Almost two minutes, the last song on Vector’s new EP, Vibes Before Teslim, has Vector repeating some lines. Famed for his obsession with puns, he tends to be showy with it. The song is, interestingly, self-produced. “Never Scared,” features sombre acapella humming for a beat, and it is everything that presents the “thing” about Vector’s music: the problematic fact that it threads a thin line between corny and genius.
Vector, who infamously trolled rival M.I’s fans as “dumb,” really has to learn to trust his with his very intelligent words. He doesn’t have repeat every bar – but that’s dwelling on his notoriety.
“Your Biology Is Sending You To Hell,” VBT’s opener, is a warm Trap record. Casually, Vector calls out a person who is most likely M.I. On the back of the biggest beef, Vector has built his moves around his victory. Hence, the choice for a opener. “Vector’s Vibe,” is a summery song, a feel-good production amplified by the sugary qualities of Vector’s voice, delivered to a rap-singy effect. “Comfort,” the assurance-themed bop, features prosperity prophet Davido. Lively and owambe-sounding, it well plays into the light opening Vector has chosen for VBT.
Employing his pop sensibilities, Vector’s latest tape is replete with commercially- viable sounds. Slimcase and DJ Niyor feature on the head-bopping “Just Incase” while “Alaye Jor Jor Jor” retains the now-epic hook of the original track; this one is updated with a duo of new verses, which are rooted in street-like delivery, lyrics which swears to be nothing but the truth. “Mind Games” is Vector at his philosophical, rapping intensely over a beat which could have been lifted from a mid-2000s video game soundtrack – for a video, one imagines Vector in black, walking past a desolate street, musing. On “Oja,” Vector makes do with sweet short verses joined by an Oritse-Femi esque hook and chorus; production wise, it is probably the best of the project. “Adurah,” the prayerful number which is boastful at the same breath, gets an EDM remix – a failed experiment: the appropriation doesn’t lift; does not even pretend to.
What does however, is Vector’s excellent performance on “The Man With A Gun”. A storytelling cut, it explores the country’s many vices over a laid-back beat. Vector’s calm flow floats over the beat as, line after line, he reports of the Nigerian reality with a journalistic detachment that sells the song’s truth.
Vector goes into his latest project in a time when his place in Nigerian Hip Hop is under question. This happened when his almost-decade beef with M.I escalated into snakes and rats. While his fan base consider him to be a GOAT, in reality, he falls just below that category. No doubt a great, he is one of the country’s more commercially-acceptable rappers. However, critical acclaim remains to be achieved. Vector infamously has no acclaimed classic, with many of his projects merely good.
Vibes Before Teslim offers a worthy leap. However, it is an EP, and expectedly, wouldn’t count for much. In the grand scale of things, though, it would be viewed as the project Vector put out after the beef which, more than questioning his position, questioned his character. On VBT, Vector is nimble with his showmanship: most obviously is the scraping of the original verse of “Judas (The Rat)” which revealed not-so-good personal info on Jesse Jagz. Another case: he goes for the colors; as opposed to dropping haughty bars over hard-hitting beats, he curates 28 minutes worth of an enjoyable listen. He promises vibes before ‘Teslim’ (most likely his next album), and he delivers: it is the most surest (the self discovery part) Vector has been in a while. Hopefully he keeps the form into the new album, and that GOAT talk will surely come up again.