Album: The Lasso of Truth
Features: Flavour, Tuface Idibia, Timaya, Wizkid & Afay
Producers: Cobhams Asquo, Sizzle Pro, Don Jazzy, Oscar Herman Acker, Young D, Sarz & Soso Soberekon
Label: Oma Records (2013)
Running Time: 46.5 minutes
NOTE: The Lasso of Truth is a fictional weapon wielded by DC Comics superheroine Wonder Woman, Princess Diana of Themyscira. It is usually referred to as the Magic Lasso or Golden Lasso and forces anyone it captures to obey and tell the truth.
Paying tribute to Princess Diana again, the biggest female recording artiste in Nigeria whose debut album was titled ‘Wonder Man’ has unleashed her ‘Lasso of Truth’ which is her sopohmore album. Omawumi is no stranger to good music, hence when she announced a follow-up to her mega debut tongues wagged but the superheroine hopes 12-track LP brings out the truth in the world. This review accesses how she fares in her conquest cleanse the globe:
Art Direction: Teamed up with celebrity photographer Obi Somto; Omawumi serves her sophomore outing with a similar cover to that of her debut record. Big “Diana Ross hair”, slightly expressionless and partly piercing gaze, “ropey” font for the album title and we have a good cover. The inscriptions of ‘Truth’ in different languages on her face on the cover of “Lasso”; leaves a bit more to be desired, partly because of its similarity to that of her “Wonder Woman” cover. The back cover boasts tribal font for the track-listing and shows Omawumi sitting with a reflective pose, gazing upwards in green tights, a cute sky-blue top and significantly an accessory shaped in the continent of Africa falling from her hair down to her neck with a globe highlighting Africa entrapped in her Lasso. Not exactly high fashion but then again her music speaks for her. We would have loved a bit more innovation with this cover because of how “big” she is (musically). Packaging after all is everything, and while it is not a bad cover, one isn’t exactly blown away by it either. Kudos for thinking outside the box!
1. If You Ask Me: ‘If You Ask Me’ finds Omawumi in a position where the diva is scared to talk about child sexual abuse because of the gravity of the subject; but she finally manages to open up about the ‘matter for ground’ soliloquizing on a ‘Cohbams Asuquo’ groovy jazz instrumentation enriched with trumpets, drums and timbres. The stellar voice narrates the emotional tale of a family, where the daughter was sexually abused by her father. She delivers the interesting piece with her strong pipes and takes the listener on a journey; painful yet informative as she urges victims of sexual abuse to stand up and take action, raising awareness on the issue and climaxing with a cinematic end. The subject of the song, classic production combined with outstanding vocal performance; Ms. Megbele proves that she is a wonder woman capable of pushing boundaries and refining her style.
2. When The Boss Is Coming (Actor Sef Dey Run): Reminiscent of ‘Today Na Today’ off ‘Wonder Woman’ is the show-stopping and edgy ‘When The Boss Is Coming’ produced by Sizzle Pro. The first seconds of this electro-pop number traps the listener, followed by Omawumi’s signature vocal grunts and hiccups, synths, kicks…and of course her powerful voice as she belts out motivating lyrics like; “He who fights and runs away comes back to fight another day, If you try and you fail, you have to try another way”. An amazing break from the norm!
3. The African Way: This Wonder Woman is from Africa and is anything but ashamed of it hence celebrating her heritage with the Don Jazzy produced ‘The Africa Way’. As expected harmonies and background by Michael Collins are present and dub-step influences show… Overall a solid album filler.
4. The Best You Can Be: Turning on her inner Avril Lavgine; Omawumi delivers an emotive pop-rock ballad dedicated to three generations – her mother’s, hers’ and her daughter’s. Preaching culture, values, ethics, norms and passing these essentials from generation to generation; ‘The Best You Can Be’ is a one of the reasons why Omawumi will be making music 20 years from now if she pleases. Check out Omawumi as she soars and the guitar played Omar of Thread Stone.
5. I Go Go: A mid-tempo reggae cut with spine-tingling violin chords ensuring that ‘I Go Go’ a force on its own. Arguably her best and emotional vocal performance to date, Omawumi pours her heart as she pleads to her lover that she is willing to exist if things get too shaky also showing a sassy side with her ad-libs; Cobhams Asquo always brings out the best in Omawumi and this number is yet another testimony.
6. What A Bang Bang (feat. Tuface Idibia): Oscar Herman Acker is a big asset to the music community, so you know why Omawumi enlisted the talented producer/song-writer to craft the conscious ‘What A Bang Bang’. Assisted by Tuface Idibia, Omawumi grabs the bull by the balls addressing political issues, corruption etc. ‘Monkey Work, Bamboo Chop, Fire in the Jungle, What a Bang Bang’ describing the country as a jungle where the food chain is not balanced but ‘Justice’ will make things better soonest; Tuface surfaces on the third verse and delivers interestingly. ‘What A Bang Bang’ is an absolute ‘Banger’? Yes!
7. Personal Race (feat. Timaya): Timaya and Omawumi duet on a signature Young D production. Life is a personal journey or race as the case may be sums it all and the south will eat this one hook, line and sinker.
8. You Must Love Me: An interesting mid-tempo romantic Afro-R&B ballad. Omawumi makes it clear that his love is a must as she utters; ‘I don catch, Today na today, You must to love me’. This number makes love feel like a movie, right from the beginning when Omawumi listens to her voicemail to when the soothing chorus kicks in.
9. Warn Yourself (feat. Wizkid): Hit Alert! Producer Sarz, Star Boy Wizkid and the ‘Sexy Mama’ Omawumi…all the ingredients you need for a certified smash and the trio did not disappoint. Brilliantly arranged and composed especially the first pre-chorus where the beat is turned off and on; Omawumi engages Wizkid who delivers weakly on the track with comical ‘in-your-face’ lyrics, vocal grunts and ad-libs and they demolish the beat by Sarz. Whether in the comfort of your bedroom at 2:00am or the jam-packed dance-floor at 2:00am, ‘Warn Yourself’ will fit in. ‘You wan climb tree wey old man the eye from afar…’
10. Stay Alive (Jeje Laiye): ‘Stay Alive’ gives the Omawumi’s ‘Lasso of Truth’ not only the ability to get the truth and force obedience but resurrect the dead. A musical delight, melody driven with haunting vocals and a sing-along chorus urging listeners to live life at ease ‘Jeje Laiye’. A musical masterpiece.
11. Belle (feat. Flavour): When vocal titan collides with the ‘prince of high-life’ the result is the smash hit ‘Belle’ which samples immensely from the classic ‘Bottom Belle’ originally created and performed by the iconic Hebert Udemba. From the interesting opening as Omawumi sings her baby’s lullaby to the sassy verses, ‘Belle’ is a sure winner which will find peace at a local hangout, a club and even a village.
12. Life Goes On (feat. Afay): Two voices become one and the album closes with the soulful power-duet ‘Life Goes On’ featuring female vocalist Afay. This song could not have being placed at a better place, perfect ending.
NOTE: You realise that despite enlisting big names as guests on the album, Omawumi leads the path and they follow obediently, they do not at any point come close to out-shining the diva, they play supporting role a little too well.
Omawumi is a musical warrior, a leader, a heroine and a hell of singer.
Reviewed by Ogaga Sakapide [ @Ogagus]
Art Direction by Tim Afo [ @Tim_Afo ]