Album:- An Epic Journey [ Visual EP ]
Record Label:- DB Records
Distributed By:- I-Tunes and Spinlet
Guest Appearances:- Reminisce, Cassper Nyovest, Akon, Ice Prince, Idris Elba, Shadow Boxer
Producers:- Deevee, 2Kriss & Shadow Boxer
Release Date:- 25th September 2015
In March, to celebrate him clocking a decade in the music business, I wrote an article revisiting D’Banjs Magnum opus No Long Ting album and discussing the impact on that body of work on the broader spectrum of Afro-pop music as well as the inspiration which was drawn from the project by acts like Wande Coal, Wizkid and Davido who would come after D’Banj and take the game to a whole new level using the blueprint which was laid out by the Eja Nla himself. However he had other ideas as to how he would commemorate his achievement of the 10-year milestone of being an active singer, songwriter, showman and all-round entertainer, his idea was to deliver a new body of work titled An Epic Journey, his first solo project since parting ways with his longtime collaborator Don Jazzy who produced the entirety of his discography up until they split in 2011 following the release of Oliver Twist, a song that happens to be his biggest single till date and was the catalyst for the dissolution of Mo-Hits records and him signing a joint venture partnership with American Rapper Kanye Wests GOOD Music label.
D’Banj – Feeling The Nigga Featuring Akon
Whilst nothing tangible came out of his association with Kanye West, D’Banj established his own label DB Records and released a compilation in 2013 titled D Kings Men, a project which spanned singles like Top Of The World, Finally, Bachelor and Sister Caro, all hit tracks which showed the fans that he can hold his own as a CEO of a label and drop singles which his fans and the wider music consuming populace will appreciate. The 7-track Visual EP is the first of it’s kind in the sense that all the songs on the project have a video to go with it ( nobody in Nigeria has done that before ), he made good his promise and delivered the project on the 25th of September.
The album opens on a triumphant note on the first track The King Is Here, a song that featured two of Africas finest Rappers, our own Reminisce and South African Rapper Cassper Nyovest, and had D’Banj displaying his new found Snap-trap style. While I’m still trying to warm up to his “Future Inspired style”, I appreciated the verses which were both solid and gave the song a more well-rounded presentation. Frosh Featuring Akon is the next song , a more Afro-pop oriented single that had Akon bending his cadence and delivery to a more African style which he did quite well, him and D’Banj combined forces on the song to create a solid Afro-pop track. D’Banj goes for a more Caribbean vibe on the next song Confidential which featured Producer Shadow Boxer and British actor Idris Elba who has been trying his hand out at music since he released a remix of Shutdown, a popular Grime song which was performed by Skepta.I Didn’t like the song when it dropped and I still don’t , but It’s already spreading and getting love from a lot of fans ( I’m affirmative that the presence of Idris Elba on the song helped it ).
D’Banj – Confidential Featuring Shadow Boxer & Driis
Knocking On My Door [ Ko Le Ye Won ] is one of the better songs on the EP and showed glimpses of the old D’Banj as he brought the Harmonica back, it’s a heavy drum-driven record that’s my personal favourite, the sound on this one is the direction I feel his sound should follow, explore and develop more.Everywhere you see me, salute, you see me driving through you salute, you know my money source is from the root”, is probably one of the weakest lyrics you will hear from an A-List act in 2015, but those were the opening lines of the next song Salute which featured Ice Prince, a poorly executed Snap-trap track which I feel would have been left out of the project. The biggest song on the project is the Akon Featured Feeling The Nigga, a song which I didn’t like when it dropped, but I have come to appreciate as it has grown on me over time. The project comes to a close on an experimental note with Extraordinary , a smooth laidback track on which D’Banj tries out the Euro-dance sound and delivers it just fine, while a lot of his core fans may be a bit taken aback by the sound on the track, it will open D’banj up to more international musical audiences.
D’Banj – Frosh Featuring Akon
An Epic Journey is an enjoyable project, but it does not top any other of D’Banjs body of work. It’s a nice pointer to show his musical growth and current mindstate, but is not without one or two mis-steps especially in the songwriting/lyrical department which I feel was really low. I feel like he still has some soul searching, musical experimentation and sound improvement to do in order to really forge a new musical path that will keep him afloat for another decade. As a 10-year vet, D’banj should be the source of inspiration and shouldn’t source for inspiration ( at least from his peers ). On the production front, we all know that filling up Don Jazzys shoe’s is a tall ask for any producer in the game, but D’Banj should explore more sounds as opposed to that of Deevee, perhaps some of these younger producers like DJ Coublon, Kezyklef, Selebobo And Young John may be able to cook up an array of diverse sounds for D’Banj to pick from and get inspired by. Nonetheless, this project reflects his 10 year journey and if you can get to feature an internationally accomplished act like Akon twice on your album, it’s safe to say that you’re on the right track and you have done quite a commendable job in 10 years.
Standout Track:- Knocking On My Door
Musical Moment:- The Harmonica making a comeback On Knocking On My Door
Album Rating:- 6.8/10