YABASI- Basketmouth’s 2020 Surprise Package(Album Review)

Yabasi by Basketmouth

2020 has been a year of surprises on opposite extremes. One of the least expected events would have be popular comedian, Basketmouth, crossing the divide from humour to music, particularly with the release of an album– Yabasi.

Bright Okpocha, popularly known as Basketmouth dropped off a 10 tracks album, Yabasi. Yabasi, being the Igbo word for onions.

Basketmouth started out as a rapper back in the University of Benin before picking up the mic as a comedian. He enunciated that Yabasi was the Igbo word for onions, whose price in the Nigeria market has skyrocketed. He further described how multilayered the onion is and the unraveling process it takes to get to the root. .This definition can only be synonymous to Basketmouth’s unfolding journey as a Nigerian Creative.

Originally a sound track album to his TV series “Papa Benji”, the series see the protagonist father pass down his secret pepper soup recipe to his son who couldn’t fulfill his lifelong dream of becoming a banker, but ended owning a banging pepper soup joint. 

The Yabasi album would go down as a classic as it would remain thematically relevant for the rest of time. At 10 tracks, it contains some of the finest blend of Highlife, Palm Wine Music, Folk and Afro-fusion. Production credits goes to Duktorr Sett, who I thought, before now, was just a rapper due to his engagement on ‘Faya Faya’ the track with Sound Sultan. Legendary Tee-Y Mix was the audio engineer on this project.

The album opens up with ‘Pepper soup’ which sees a collaborative effort between Duncan Mighty and Ice Prince. ‘Pepper soup’ is one of the songs that show the essence of this album as well as the producer’s dexterity.

Show Dem Camp and Oxlade continue the project with ‘Myself’, a Song that advices the listener to cut his coat according to his cloth. And there you have it: “Nor do pass yourself..”

Waje‘s silky voice opens up ‘Ride or Die’. Before you read further, do you have a ride or die or should I mind my business? This song speaks of two lovers who are ready to go the length in their commitment to each other. It also sees Ladipoe spit notorious bars in this joint effort. You should definitely have a listen (that’s free recommendation, you’re welcome).

World People’ comes next in this breathtaking body of work. BOJ and Flash teams up on this track.

Notable on the ‘Life’ track is the baseline, a nod to the bassist. Headies award nominee-Chike teams up with Zoro and Play on the 5th track off of the album. Chike sings “If you give me love, you don give me life”.

The sixth track underlines the prowess of the producer-Duktor Sett. Umo Obiligio performed this track (One Bo). He sings “my brother no do pass yourself, problem no dey finish”. So from me to you, get yourself a Papa Benji standard plate of pepper soup and flex yourself because problem no dey finish.

December’ has a party vibe to it, and yeah we are in the last month of the year, so party away. Ceeza Milli delivers topnotch vocal and lyrical content on the love themed seventh track.

On the eight track, Eze gburu gburu Phyno ‘fino’ and Flavour combines in this typical Igbo Music genre. This is also one of the songs that highlight the essence of this album.

Dear reader, Hustle o!! On track nine, The Cavemen(I would sell my kidney to attend any of their live shows, you know I am kidding!), Bez and Dice Alies teams up to sing ‘Hustle’. A notable line would be ‘hustle no be beans’. Once again reader, Hustle o!

The album concludes with ‘Udo’. This track is more like Basketmouth saying “hey, I have delivered a masterpiece to y’all, so peace out!” Udo is Igbo’s translation of ‘Peace’. Rapper Illbliss and DMW sensation, Peruzzi combines perfectly on this one.

This album would remain thematically relevant for a longtime and probably end up becoming a classic. Every track was enjoyable almost without fail. Songwriting, Engineering and production are also quite laudable. It’s definitely a work Basketmouth and his team will look back on and be proud of.

You should also check out my review of this same album on my SoundView Podcast.

Album Review by Omoniyi Faith

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