The lead single ‘Bumper 2 Bumper’ took over speakers across the country as it brought a unifying street cadence that incorporated Western Pop appeal.
Wande Coal’s vocals, melody, and delivery offered a rich Western pop import notably missing in an industry that largely straddles a Nigerian blend of R&B and Hip Hop, and this new exciting sound would carve out a new Pop space that would go on to define the future of Afrobeats.
The 16-track album packed singles that not only reached mega-hit status but also provided a sonic template for a modern Afropop song sound. While it might be trite to say that the album was way ahead of its time, its critical acclaim and unrivaled status are evident in its quality. Take for example, the opening track ‘I Know You Like It’ whose chord is similar to the chords in Ed Sheeran‘s ‘Shape of You’ which was released 8 years later.
The modern use of Pop rap and its seamless infusion with street lingo (Lamba) runs through the album with tracks like ‘You Bad’ feat D’banj, ‘Ten Ten’, ‘Banana’ feat Dr. Sid, and ‘Taboo.’ Wande Coal was able to combine sticky melody, impressive writing, and party-starting drum arrangement for a popular type of music whose appeal cuts across demographics.
The album was a pioneering project that focuses on delivering a modern sound that appeals across board without specific tracks dedicated to appealing to listeners in different parts of the country. It however still retained an element of such an era in ‘Se Na Like This’ which was a conscious music to achieve the required quota.
The project offered an unprecedented level of multiple genre exploration as it packs Pop, and R&B in the timeless ‘Bananas’ and ‘Olulufe’, and even Hip Hop in ‘Who Born The Maga’. It also offers an exceptional level of genre blending with the tracks infusing different sounds including Fuji like in ‘Bumper 2 Bumper’ to achieve unmissable street cadence.
Wande Coal was able to deploy Yoruba in making a modern sound in way artists before him couldn’t. And this exquisite balance with Western pop sound forms the template that would be explored by the likes of Wizkid, Davido, and Sean Tizzle in the following years.
The production is highly sophisticated with significant Pop appeal which is notable in the use of electronic elements in the drums, chords, reverbs, and autotune.
In the evolution of Afrobeats, ‘Mushin 2 Mo’ Hits’ ranks high as the album that created the template for what would become Afropop. The album delivered an influence that still endures to date. And what’s even more beautiful is that Wande Coal has hung around long enough to see it all happen while remaining a key contributor.
Wande Coal is set to release his third album ‘Legend or No Legend’ on May 18, 2023. While the project is Wande Coal’s unbothered response to his status in the industry, in this writer’s opinion, it’s a chapter in an already-written book. The book of his legend.