In case you still haven’t gotten the memo, 2020 is the year of hits and nobody has come to play! Nigerian artistes have been giving us back to back and we have been loving it.
On the 14th of February, lover’s day, Chike released Boo of the Booless, a debut album like none before it. Before I start to go on and on about the wonders that is BOTB, let’s find out, for the sake of those who very, unfortunately, do not know, who Chike is.
Born Chike-Ezekpeazu Osebuka, Chike was a contestant on Project Fame Africa in 2015 and first runner up on The Voice Nigeria season 1 in 2016.
Chike hails from Onitsha, Anambra State in Nigeria and is a graduate of Computer Engineering from Covenant University.
After finishing as first runner up on The Voice, he was signed to Universal Music, where he released his debut single “Fancy U” in 2016.
He also released “Out of Love” and “Beautiful People” in 2018, “Amen” and “Friendzone” in 2019, and the exceptional album, “Boo of the Booless” in 2020.
Chikes BOTB album is a thematic map of love. He sings about everything, falling in love, fighting for love, staying faithful, feeling insecure, forgiveness, faithfulness, falling out of love, a mother’s love for her son and ultimately, Gods love for him.
This album blew the entire top off my head, right from the first song “Beautiful People.” I sincerely had to take my earphones out, take a couple of long breaths and then continue. I had NO IDEA what I had signed up for, but this song lets you know you are in for a wild ride.
Chike stunted on everyone in this album, he is a super talented vocalist and when I heard “Nakupenda,” with Ric Hassani, it was too much! The vocal chemistry, it was almost like watching a very well-choreographed dance. Ric Hassani matched Chike’s tenor pitch for pitch and it was pure bliss.
One thing I noticed with this album is the way the artist incorporates several tempos into a song. “If You No Love” starts off a bit mellow, then it heightens and gets you so into the song in a way I cannot quite explain, exceptional.
When I realized he had a song featuring Mister Incredible, I was pumped, because I absolutely love M.I Abaga. What I didn’t expect, however, is how M.I would completely match the tempo of “Forever.” This is a promise song, where Chike assures his lover an eternity of love. M.I came through with his usual wordsmithery and this song is very emotional, made me want to go and find someone to propose to.
I feel every wedding video I see this year should have “Amen” as its soundtrack. Who knew one could take the word “amen” and make it sound so melodious? The perfect song to slow dance to in the arms of the one you love. You can’t deny that Chike knew exactly what he was doing when he lined “Amen” immediately after “Forever,” a prayer to seal the promise of love.
Now, “Roju” gives me wedding entry vibes. I don’t understand a word of what he’s saying, but I completely agree with every word, Chike everything you are saying is true! I love how effortless this song sounds, almost like he’s merely caressing the listener’s ears, the tempo, everything about this song is just right.
“Finders Keepers” will reassure you and give you hope. He encourages you to keep searching when he says “Jubese” and assures you that what you find will be yours to keep. I like the way this song sounds, makes me want to do the tango or a two-step, it’s really a bit of a western-highlife blend, but I love it!
This album like I said earlier, is a thematic map of love, so when Chike leads us into “Insecure,” you can already start to sense the trouble in this paradise he has built from the start of this album. He talks about a lover who has been cheated on so many times, it makes him insecure. It’s a sad song really and it hurts that he knows one day the one he loves won’t have the patience for all these questions.
I don’t know what Chike was thinking when he wrote “Out of Love,” but that song is SAD! When he sang “Chike oh, this is hard for me to say, I’m going to say it anyway, I’ve fallen out of love with you.” This song is the boss of sad songs, like when you have defeated all the sad song levels, you have to face the ‘saddest’ of all, and its this song. The worst part is that this song is so good, you’ll be in pain, crying and you cannot turn it off!
We listen to Chike play the voice of reason in “Forgive.” This song makes me think of those sad Nigerian movies and at this point, I’m thinking “who send me.” You have to be careful when listening to this so you don’t call your ex from hell to say you’ve forgiven them.
One thing I noticed with this album is how effortless Chike makes singing seem. Honest confession, at a point, I stopped listening and attempted to just belt out as sweetly as he does, epic fail my people. “Faithful” is basically him just showing off how good he sounds, and he’s doing it like he’s not even thinking about it.
“Running” is such a sweet song. Chike does this thing with his voice, it has a sort of drawl and its just so beautiful. He promises to always be available and defend his lover. This is the kind of song you listen to when your head is on your lover’s chest so you can fall asleep and dream of them fighting a couple of wars for you.
A mother’s love and longing for her son is expressed in “Soldier.” This is such a soulful and pure song and it made me realize how difficult it must be for mothers of military men, especially when he says to the army, they lose just a soldier but to the mother, it’s her whole world.
The way the album ends is reminiscent of the “To God Be The Glory” endings of Nigerian movies. Chike rounds off by acknowledging Gods love for him and giving him thanks for watching over him. This song sounds like something you could play in church or dance to during thanksgiving or one of those big parties in the village. Zoro comes through with the smoothest Igbo rap and has that same easy flow Chike maintains all through the album.
In conclusion, this album is exceptional. It isn’t accidentally exceptional; it is carefully curated and as intentional as possible. Chike knew what he was doing when he put this together. I loved every song, I have played the album several times, it’s an absolute 10/10, I will highly recommend everyone listens to it.
The album is currently topping the most streamed albums chart on apple music and has a couple of songs on the apple music top 100.
I will say Chike has so very effortlessly, raised the bar for 2020, so if you or anyone you know intends dropping an album this year, please be aware a really high standard has already been set.
I am really looking forward to hearing a lot more from this extremely talented young man, more of Chike please, inject it in my veins!