#BumpThis: Candy Bleakz – “Owo Osu” w/ Zlatan & Naira Marley

June 9, 2019

There’s so much music out there that it’s hard for even the most loyal fans to stay up with their favourite artists or what’s new and hot right now. That’s why we’ve created #BumpThis – a daily series that features the one song you need to listen to, every day. Don’t say we never did anything for you.

In 2017, the Migos were at the top of their fame. Every rap-leaning artist who hadn’t created an identity set in stone had jumped on this three-tiered wave whether in sound, cadence or appearance. The Street Billionaires, a group of four rappers, Gbafun, IJay, Candy Bleakz and Lemon, seemed to be the most intense iteration of that wave.

The group’s 2016 debut was a refix of Migos’ “Bad and Boujee” which earned them a sizeable following. The music video in particular presented them as the Nigerian street version of the group, complete with their eponymous flow, outlandish jewellery and rainbow-hued shirts.

The group’s first lady, Candy Bleakz, rides yet another wave with her debut, “Owo Osu”. Over the last two years, Candy’s grown her following on Instagram with freestyles and comedic commentary – increasingly one of the more popular scripts for success in the digital age. To find her way around her solo debut, she enlists help from two heavyweights of the Zanku sound, Zlatan and Naira Marley.

Street Billionaires – “Bad and Boujee (Refix)” | YouTube

Their Chocolate City affiliation didn’t drum up much attention. But a 2018 follow-up, “Owo Mi Da” hinted that for these less-than-privileged former hobbyists (The budget for the video for “Bad and Boujee Refix” was 95,000 naira), the Migos wave was merely a starting point.

Zlatan Ibile, arguably the breakout star of 2019, repels any suspicions that he has eyes anywhere but on the bag. It’s one of the common tropes of the Zanku sound he has helped popularise; aspirational raps by young hustlers intent on getting paid, not surprising considering the street lifestyle and bootstrapping that birthed the sound.

He delivers a typical high-energy verse, building on the familiar adlibs, like “Kuronbe!” that dot the song from start to finish. See, Zlatan is not in the business of performing for free or a half-full bag, as he emphasises. Then as if to press the point home, he asks one of his more chronic debtors why he’s guzzling cold bottles of beer if he hasn’t paid up.

Turns out she could do without them. Candy’s rebellious-girl-next-door persona is more believable than you’d expect as she teases anyone who’s broke and unfortunately within earshot in her native Yoruba. “Sho ti gb’owo osu” (Have you gotten your monthly pay?), she asks matter-of-factly.

Candy’s lyrics seem to taunt salary earners and the inevitable spending limits that come with a fixed income. As the song goes on, it becomes obvious that ‘owo osu‘, (literally ‘salary’ in Yoruba), is an epithet for just about any source of income. 

Candy Bleakz – “Owo Osu” w/ Naira Marley & Zlatan | YouTube

Zlatan’s BFF, Naira Marley has only just secured a temporary respite from detention, after being charged for internet fraud in May. His verse here doubles down on the gleeful boss talk that caught the attention of the EFCC and earned him the troop of fans he calls “Marlians“.

Money is money, my guy. As long as it’s not Ogun Owo (Blood Money), my guy“, he proclaims. Statements like that will obviously do nothing to help the rapper’s cause or absolve him of any suspicions.

But it is totally on-brand – Naira Marley has increasingly begun to feel like everyone’s problematic friend. You swear you’re against anything he stands for. That’s until he come through with the best cruise you’ve had in ages and you suddenly decide he’s a necessary evil. Here, it manifests in how this subtle nod to fraud is most likely to be the part of the song that sticks in your head, along with the other reckless boasts that he splatters on his verse.

Whatever scepticism you may have about Zanku and its potential lifespan, or its alleged ties to internet fraud, Candy Bleakz’s summer bop is a necessary reminder to secure the bag. Enjoy the guap (and the music) while it lasts.

Stream “Owo Osu” by Candy Bleakz w/ Zlatan Ibile and Naira Marley here.

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Segun Akande

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