About nine months ago, Asake solidified his fresh and unique sound with his debut album Mr. Money With the Vibes — an album that went on to influence the current soundscape of the industry with log drums and choral backups. Back with a taste for paintings, Asake is set to take us on artistic vibrations with his new album, Work of Art.

Prior to his debut album, Asake first made a colourful splash on the scene with his EP Ololade Asake, which took Nigerians straight to the dance floors. Carefully fusing Afropop with styles that slowly creep into Fuji and Apala, Asake sang about having money, a good time and being streetwise. With MMWTV, Asake became the biggest breakout star Nigeria has ever seen with the biggest album of the year and the most streams for an artist, culminating in a recent BET award nomination. It’s Asake’s world and the rest of us are just paying rent and agency fees.  

In the buildup to his latest, Work of Art, Asake released three songs, Yoga, 2:30 and Amapiano, and they were all number one singles on Official Nigeria Top 100. In all this, Asake hasn’t strayed from the fast life narrative. But while we enjoy the omo jaiye jaiye persona, the important question is: will it keep fans to their feet like it did nearly ten months ago?

The Breakdown

Asake opens the album with a mouth full of gratitude to God who translates to Olorun (the opening track title) in Yoruba. On this record, he recalls his life’s journey, the hard times and his meteoric rise. The introspective track is followed by the indulgent Awodi in which he continues the story of his successes and turns Pasuma’s name into wordplay. Early single, 2:30 comes after and it fits in seamlessly, picking up the pace of his Amapiano-inspired direction. Asake asks what the probability of anyone catching up to him is, or if they have the agility to even move. 

On Sunshine, Ololade Asake becomes more flexible. The song is a shift from his usual pattern (stripped down beat, minimal horns, whistle and choral backups), but still manages to deliver a light-hearted message of motivation. 

Maintaining a similar direction to Sunshine production-wise, Asake shifts gears to Mogbe which finds Olamide’s protégé in top form, with infectious lyrics about having a good time. Basquiat,

the sixth track named after the famous American painter, Jean Micheal-Basquiat finds Asake in his artistic bag, comparing himself to a priceless work of art. After the year that was 2022, Asake’s worth on the music scene fully reflects his position on this track. The Olamide-assisted Amapiano enters next to subtly remind us of their exotic lifestyles and the overall sound the album sets to achieve.

The party continues with What’s Up My G and I Believe, songs complete with log drums, drawn out storytelling and braggadocious lyrics meant to assert his dominance. At this point, it’s clear the plan is to keep us dancing— he reminded us again on Introduction that he’s Mr. Money with a sprinkle of no food for a lazy man.

Asake admonishes his lover to “give it to him” while flexing his big vocabulary muscles on Remember. Lonely At the Top follows and switches up the ambience, now in a more solemn but groovy mood; Asake shows some vulnerability and preaches self-love. We’re with him on this.

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Mr. Money’s fun isn’t stopping anytime. He flexes on Great Guy about catching flights, wearing the finest satin, and being in his woman’s bosom. The song ends with a popular Michel Legris’ Mo Capitane sample, ushering us into the trance-like closing track, Yoga, where he accepts the burdens of success, warns detractors and vibe killers.

Final thoughts

Asake has never shied away from being heavy on vibes and melodies. He heavily taps in feel-good grooves and since Amapiano is still a darling out here, it works in his favour.

Though the hooks and choruses are infectious, the album sounds like he’s using the same beat for the 100th time sometimes. Asake paces himself on Work of Art and triumphantly soaks in the momentum.



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