Album:- Negasi ( Heir To the Throne )[ Extended Play ]
Record Label:- Epitome Music/Streamtunes
Distributed By:- Soundcloud/I-Tunes
Guest Appearances:- Wandey, Matthew, Endia, Ziz, Boye, Dynastydrizzle, Boogey, Jesse Jagz & Kahli Abdu
Release Date:- February 7th 2016
Usually it t takes me about 3 songs to recognize a new artiste, his musical inclination and to make a well informed opinion as to whether he creates the sort of music I would like to listen to ( some other artistes catch you after 10 songs, but that’s another story ) . It is somewhat a rare occurrence for me to become a fan of an artiste after listening to just one song and when this happens, more often than not these artistes who get me at one-listen go on to become superstars who churn out quality music at a consistent basis and that is where Phazehop comes in. Even though he was part of the production personnel on both of Jesse Jagz critically acclaimed album series Jagz Nation Volumes 1 & 2, it was until last February when he released his debut single the soulful romantic ballad Take You Home which also features the younger Abaga. I caught wind of his music and upon listening to his mid-pitch falsetto on that single track I was immediately sold. His next three singles Ori , Show Me The Paper Featuring Phenom and Panapana only solidified what I already knew and by the time he delivered his debut body of work The Negasi EP, I was already a full blown believer in his brand, his music as well as his musical direction.
The title of the EP Negasi translates to “Crown Him King” in the ancient Shewa dialect of Ethiopia and begins with a spoken word Intro titled Teferi Caeser which sets the tone for the entire project, leading on to the next song Gbadurami, a low tempo song which was enveloped with a despondent ambiance on which he remarked “don’t judge me, don’t fight me, you don’t know what I’ve been through“. He goes on to sing about his ultimate struggle to make it in life as well as solicit for prayers from his well wishers. He teams up with his labelmates Wandey ( who thereafter released her impressive single Belong Together )and Matthew on the next song Need Me a synthesizer driven love song on which the host was outshone by his guests, especially Wandey who made a very strong case for herself, displaying different ranges of her vocal prowess and stamping her authority not just on the song but as a diva with a promising future. When I saw Endia on the tracklist, I was excited and looked forward to the collaboration with my favourite Grip Boy, on Some More a mid-tempo Afro-trap song which served as an ode to “big booty girls”, but I was a bit taken aback, not only because the song was underwhelming, but mainly because I expected a lot more out of the collaboration between two acts both of whom I consider to be extremely talented. The next song How Market centers around self-aggrandization and was performed almost entirely in Yoruba language, it’s a good song but the production has a retro leaning and it sounded like something that could have been released between 2000-2010. Next comes Mountain Top which features Ziz and Boye, it’s another pop concoction that doesn’t leave any indelible mark in my musical psyche. It leads on to No Worries which sounded like a cheap generic knock off of DJ Spinalls single No Sorrow with Pheelz which he released last year. Follow Me Go lightens the mood on the project with an uptempo, club friendly vibe, before the project comes to a close on Take U Home [ Remix ] which featured a posse of rappers including Boogey, Kahli Abdu, Jesse Jagz, & Dynasty Drizzle, my personal favourite song which would have been better had Jesses original verse been replaced with something new from him or another rapper.
Phazehop has officially begun his musical journey with this project and the fact that the aforementioned songs Ori, Take U Home, and Pana Pana were left out begs the notion that most of the songs on this EP were simply released to create more creative space for him to craft his new sound and forge a new musical direction. Although it lacks any form of solid cohesion and doesn’t reflect the title, Negasi is a window into his thoughts, artistic ideology and musical disposition .The EP will definitely win him some new fans and also consolidate his fanbase but it does not pack the expected punch which I thought it would when I first heard his singles, however if Take U Home and Ori are pointers to where his sound and music are headed, I am totally up for it.
Best Verse:- Boogey on Take U Home [ Reloaded ]
Standout Track:- Take U Home [ Reloaded ] Featuring Boogey, Kahli Abdu, Jesse Jagz and Dynastydrizzle
Overall Rating:- 6.5/10