Olamide’s Solo Albums, Ranked

February 14, 2019

There’s little to say about Olamide that hasn’t been said already.

As the protege of a class of indigenous artists that defined the Coded Tunes era, Olamide was an outlier.

But he picked up where 9ice left off by taking the music and culture of the streets to the mainstream.

On his day, he is a trans-generational genius.

Other days, he is stereotypical to the point of frustration – as the entirety of 2017 had us feeling.

If there is one Nigerian artiste that stretches opinion across the spectrum, it’s Baddo Sneh, First of His Name.

What better way then to gauge the dins and highs of Olamide’s long career than going through the main benchmarks of an artist’s career; their bodies of work.

Here are Olamide’s albums, ranked from ‘least favourite’ to ‘absolute classic’.

“Lagos Na Wa (Wobey Sound)” (2017)

Lagos Na Wa Olamide

We do not speak of this one – even though it’s easy to understand the motive for this project.

After such a storied career, Olamide may have felt an understandable desire to capture the ethos of the city he represents. And fairly so.

Blessed by the city’s elite and masses alike, Olamide has managed to make himself the poster boy for Africa’s cultural nucleus.

But if his persona reflected the spirit of Lagos – grind, opportunity, hustle and connect, the album fell far short.

Instead of drawing on multiple sources as most fans expected, Olamide created a self-contained project.

There are lessons to be learned here in letting upstarts learn before throwing massive projects on them.

There are also very few people who still listen to this album.

 

Stand-Outs: “Wo”
Should Never Have Happened: EVERYTHING ELSE.

“The Glory” (2016)

The Glory Olamide

Somewhere between YBNL and Street OT, Olamide had decided that his calendar would be dominated by one thing; his annual late-in-the-year release.

And while it would notably crash and burn on his tribute to Lagos, “The Glory” was where the folly of his approach began to show – and it was not for lack of inspiration.

In the years since his rise, life had happened. His long-standing partner had their first child named Maximilliano or “Milli” for short. He had become the face of indigenous music in the mainstream – and stretched out helping hands to emerging talents in that sphere, most notably Phyno.

He had become the spokesman for street culture, often recycling inner-city trends and watering them down for the mass audience. This sense of greater responsibility came through on the album in spurts.

“Letter To Milli” is a honest letter to his son, written from the point of view of a father who wishes none of his struggles on his own. “Oluwa Loni Glory” is a typical acknowledgement of a higher power and his role in his success.

But where the album reached for greater heights, it was pulled to earth by a slew of unfinished pop singles, hasty collaborations and songs that could have used a month or more of thought and effort.

 

Standouts: “Oluwa Loni Glory”, “Letter To Milli”.
Should Never Have Happened: The Burna Boy collabs.

“Rapsodi” (2011)

Rapsodi Olamide

To understand the impact of Rapsodi, one needs to appreciate the song that is “Eni Duro”. With an exercise in chest-bumping and a nifty music video, Olamide managed to put himself on everyone’s radar.

The song’s success carried it the impression of Olamide as an artist coming to appreciate his ability as much as we were, and Olamide delivered in the same vein on his album.

Made under the guidance of his mentor, ID Cabasa, the album followed a template that 9ice had created for indigenous music on ‘Gongo Also’. It was confident in its identity and the core influence of indigenous street culture – but it also touched other bases.

Songs like “Apa Ti Jabo” assured us of who Olamide was while others – particularly “Omo To Shan” left crumbs of what he would go on to become.

 

Standouts: “Eni Duro”, “Responsibility”, “Omo To Shan” w/ Wizkid

Should Never Have Happened: “Dirty Rock”

Eyan Mayweather (2015)

Eyan Mayweather by Olamide

By 2015, Olamide had made it to elder statesman status. With an entire team of rabid musicians in his army and a city on his back, Baddo had all he could have imagined when he made Rapsodi.

That ethos was represented almost perfectly in the cover for his sixth album. The album itself was reflective of someone who had little left to prove.

