The Beat

Now Playing | Phyno the Playmaker

OMG!! I am way late to this but I couldn’t let this go because… of course. But PHYNO pronounced FIN-O has been bustling my iTunes for weeks on end. I cannot move on from his album, he takes me back to growing up in Nigeria, back to the days when my mom and pop got dress to go get down. His sound is raw and fun and authentic and melodious. I LOVE how he flows from igbo to english, love the throwbacks to traditional sounds of highlife like Sir Oliver de Coque & Oriental Brothers whom he samples in my favourite song on the album.

I didn’t listen to Phyno’s first album so I cannot compare his sophomore to that, but I can tell you that this album is definitive and glorious; it talks about life, love, women and hustle. It’s a sway between contemporary and trap sounds with a healthy dose of the traditional- my guy does not forget his roots- the sounds are adapted to the local flavour in songs like Abulo to pure Igbo music like Obiagu which is straight igbo rap. This is a fantastic smash of adapted flavours and there isn’t a lot that I don’t like on this album. Some songs are fillers, but it won’t be an album without that, still even the lukewarm numbers of which there are maybe two, are good break ins from the gbam-gbam and smooth tracks. Financial Woman with the sweet sounds of P-Square and a base highlight beat makes it hard not to want to sway to it, even if the lyrics are totally eye-roll worthy…same old story. Ochie Dike has the incredible and legendary Onyeka Owenu, an ode to mothers everywhere, play this for your mama on Sunday and everyday its such a lovely song… the mellowness of E Sure For Me makes a smooth transition into that sweet spot that gives you just the thing you need. My absolute favourite song is Pino Pino; I LOVE THIS SONG! I say that in all caps because I am yelling this as I type. This is the song that most throws me back to growing up in Nigeria, remembering how my parents would get dressed and go out to party with their friends, the high life (that was the song of their era along with King Sunny Ade, Ebenezer Obey, Sir Oliver de Coque etc), the food, the laughs, the conversation… a time when life was good and easy, simple… to the good times. It’s the lyrics, the sounds, the melody… everything about this song is just so wonderful and when I get married, this is my final dance song lol. My second favourite song is of course Fada Fada; you cannot help but love this song and it’s my morning maker, I put this on and my morning and day is pretty much solid. Its thankful and uplifting and I almost have to stop myself from dancing on the train. Okpeke is another hip favourite, modern flavour, again with the lyrics being a mix of traditional and modern.

Songs like Abulo where he goes straight traditional; strips it of all trap and makes a mean rap in traditional igbo makes the language such a joyous one to listen to-listening to Phyno talk and rap in igbo makes me want to learn more of the language and I enjoy listening to my mother’s conversations in igbo with my aunts, it’s a story teller’s tongue- the drums, the authentic instruments, it reminds one of tales by moonlight songs.

This is an incredibly tight production with collaboration of some of the most stellar Nigerian artists, but what does it for me is the fact that there is a healthy mix of sounds and Phyno does not negate his roots, he is igbo and he carries his stories with pride, shows off the language, celebrates the culture, its a superb work that shows both talent and authenticity of a local artist done good.

Don’t sleep on this.