip-Hop inclined fans, as it was laced with soulful drums which projected the sentiments behind the track appropriately.Jeje makes a smooth entrance next, a song inspired by the late Fela Kuti.This one implores you to take life easy and features Oritse Femi who delivered arguably one of his best performances on a collaboration.Seriki and Vector who have displayed a great collaborative chemistry lately with their single Stand Back Mudafucka show up on Sir Shina Peters, the third song which was created to honor the Afro-Juju legend, and though Jahbless lagged behind the two lyrically ( as expected ), he created another song that will resonate with core rap heads more.“Na before before we go dey look up to you before we fit chop, but now I depend on me, I depend on me” he croons on the chorus of The title-track I Am Me, a smooth R&B song which comes next, and has him once again detailing his struggles to make it in the game and basking in the joy of overcoming those challenges,Olamide who was featured on the song dropped an intense verse, and I have to say this song captures the aura of independence which looms all over this Album.36DD Is the next song, It’s an uptempo “Ajegunle style” track which celebrates voluptuous ladies, and was executed with expert precision.Previously released single Modi which features Seriki and one of my favourite underground acts at the moment Small Doctor comes next, this is another solid club song which I am sure will become a favourite of Ravers and DJ’s in Lagos if well promoted,I feel like this should be his next video.The album continues to Owambe the first single from the album which is another sure shot party song and I still think it should be a contender for a lot of awards this year.
Iromi is YET another impressive single where he sings from start to finish with a fusion of Yoruba and Pidgin English languages, Its one of the shock moments on the album where he shows that he can flip styles and execute it well.Jojolo follows suit, on this one Jahbless dons the contemporary Fuji Toga and goes on a name-calling spree, its a sweet song on which he calls out shot callers like Akinwumi Ambode, Goodluck Jonathan and Aliko Dangote.A lot of people do not consider Jahbless a Rapper, and his name rarely comes up in Hip-Hop conversations, and the next song Lights Camera Action is for such people,He raps about the trappings of celebrity lifestyle,and the lure which it presents to the people outside looking in, little do they do in actuality it is the polar opposite of glitz and glamour in reality,it’s definitely one of the standout tracks on the album.The tone of the album switches to a more sombre one on the next song Nigga, which had him singing about betrayals and letdowns which he has experienced in the hands of his friends, its a heartfelt song which was capped by a solid guest verse by an un-credited Rapper,anybody who has been disappointed by a friend ( which means everybody ) will definitely relate to this.
Pago is an impressive romantic duet which features his labelmate Jozie who gave a good account of herself over a solid production laced with an impressive Bata Drum sequence pattern by producer Krizbeatz who handled the bulk of the productions on this album.In this present musical terrain, the art of Skits is more or less dead but Jahbless shows he is not a conventional artiste by providing a short comic relief skit in form of Lekki Extension.Bad Girls comes next, this one is a song that borrows from the currently prevalent “Snap Wave”,it also features Dnot and Ceeboi, two talented up and coming acts whom Jahbless basically gave a chance to shine on this track,they sure did make the best out of the opportunity, as all three of them rapped about strong/independent/sexy girls across Nigerian Universities, mentioning some higher institutions in the process;Whoever was on the second verse ( I’m guessing it’s Dnot ) totally ripped the song with his rapid speed flow and created one of the top musical moments of the album.The issue of industry groupies is adressed on the street banger 69 Missed Calls, which is another solid posse cut that features Olamide, Reminisce, Lil Kesh, CDQ,Reminisce And Chinko Ekun.all MC’s gave a good account of themselves, but CDQ and Chinko sounded the hungriest.I have a feeling the three Young MC’s on this song will be nominated for the Nextrated awards at the Headies, if not together,THEN this year and next year simultaneously.
Iyalaya Anybody is the first song I think is skippable, the song is average, and Ice prince who was featured alongside Cee Boi sounded out of place and and delivered an entirely weak verse which dampened the song.Take It Slow is a pretty decent love ballad, and Make Me Wanna which features Akymz and rave of the moment Kiss Daniels is also another song that gets a comfortable pass mark, though the chorus may be a bit basic to some listeners.Lepo is another song that will sway listeners to opposite sides in equal proportions, and then Smoke Dope Shit [ SDS ] is a smokers anthem which Marijuana aficionados will really appreciate, its was laced with a dreamy melodious beat which really suited the song and created another song that the streets will appreciate wholeheartedly.The album comes to a fitting end with a Reggae remix of the title track I Am Me which featured Lamboginny which was then followed by an Outro where Jahbless declares himself the Olori Ebi Of Hip-Hop [ Head Of The Family Of Hip-Hop ]
After a very elaborate review, I can confidently tell you we have a contender for album of the year here, honestly Jahbless is criminally underrated.If I want to compare him to any artiste, it is Sound Sultan.Jahbless has gotten better over the years like fine wine, and is now on cruise control.This is the best album of his career, it provides something for everybody, his confidence is evident all over the record and I would recommend the deluxe version with 22 Tracks, apart from 1 or 2 songs that fell slightly short, I cannot fault this album, if you need a solid album to enjoy this summer with I am Me is it.
Best Verse:- DNot on Bad Girls
Standout Track:- Too many to pick, BUT Smoke Dope Shit Is THE Track.
Musical Moment:- D’not Verse On Bad Girls
Album Rating:- 8.6/10
Nerd Peeve:- I Shouldn’t bring this up, but I find it a bit cringeworthy that an NDLEA Ambassador Lamboginny Features On a song that comes right after a Marijuana anthem…I’m not complaining though.