ClassiQ review of Blaqbonez’s ‘Young Preacher’ | classiqdjfaze.com

The album elevated him to star status and the was successful enough to afford him the lifestyle to match. For an artist who has been on the corridors of fame for several years and who had to slowly but steadily climb his way to the top, the success of ‘Sex Over Lover’ meant he could dream and aspire for more.

With talent in abundance and an ever-present relentlessness, Blaqbonez aims for the next level in his artistic ambitions. To achieve this, he creates an album that retains the theme of the project that brought him tangible success while combining it with glory-gleaning elements that puts his ambition on full display.

In ‘Young Preacher’, Blaqbonez documents his ideology as a man whose perspective of love is built on wanton philistinism shaped by his many experiences. Like a stoic, Blaqbonez appears to have endured pain (romantic, family, and career) and he uses his success as a way to fight the pain.

‘Young Preacher’: Unabashed Philistinism

Since ‘Sex Over Love,’ Blaqbonez has been on a one-man crusade to spread his philosophy of sexual relationships over romantic relationships. He retains this theme in Young Preacher and the album contains what can be described as different arguments or justifications if you like, for why Blaqbonez prefers sex over love.

In the opening track, he says “Young Preacher f**king every choir mistress…I f**k anybody I want”. In the Swing record ‘Hot Boy’ he talks about his “BBC” and how the song might be about someone’s girlfriend which captures what this writer thinks is his scorn for romantic relationships.

The Nigerian mainstream music industry has seen a rise in toxic music, especially from male artists and this reality is not lost on Blaqbonez who admits that toxic music might be selling but for him, it’s beyond commercial appeal. Well, I don’t think it’s entirely true and the decision to add this caveat might have unconsciously pointed listeners in the exact direction.

In ‘Whistle’ he recruits Lojay and Amarae two artists skilled in delivering stimulating content to talk about how the street has zero respect for relationship commitments.

In ‘Fashionova’, he talks about the gorgeous high-class ladies in choice designers with toxic traits whose company he keeps. And in ‘Back In Uni,’ he talks about the trail of heartbreaks he has left behind from back in the University where he was a young student to Lekki the choice estate where, as a successful artist he continued his heartbreaking spree. He doesn’t take responsibility nor apologized for his serial cheating. Like a typical cheat, he argues that his actions are not his fault and that only God can save him.

hIn ‘Loyalty’ he tells the story of his sexual escapades which sometimes leads to women falling in love and demanding his loyalty, which he can’t give.

“I never knack in four days,” he says in ‘Ess Mama’ feat. Tekno, where he talks about sexual starvation after not having sex for four days which also shows the frequency of his needs and how anyone not meeting those needs was expendable.

In ‘Star Life’, he talks about Caucasian girls in Caribbean cruise and how as a star, he has different girls in his corner and he can do whatever he likes. However, he acknowledges the fact that he does sometimes get lonely and craves someone to hold him. In a rare moment on the album, he lets his guards down and admit to occasionally yearning for something beyond casual sex.

For Blaqbonez, everything should and must lead to sex after which he reserves every right to cut communications and further relations. For the Young Preacher, anything that upsets this arrangement is unacceptable.

‘Young Preacher’: Celebrating success and masking pain

In ‘Hot Boy’ Blaqbonez says “share my pain and then I count my blessing” he talked about how his dad left him and his mother had to struggle. This is pain albeit hidden amidst hedonism.

Blaqbonez is an artist who has had to contend with a lot since he was a child. Life dealt him a bad hand and he had to play his way out and find success.

It’s this writer’s opinion that after getting success, Blaqbonez refuses to face this pain. Then face it, he will rather use his success to mask it. Take for example ‘Young Preacher’ where he says “I ain’t gon dip like my father” he tells a story of how he grew up in the ghetto in hardship as a kid with an absent father with whom he has now reconciled. It’s hard not to think that there’s still a lot more pain from where those lines emerged and which Blaqbonez doesn’t want to explore.

