While this pressure is very much a marker of societal dysfunction as well as self-inflicted, these young men are cut in between a world of remaining morally upright (they always remember the admonitions of their mothers) and doing what a man has to do in a society where people celebrates wealth before asking questions.
In the end, they try to balance it in their way. They try to find a way good and bad can co-exist. “After sinning, they pray for forgiveness”.
For his second body of work ‘Rise’ EP, T Dollar soundtracks the yearnings of a young man struggling to make it in a world of good and evil.
T Dollar, like many street-pop acts, appears to be strongly tethered to their religious upbringing and retains a conscious desire to strive to live in a way that pleases God even while engaging in activities that are unbecoming of a morally upright man.
The desire to make it out of the hood, not just for themselves but for their families is what informs their decision to engage in a hustle that’s notoriously popular amongst young men.
“Because of money that I ran from home,” T Dollar says in Yoruba in the Pop tune ‘If’, where he talks about how he doesn’t sleep all night to get paid and there are no prizes for guessing what activities keep him up. Yet, he retains enough morality to remember what his mother says. Also, like most Nigerians brought home in religious homes, he believes in superior power and providence (Ori) to pave the way to his success.
The album is one long supplication made into different catchy tunes and delivered through relatable writing. in ‘If’, his mother prays for him to be successful which marks the importance of a parent’s prayer for their kids, especially in the Yoruba culture.
In ‘Grace’ feat. Otega, T Dollar says a prayer against his enemies while maintaining that the grace of God is sufficient for him. He uses catchy melody and simple writing that strives on the content of the everyday prayers of an average Nigerian.
In the captivating tune ‘Our Father,’ he soundtracks the supplications of a young man turning to a higher power to overlook his shortcomings and bless him. The song captures the economic and social pressure young men in Nigeria contend with at an age where their peers in better climes are faced with significantly lesser pressures. The decision to remix this single was to give it more push and take it to a larger audience, however, the choice of Harrysong defeats this purpose with all due respect to the sensational writer.
‘Our Father’ is a street-pop tune curated for hustlers and the song needed an artist with street credibility to push it to the right audience.
Despite his desire to make it and a penchant to turn to unholy ways, T Dollar retains sufficient moral inclination to know where to draw the line. He might be okay with pressing his laptop and living off a middle-aged white woman, he wouldn’t, however, turn to rituals and diabolical activities as he points out in the smooth pop tune ‘One Day’ where he says ‘I know dey go shrine’.
Similarly, he acknowledges that he falls short of the moral standard. “After sinning, we pray for forgiveness,” he says in his street credibility single ‘Rise’ where he echoes the common prayer that unites young hustlers on Nigerian streets – their success is not theirs alone.
The Amapiano tune ‘No Stress’ showcase his hitmaker credentials and while it’s still in its formative stage, there’s no doubt about the potential that he packs. The feel-good captures the stress-free inclination of a young man whose pockets are stuffed with high denomination notes setting out to enjoy the best of what Lagos nightlife has to offer.
Since ‘Our Father’ remix is unlikely to surpass the reach of the original, a remix for ‘No Stress’ with a top artist might give T Dollar a major hit to get his name to a larger audience.
Overall, ‘Rise’ EP is a smooth body of work from a talented artist who echoes the sentiments of young men hustling to make it in while staying within moral boundaries.
Songwriting, Themes, and Delivery: 1.6/2
Enjoyability and Satisfaction: 1.6/2