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A review of ‘Ghetto Gospel’ by Nigerian musician Balloranking

Street Gospel is the reality of the street presented through street-styled music that employs sonic abrasiveness, high energy, vulgarity, and the tales that shape the street.

Balloranking is one of the Street emissaries whose music is shedding light on life on the Street, and his new album ‘Ghetto Gospel’ is an acknowledgment of his role as a Street Prophet.

While his debut project ‘Trench Kid’ is an acknowledgment of his come up which is largely shaped by his reality at the fringes of the social ladder, his debut LP sees him serve as an emissary who has experienced both worlds.

True Street acts are unmistakable in their craft. From the pictures they paint with their words, the undying hustler spirit that informs their music, and the sonic elements that come together to enhance street relatability. In ‘Ghetto Gospel’, Balloranking richly explores these elements to create a Street learning album shaped by the mainstream.

While the music is largely defined by Log drums, Balloranking also infuses mid-tempo Pop medley, Dancehall bounce, and Konto style.

A Street Prophet, Balloranking explores the subjects that resonate with the street. Hustle, chest-thumping street savviness, and a good time be that in downers or the arms of a woman.

For persons whose lives are defined by socioeconomic realities, Street Acts understands the power money wields hence their fixation on it. They tell stories of their hustles and their drive to make it out of the hood even though that might involve some undesirables. This documentation of the hustling spirit makes up the motif of ‘Ghetto Gospel’ as Balloranking shares the drive that shapes the Street.

“Paper”, “Aje”, and “Hustle” are recurring words on the album and they are paired with “Ball”, “Shayo”, and “Jaiye” which capture the Street mindset of hustle and ball.

‘Aye’ his collaborations with Hotkid and ‘Aje’ with L.A.X are singles that highlight Balloranking’s hitmaking credentials as he deploys Log drums and speaker-rattling baseline craft party-starters.

He crafts strikingly familiar Street-Hop cuts with ‘Billion Bucks’ and ‘Backwoods’ which are driven by his hustle and ball lifestyle.

His baritone vocals lay smooth melodies on the Konto joint ‘Dinah’ and Dancehall Riddims ‘Caro’. While both singles show he’s capable of cutting out the vulgarities and embracing a more romantic pop style, Balloranking shows the other side of his desires in ‘Kefti’ and ‘XXL’ where he employs vulgarities and hyperboles to express his desires.

The Log drums and cadences that come together to shape ‘Ghetto Gospel’ offer a striking familiarity that places it at risk of monotony. However, this style is not unbecoming of Street Music.

Guest verses from Hotkid, L.A.X, Dyani, and 1da Banton assist in delivering the strongest tracks on the project while the others shape up to hold up Balloranking’s stylicism.

A primary shortcoming of Street acts is their inability to switch it up in a way that offers sonic diversity that makes the music less burdensome. Balloranking seems to be at risk of this shortcoming as he retains a singular cadence for most of the album, so much so that 3 tracks practically sum up the entire project.

At any rate, ‘Ghetto Gospel’ portrays the hustle and ball spirit that drives those whose realities are shaped by the street. And for listeners who don’t share such realities, Balloranking attempts to offer insights and gratification.

Songwriting, Themes, and Delivery: 1.3/2

Enjoyability and Satisfaction: 1.3/2

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