Album:Deal With It
Label: Penthauze Music
Duration: 75 mins
Runtown, Falz, Davido,
Olamide, Don Jazzy,
Phyno is a lot of things. He’s the one that established Igbo hip-hop and made it big on the streets of Lagos. He’s a bad-ass rapper, a killer on the mic, a love doctor when he has to be, a preacher. What can I say, he’s a big-time record producer, and given the years he’s been active and his in activities, he’s what some people would term call a “has-been”. One thing he’s not, though. He’s not slack.
It takes more than just the ability to rap in your indigenous language to get to where Phyno’s at. Historically, you need the ‘non-stop grind’ spirit, a great deal of consistency and a whole lot of right connections to become the beast that Phyno is.
Of course, he’s not Olamide, the man with a new album every year, but Phyno has delivered beyond imaginations, and his projects over the years have provided us with all the hits we need to crown him the King he’s always been from the day one.
His first album, “No Guts No Glory”, released back in 2014, is still regarded as one of the best hip-hop masterpieces, out there. His joint with Olamide, “2 Kings” isn’t just a joint with another beast, it’s a testament to the fact that guy’s got balls, to take anybody on, regardless of how good the person is, or rumored to be. Then, the music took a new tune, in 2016, when he started transforming from a hardcore Igbo rapper to a singer with balance. He released “The Playmaker”, a playbook of big hits, in November, that year. And for months, if not the whole of 2017, we enjoyed back to back hits from Phyno as he continues to unleash those singles one by one.
Since then, though, he’s done some work, off the books. He’s featured Wale, in a single, rapped about weed in “Fuwa Sewa” and all that. Suddenly, a new Phyno album is coming. Yeah, we were excited. How many Igbo artists are actually kicking it hard, these days? I mean, hard enough to drop a whole project? Phyno, out of it, we’ll only see one or two names. But, there is always Phyno, who can always change the game.
It doesn’t matter if “Deal With It” is hip-hop or high life, the Phyno that we are familiar with, is a versatile and well-diversified musician, with all the experience you need to produce a classic album, in a generation of dirty and trash music.
So, what exactly do we have on “Deal With It”, that makes it so cool? Short answer, good music. Do you want a longer answer? Knock yourself out.
“Deal With It” the title track and short intro, starts cipher style, bang hip-hop beat with drumbeats of war, as Phyno talks about how he’s a nigga you can never refuse.
“Oso Ga Ene” is what you could add “real” to when you call hip-hop. A catchy repetitive hook, a classic rap beat, and the original Phyno. He was rapping, and if you don’t speak Igbo, you probably can’t understand anything, but the vibe is cool. Let’s say, it’s good prep.
Mysteriously, the tine changes as “Ma Chi” comes in. Kezyklef productions ’pon a rather high tempo highlife jam, as Phyno just does his thing. Shouldn’t have rapped, maybe. But he’s Igbo, and mehn, those guys are fast!
Runtown used to be Phyno’s guy, back in the day, before Phyno became a beast on his own and Runtown found his own afro-pop career. “God’s Willing” brings both guys together, and as Phyno raps about the hustle story and Runtown does the chorus and the vamp on this afrobeat, you can’t but wonder what it’d be like if these guys were frequent collaborators.
“Get The Info” features Falz. Only three things could be the case, this is a banger, this is a moral instruction, or it’s both. Oh, Phenom has worked with Phyno before, he does his stuff with that his accent we want to eat rush like indomie. Falz was mad, though. “Big boys get dreams but they wake up to nightmares.”
“Ride For You” with Davido actually does sound like a “Hi, bro, check your mailbox, I sent a song I want you to work on” song. But it’s still got the vibe, Davido saying those Igbo words is everything and more.
“Speak Life (On God)” is hip-hop, and he said a handful of English on this one. A Yoruba guy could memorize it all. “Now when they see my picture, they say goals,” the guy raps on the tight rap track. And then there that sample from a female vocalist. You need to unlock some levels to be able to do this, anyway.
Every album has that track that makes sense in some ways you can’t understand. “I Got Your Back” is the one here. Produced by Killertunes, it’s not really catchy, but the energy is positive, you could feel it from miles away. And it’s not just the “ahurungi nanya” part that’s good oh.
You could release “Recognize” as a single, and make the biggest hit of the year. Bang beat, neat vocals from the guy Cheque, and just pure flows from Phyno? Who wouldn’t kill for it?
You’re an artist, and you’re Igbo, and you release an album without Flavour on it, only three things could be true. You’re still upcoming, you’re an idiot, or you’re an idiot. Phyno isn’t an idiot, I give him that. “Vibe” has that ogene gyration sound, and that whistle, well, it’s Igbo music, we get it. Flavour doesn’t disappoint, ever. I think we all know that, right?
“Deri” sounds like Phyno pouring his heart out on a song. But I wouldn’t know, I don’t speak Igbo. There is a lot of “deri” and “nkechi” to go round, though.
“Ka Anyi Na Yo” has a real Yoruba highlife vibe that is just irresistible. The beat is good enough for Teni to say some stuff we don’t know the meaning of, and Phyno to drop some bars.
“Ka Ife O” is the best hip-hop track of the year already. It’s not every day you get a beat with this kind of sample, or a song with this kind of storyline, or the digressions, or the hook. It’s perfect!
What Phyno is trying to do on the “Problem” is simple. Do some Afro stuff that has some Fela vibes, can’t say he got it right, but he did do his best.
“Blessings” is Fada Fada all over again, except it has Don Jazzy, alongside Phyno’s longtime friend, Olamide. They all did their stuff, Don Baba J took the chorus, but Olamide killed the song. He did when he performed a popular Yoruba Christian song on his verse. Olamide works in mysterious ways.
“Agu” means Lion, in Igbo. He’s a beast, he said. “Body” with Tanzanian singer, Harmonize, is the ultimate dance floor tune, as lacking as it sounds. While the pre-released “The Bag” shines as the biggest hit on the album.
“Ojimo” is Phyno trying his hands on some real dance hall stuff, as he called on Burna Boy’s producer, Kel P. Phyno’s flows, the constant beat, and the piano notes that were sounding, all created a perfect symphony. You can’t resist this!
Why “Uwan” is an Afro song isn’t a mystery. This isn’t a competition with Zoro, no matter how good Z is. Let’s just do music to the best of our knowledge, it is. Phyno didn’t rap, it’s not important to show his rap prowess when Zoro is around.
“Fuwa Sewa” refix features two new guys, who are probably on Phyno’s imprint, Nuno and Rhatti. Probably, because these guys are dope, but they’re not active. Phyno could do better with the way he handles his artists, really.
The bonus track, “What I See” featuring Duncan Mighty, is cool in its own way. One of those songs that could die on a shelf, though.
The bottom line, we all know Phyno doesn’t eat when he drops an album. We’ll start getting the videos, and then hits will be made. While he wouldn’t do that, he could release all these songs as singles and nothing will spoil.
Point is, sometimes, you don’t have to call your album No Bad Songs!