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A Pulse review of ‘ICINLA’ by Nigerian singer Oladapo

Haven showcased his talent on a string of previous releases, and Oladapo joins the short list of artists who have delivered impressive Afrobeats-styled R&B projects.

In ‘ICINLA’, Oladapo shares personal tales of his struggles with love through honest writing, convincing delivery, and impressive production.

A lover boy, the album presents him as someone who has some healing to do and Oladapo didn’t try to hide this bittersweet relationship with love nor did he try to hide how he feels about his exes if at all he tried to.

The album progresses from an encounter to falling hopelessly, the honeymoon stage, the trial stage, the breakup, the pain, and the conclusion to never love again.

He stretches his vocals in ‘Perfect Timing,’ revealing his amusement at finding love before proceeding to blend log drums and infectious melody to declare his feelings in ‘If At All’.

He samples D’Banj‘s ‘Scape Goat’ in ‘BomBoy’ where he offers all of himself as he whispers his melodies in a blend of English and Yoruba in a display of the urgency of a feeling that was beginning to take a toll on him.

The love story begins to go South with the interlude ‘Voicenote’ where his calls are left unanswered and he is forced to hide his feelings and the way it hurts beneath a nonchalant voicenote.

‘Text’ is a quintessentially R&B record that rolls back the years and offers the old-school feeling that displays Oladapo’s depth and understanding of the type of music he wishes to make. In the closing third of the track, he sings in a beat break pattern that mirrors the styles of R Kelly or Usher while sprinkling Yoruba to add local context.

The drums take the front role in ‘Break Up’ where he accepts defeat in love and chooses to call it quit in what is a contemplation of a failed love despite his best attempts.

If he chooses to walk away from it all and accept to be replaced for what he considers his inability to offer what is required of him, he makes it clear that there’s no love lost.

The album ends with a finger-pointing moment that fills the project as Oladapo chooses to have the last say before stating his readiness to do it all over again.

Across its 24 minutes of playtime ‘ICINLA’ retains the thematic and sonic coherence required to craft an impressive R&B project while adding unmissable Afrobeats context through production, language, and stylism.

‘ICINLA’ is an impressive body of work that captures the romantic experiences of a man who has a lot to say about his exes. Now that Oladapo has poured out his heart, perhaps he can begin his healing process.

Songwriting, Themes, and Delivery: 1.6/2

Enjoyability and Satisfaction: 1.6/2

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