Falz the badt guy had his single, Karashika buzzing for most of the year, carrying his momentum from 2014 well into 2015. Once word hit that he was releasing an album this year, everyone was curios to see just what Falz would have up his sleeves for his sophomore album, Stories That Touch. After chatting with Falz, before the release, about what was expected from his album (see here), we can say that he’s pretty delivered on what he said.
Like with any album, the first track is the probably the most important track on the album. It can give the audience the incentive to continue, or make the audience switch off and possibly write off the project (premature perhaps). Kabiyesi is almost the perfect ‘first track’ in terms of content, and concept. In many ways it’s almost a signal to the rest of the Nigerian hip-hop world; Kabiyesi is here. Once you’re pumped up from the first track, then the journey can begin.
The most fascinating aspect of this album has to be the fact that pretty much every song has a different idea, story and message. On songs like Soft Work, and Clap (ft. Reminisce) you get to see the best of the heavy hitting bars hip-hop Falz. Hitting solid bars, crazy delivery, all while using his trademark ‘H-factor’/pidgin english flow. The idea behind those pretty much shows Falz talk up himself. Lines like ““We no dey struggle to collect best artist / first class no be by who collect extra sheet” sends the message that Falz is super confident about his place in Nigerian Hip-Hop with or without the awards. On Clap, Falz uses the famous interview from boxer, Lateef Kayode, as the sub-theme of track, and it worked perfectly.
Falz uses My People, and Workaholic to touch on real life issues for the average struggling Nigerian, both at home and abroad. Workaholic is probably one of my favorite songs on the album, simply because Falz touches on a subject that is rarely (if ever) discussed in Nigerian music. The sheer guts it took to hit up that topic that many might not think is worth discussing is laudable. Did I say the production was A+ also?
Falz had a way with story telling throughout the whole album, and when you talk of Stories That Touch, you have to have stories about love. Soldier (ft. Simi), Love You Pass (ft. Bez), and Time Difference are those stories about love but all with different angles of love. While Soldier tells a playful tale of soldier trying to force his love on a girl, Time Difference is a bit more personal and talk up the difficulties of long distance relationships especially for Nigerians in Nigeria dating folks outside the country. On a happier note, Love You Pass, hits on the better parts of love.
Karishika, Celebrity Girlfriend, and Ello Bae are all necessarily playful songs that have and will continue to buzz the more commercial aspects of the album. With the exception of Ello Bae, which I feel could’ve been omitted from the album, they all have a big replay factor. I mean Karashika has arguably been a top 5 hip-hop song in 2015.
Chardonnay Music is probably the most intriguing track on the album because as playful as you might find Falz to be, he showed on this tune that he’s able to blend the sophisticated, and the playful. Who said sophisticated music has to be so serious. The horns on the hook coupled with Poe’s impecable flow brought this tune to perfection. You can sip wine, chill out, enjoy the tunes, and have a little bit of a laugh.
If I was really looking for a fault on the album (and I had to try hard), I’d say Kawosoke didn’t seem to fit in with the overall idea of the album. It’s still a good track, but kind of seems out of place with the rest of the project.
Overall, Stories That Touch is an album that lives up to its name. Every song having a different story or a different spin on a familiar story. After replaying the album over a dozen times within a week, it’s clear that this is an album that wont fade anytime soon. But it’s not just the stories that sell this album. The delivery, comic inserts, and most importantly the production are all top notch. Sess really outdid himself, and the quality is A+, so a special shoutout to mixers and sound engineers.
Stories That Touch is probably one of the best Nigerian albums this year, and quite possibly the best hip-hop album this year. Everything you want in music can be found in this album, and with this project, Falz has not only given Nigerian rappers some homework to do, but he’s really announced himself as a force to be reckoned with in Nigeria. That is unquestionable. Kabiyesi for real.