Now while the album is primarily about wanton philistinism, the topic of personal pain would have still fallen under the umbrella of a ‘Young Preacher’ without necessarily hurting the theme. I also think such content might have provided artistic depth.

In ‘Fake Nikes’, he talks about how he’s not ashamed of wearing knockoffs as he’s unwilling to spend millions for the original giving his reality. For a rapper, this is a very curious subject as it gives other rappers an easy way to shade him. However, as a person, the song conveys honesty even in success. A level of honesty many artists would never attain and which they absolutely don’t need to attain. It’s one of those songs that stays true to Blaqbonez’s personability albeit corny.

The album also sees him celebrate his success as a man that came from nothing to something. Whether it’s getting his parents a crib and car, driving a Benz, being able to afford original sneakers which he refuses to buy, or using his money to chase high-class girls, ‘Young Preacher’ puts Blaqbonez’s success on full display.

‘Young Preacher’: A Super-quality project for Superstar ambitions

Blaqbonez aspires to superstar status and to achieve this he needs a project that can tap into a large market and it’s for this purpose that ‘Young Preacher’ is commercially crafted.

He expertly combines different elements (sampling, backup vocals, different genres, and strategic artists) to deliver a project that can appeal to a large audience.

The album has Dancehall records like ‘Hot Boy’ and ‘Whistle’, Swing records like ‘Fashion Nova’, ‘Back in Uni’, Hip Hop in ‘Fake Nikes’ and ‘Back in BS’, Pop in ‘Loyalty’, a mixture of Highlife and Ragga in ‘Ess Mama’, and he delivers Amapiano in ‘Star Life’ whose drum pattern is similar to Joeboy‘s ‘Contour’.

His writing as always is good and his flow hits the needed level. And while his singing isn’t great, he knows how to use his voice and this allows him to deliver smooth melody in ‘Star Life’ and like in ‘Fake Nikes’ where he delivers pop-rap.

Individually the songs excel in their quality and delivery and together, they deliver both thematic and sonic coherence. Songs like ‘Back In Uni’, ‘Whistle’, ‘Loyalty’, and ‘Star Life’ are great singles that can achieve commercial success with the right backing. A song like ‘Fake Nikes’ can spark a Tik Tok and Instagram trend which can propel it to success.

‘Young Preacher’ is an A&R masterclass as every featured artist is not only a musical fit, but they are also strategic. Tekno has a sizeable followership across the continent and beyond which includes Drake and Billie Elish. Lojay and Amarae appeal to the Gen Z listeners that roam Pop and Alte soundscapes. JAE5 touch on ‘Back In Uni’ and ‘Fashionova’ taps into the UK scene, Blxckie is one of the fast-rising rappers in South Africa, and Bien of Sauti Sol is one of the most recognizable voices in Eastern Africa.

The album’s musicality is elevated by the sampling of some Afrobeats classics such as Styl Plus‘Run Away’ in ‘Young Preacher’ and Paul Play‘s ‘Forever’ on ‘Loyalty’.

He expertly uses Oxlade‘s vocals to add harmony to ‘Back In Uni’ and uses female backup vocals in ‘Fake Nikes’, and he uses harmonies and horns to elevate ‘Star Life’. He samples voices to add fine details that showcase his artistry.

Credit must also be given to Ramoni, who is the main producer behind the album. He was able to deliver tailored beats that deliver sonic coherence.

While the album appears to be carefully crafted for commercial appeal and it might even pass off as a bit too glory-gleaning, it comes together perfectly.

Blaqbonez desires a level of commercial success that will rocket him to the next level of his career and he put together an album that can achieve this. And he goes all out to make an album that even in the absence of massive commercial success its quality might make for a classic.

Take a bow, Blaqbonez the Young Preacher.

Songwriting, Themes, and Delivery: 1.7/2

Enjoyability and Satisfaction: 1.7/2

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