Artiste:- DJ Xclusive
Album:- According To X
Record Label:- EME Entertainment
Distributed By:- I-Tunes
Guest Appearances:- Bovi, Phyno, Fiesta Black, 2Face Idibia, Timaya, D’Prince, Wizkid, Davido, Kcee, Patoranking, Tiwa Savage, Trafic, Reekado Banks, Olamide, Burna Boy, Ajebutter 22, Seyi Shay, Pepenazi,Sarkodie, Cassper Nyovest, Terry G, Anatii, Lil Kesh, CDQ, Banky W, May D, Tillaman, Skales, Ice Prince.
Producers:- Phyno, Vinnie, Orbeat, Masterkraft, Don Jazzy, Spellz, Del B, Pheelz, Studio Magic, Terry G, Tyrone, Sammy Gyang
Release Date:- June 29th 2015
4 Years after he got recruited to Empire Mates Entertainment as the resident label DJ and more specifically Wizkids official DJ, Rotimi Alakija aka DJ Xclusive aka It Is I aka Bruce Wayne followed in the footsteps of great DJ’s before him like Jimmy Jatt, Vinnie, Stramborella and Humility to deliver a 21 track project titled According to X, his debut solo album which featured 29 artistes and 11 producers.
He was featured on one track off the 2012 compilation Empire Mates State Of Mind album and subsequently released his solo single I’m Xclusive which featured Mo Eazy leading him to use the experience he had gained in the industry to start collaborating with different artistes and working towards releasing his solo album which he eventually did on June 29th. The album begins with a not-so-funny intro by Comedian Bovi that led on to the opening track All I See Is Me which was produced by and featured Phyno a braggadocios self-aggrandizing song which had Phyno flowing effortlessly characteristically in Igbo language over the thumping baseline which was tailor fitted to his vocals, It’s a song that Hip-hop heads, especially those who understand Igbo will appreciate. Next comes the high octane Rassa which features South African alternative rapper Fiesta Black who brought a whole lot of energy to the track with an electrifying performance over an Afro-house cushion, even if you can’t understand what she is saying, you will be able to appreciate the song.
Two of the biggest Urban artistes over the last 10 years 2face Idibia and Timaya make a cameo on the contemporary Galala song which a dancehall twist Jam It, one of the previously released singles, and together they created a top notch single that will light up many dance floors for time to come ( Tubaba really went in on this one ). Tonight is another single which is a strictly EME affair with Niyola and Banky W featured over production by Masterkraft ( who was affiliated with the label for a while ), this time the song has an Afro-pop leaning and has all the trappings of a fan favourite cum hit track, Though singers traditionally, both acts showed that they can groove to an uptempo production as they have demonstrated before in the past. The next song Gal Bad is a below par collaboration between Wizkid, D’Prince and Don Jazzy who handled the production, as they failed to recreate the magic that Omoba and Wizzy made on Wad Up off Wizkids debut album Superstar. The Spellz produced Wo Le which featured Davido had him recycling his lyrics off Shuperu By Orezi, dishing out sporadic lyrics over an intense beat that will get even a cripple off his seat, but the song however is an average one. Kcee has never been known to make dancehall influenced music, so the next song Shabba which he features on along with Patoranking just doesn’t have any sort of synergy whatsoever, it’s a highly forgettable single which was produced by Del B and doesn’t appeal to my musical sensibilities in any way whatsoever.
Alhaji Features Tiwa Savage , Trafic and Reekado Banks and it also samples an Indian backdrop which worked just well for the song, while it is not exactly a standout track, it’s definitely above average and continues the album to the trado-funk/Afro-fusion song Ibebe which featured Olamide. Personally I feel like he should have written this song and called Small Doctor to execute it, as it sounds like something tailored for Akeweje Oga Nla, but it simply doesn’t work for me as an Olamide song. Oyoyo featuring Burna Boy is something distinct and was well executed by Burna, as he revamped a very popular Nigerian nursery rhyme to create definitely one of the standout tracks on the project. Party Tonight Is a pretty well crafted song that features Seyi Shay and Ajebutter 22 who spat rapid rhymes over production by his regular collaborators Studio Magic while Seyi handled hook duties and serenaded the track appropriately and it continues the album to Pangolo which once again features Timaya and sounds every inch like his previously released single Ukwu sonically, It’s highly generic and formulaic but funny enough it works well for a DJ Album compilation or even a DJ club set.
Olamide makes a comeback on the album, but this time with Pepenazi on Gone Are The Days, a song that was influenced by Kegites gyration music, and sees both artistes recounting the all too familiar trademark “nothing to something” story which basically all artistes have on their resume, There was nothing Olamide said he hasn’t said before, but Pepenazi held it down and gave me a nice piece of his expertise with a solid verse. The best song on the album in my opinion is the next song Jeje which was performed by Wizkid, it sounded like an upgraded version of Wo Le, but Wizkid totally left the beat in shreds and delivered for the umpteenth time another club smash. if Jeje is the best pop song, then the next track Cash Only which features Ghanas Sarkodie as well as South Africans Cassper Nyovest and Anatii is the best Rap song on the project and is a strong contender for Rap song of the year on any reputable award show, unfortunately it won’t be getting nominated in Nigeria because its a Ghana/SA song. Except maybe best production which Masterkraft handled and pulled off impressively suggesting to me that maybe some Hip-hop acts need to reach out to Sonny Nweke for a different variety of Rap beats. Terry G brings his brand of spiritual ginjah and Chante-chante music to the album on Fatasi , which even as a Terry G fan, I can tell you I wasn’t feeling as it was just too rambunctious and disorganized for my liking. The combination of Lagos humour and street lingo are the weirdly infectious qualities about Dami Si which featured CDQ and Lil Kesh, two alternative street rappers who have both had a great year, and combined quite effectively to make this song. ( “I’m a Superman, I can fly, I can do back flip” – Lil Kesh ). EME boss Banky W drops a “spare verse” on the aforementioned Cash Only next while No Time which features Skales, May D and Tillaman is an average album filler which sounds quite dated. ( Skales rapping on this was a dead giveaway ). The album ends on an appreciative note with Promise which is a very good closing song that features Ice Prince.
Considering the fact that this is the only project EME released this year, I expected a lot more from the A&R department as well as production wise, but that does not mean the album is a bad one. It’s almost easy to point out which songs Banky W was involved in, and those he left to DJ Xclusive to handle also the album lacks a little bit of cohesion because a lot of songs sound outdated or more like tracks that were left on the cutting room floor but were later squeezed into this project.There are however a handful of songs that fans will appreciate and some that have the potential to become chart topping smash hits. One major problem on the album is the incessant and sometimes unwarranted adlibs which DJ Xclusive keeps screaming over the tracks, not giving room for the tracks to breathe like Jimmy Jatt does, sometimes as a DJ, its good to fall back and let the artistes do their thing, but with this project he has fulfilled one of his objective as a Disc Jockey who is aspiring for greatness in the music industry by proving that he is one of the foremost young DJ’s in Nigeria by pulling a lot of heavyweights on the project.has disseminated his musical gospel which has been quite well received by the masses.
Best Verse:- Sarkodie On Cash Only
Standout Track:- Cash Only Featuring Sarkodie & Cassper Nyovest
Musical Moment:- The production on Cash Only deserves yet another mention..
Album Rating:- 6/10