While his peers approached a new benchmark by scoring points on an international level, Olamide had spent his year strengthening his hold on the local market.

Hits like “Bobo”, “Melo Melo” and “Lagos Boys” were the core of the album.

They were surrounded by songs by pop fillers that had become his bread and butter in the years before. The man had little to prove and it showed.

 

Standouts: “Bobo”, “Melo Melo”, “Lagos Boys”.

Should Never Have Happened:  “Akara”

YBNL (2012)

Olamide YBNL
Olamide’s sophomore album offered the first signs of his growth. Much of his career has been embellished in the years since, but if you’re interested in listening to Olamide’s most basic stumblings – YBNL is the place to be.
In the months before, he had popularised the phrase “Yahoo Boy, No Laptop” – thus beginning a subtle affiliation with internet fraud that follows him till this day. Besides that, YBNL is where Olamide perfected the urgency and energy that has since defined his sound and put him on the throne of indigenous rap.
As one would expect, after overcoming the jitters of a debut album in the pre-DIY era, Olamide was eager to try out new sounds and collaborations. YBNL is one of his more feature-heavy albums, with Davido, Tiwa Savage, Kayswitch and Dammy Krane.
But what stands out the most about YBNL is perhaps “Stupid Love”, a drunken studio session with Samklef that would become his first dance hit. By the time YBNL was done, we knew exactly who we could expect Olamide would become.
Standouts – “VOTS”, “Ilefo Illuminati”, “Stupid Love”.
Should Never Have Happened  – “Street Love” w/ Minus 2.

“Baddest Guy Ever Liveth” (2013)

Baddest Guy Ever Liveth
If all’s well at home, the typical successful artiste’s trajectory goes something like this – the debut album which introduces the artiste and makes a case for where he’s coming from. The second album offers the first signs of growth and experimentation. The third, however, is the artist’s true form.
To be fair, even the greats have rubbished that pattern (See: MI Abaga’s polarising third album, Wizkid’s SFTOS). For Olamide though, third time was the charm. After rummaging for the best form of himself on his two previous projects, “Baddest Guy Ever Liveth” was Olamide at his most confident as shown in its rollout – one of the most elaborate of the era.
Who can forget the gunman pose – a random photo pose that took on a life larger than the man’s music. Or better still, the music video for “Sitting on The Throne” – a delightful masterpiece created by Kemi Adetiba.
Perhaps the most important song on the project though is “Anifowose” – where Olamide explained his fear of failure and poverty, all to a sample of a classic by Wasiu Ayinde Marshall.
BGEL also elevated Olamide to true pop star status with songs like “Durosoke” and “Turnup” – both with music videos that saw Badoo in new territory.
Standouts: “Durosoke”, “Anifowose”, “Dope Money”.
Should Never Have Happened: “Position Yourself”

Street OT (2014)

Street OT
If Olamide ever made a classic, it’s this one. There is nothing imperfect about this album, despite the best efforts of Pepenazi and an overeager Chinko Ekun. In the year leading up to its release, Olamide had made himself into a genuine label-head to reckon with, thanks to deals signed w/ Viktoh and Lil Kesh. Powerful, renowned and with a loyal fanbase eager to see what was next, Olamide made us a masterclass in street knowledge. Arguably no other project of his is as true to its theme and title as Street OT. From “Oga Nla” made with Fuji icon Pasuma to “Eni Suun”, Olamide captured what it takes to survive in the city of contrived excellence. He had company as well and they didn’t disappoint. Viktoh delivered one of the best hooks of his career on “100 to Million” while “Hustle, Loyalty, Respect” w/ Reminisce is as statesmanly as Olamide will ever get as he offers tips and advice to his peers and successors alike. But no song quite matches up to “Zero Joy”  – raw, exciting and menacing. Olamide had set out to capture the streets in one body of work and he did.
Standouts – “Zero Joy”, “Usain Bolt P”, “Goons Mi”
Should Never Have Happened – “Ya Wa”, “Story For The Gods”.

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