In the world of art, perfection is a myth as art, and the attainment of it only exists in quotes and dreams.
Despite this, artists strive daily to best their last works, pushing themselves to give more and more of themselves after every output.
This is the case of Nigerian megastar, David Adeleke, professionally known as ‘Davido.’
When Davido made his entry into the Nigerian music industry, he did so with two monster singles that launched him smackdab in the spotlight of the music scene. Those singles were the precursor to his ‘Omo Baba Olowo’ album that set the tone for Davido’s hit-making prowess.
Seven years after, giving from a place of continued abundance and the butterfly effect of love and amidst notable naysaying, he dropped his second studio album; ‘A Good Time.’ For Davido, it was the celebration of his African heritage, and reconceptualisation of the saying ‘Africa to the world’ to highlight that it is now the world to Africa.
On ‘A Good Time’, he brought along his melodious food trolley and served us generous helpings of hits after hits he’d whipped up. Some were continental dishes, others intercontinental. Gourmet was also served as well, salad and confectionaries too. In truth it was a feast, but the hits served were done in a way in which the dishes didn’t meld into each other. Rich in taste were they, but the lack of cohesion made the experience less memorable as we had to quickly get over the spiciness of the past meal to keep up with the sweetness of the next serving and on and on.
Compliments were sent out to the chef, he had done a good job nonetheless and all who had partaken of the feast had left with personal highlights and favourites.
A year later, this same chef came calling, a better feast was promised and the ingredients had been homegrown and chosen with care from an astounding array he'd grown. This in itself was a feat; such swiftness was not the usual making of these sorts of feasts, and music lovers wondered if the delivery would really be ‘A Better Time’ as promised.
Prior to the release, it was noted that all previous albums listed on his Apple music artiste profile had been moved to the 'Compilations' category. Was this a message to expect more? Was this his way of saying the other works were now subpar in light of the coming one?
Well, according to Davido, the pandemic had blessed him with time, which spurred him into creating several records he enjoyed. It also meant being settled in his preferred recording location; Lagos, as opposed to piecing AGT together on the road, via emails and phone calls. So as unforeseen as the pandemic was, the coming of ABT also was, and the people didn't know what to expect.
Now, Davido’s A&R skills have been touted by critics and on ABT, he went full-on with his recruiting skills as he pulled off 13 features on the 17-track album.
Furthermore, a close perusal of the track list of the two albums will show Davido might have hacked an arrangement that works for him. On the first three tracks, he operates on solo mode before raising the curtain to invite an impressive retinue of acts both Nigerian and international that range from south African Sho Madjozi to Nicki Minaj, Young Thug, Sauti Sol, and many others.
The similarities don’t end there as with ‘Something Fishy,’ we’re served with a tune from Davido’s soft hit starter pack, the same one from which he pulled out ‘Check Am.’
Still maintaining the tone of similarities is the central theme of love, fun, and abundance, offered from the era of ‘A Good Time’ to present-day ‘A Better Time.’ Most of the songs are about loving a woman or relationship issues with a sprinkle of songs like ‘Fem’ and ‘The Best’ that foreground Davido’s jagaban status in the industry. And then Bella Shmurda assisted ‘Fade’ for the typical Nigerian-spirited ‘in all you do give thanks’ number.
Moving on to the cohesive taste of ‘A Better Time’, we see a Davido who while still offering us a buffet of hits has taken more care to ensure that the different courses go well with each other.
Where on AGT, the only exotic variation was ‘Greenlight’, ABT holds platters of the exotic aural dish that is South-African originated, Amapiano without derailing from the tone or feel of the album.
Nothing is created in a vacuum, and this is likewise for ‘A Good Time’ and its succeeding sibling, ‘A Better Time’ which shows that Davido births his album themes from his devil-may-care attitude. His A & R skills are also an extension of his open-heartedness and open house upbringing, as it shows an affinity for working with people.
Now while 30 BG antagonists might have a long list of grudges against Davido, he has with ABT undeniably concretised the fact that where hits are concerned, he has the Midas touch. And with this, he has crafted a body of work that shows him, despite a near-decade run, once more topping himself.