To think that Lil Kesh was once the most promising artist in the country, who fell from grace not long after his debut album, makes the whole story sad, at the very least. He didn’t end up with the Next Rated Award, but that’s not supposed to mean anything in the long run. Right?
Been three years, and he can’t even come up with a sophomore, because his career is literally not in shape. He became so hot, and at his peak, the law of diminishing returns caught up with him. There was a struggle with YBNL as he left the label to start his own company. But unlike Olamide, it didn’t quite work his way.
Left with past glory, an impressive LP, of course, and the talent we said he had, Kesh had to start all over again. This time, on his own, and since it’s his second chance at being a big shot, the industry wasn’t very lenient. His ‘hits’ often get lost amidst the whole drama and music that was coming in. Oops, he wasn’t in his heydays, or he would have gone on a spree. He couldn’t.
His last real big hit? “No Fake Love”, 2017. Right before then, was “Shele Gan Gan”. For two years, he tried different styles to make things work out for him, once again. They didn’t. Think of the flawed “Apa Mi” that was forgotten in the shaku shaku heatwave or “Rora” where he tried to be different but ended up sounding generic. Bad things just happen to good people!
By the time 2019 came, Lil Kesh had two things. He had the Dunkirk Spirit, that made him try, no matter what was going on. And, his new-found talent of singing. I mean, he rapped some sixteen bars, most of the time. But his singing has really gotten better, as time went by. Armed with that, and what was left of the “Logo Benz” controversy, in February, he dropped “Undertaker.”
Goes without saying, the Zanku wave helped him a bit, as he was featured on one of the biggest street hits of 2018, that is Chinko Ekun‘s “Able God” which also featured Zlatan Ibile. Naira Marley also put him on “Royal Rumble,” and perhaps “Logo Benz” was his own way of trying to cash in on the trend.
“Undertaker,” however brought something back. What was more the new Lil Kesh? Not the street rapper, not the lyrical one either. Just a thoroughbred singer, with a scar on his voice, you can know he’s been through a lot. Afrobeat, cool chorus, a few bars, just pure Kesh. People heard of it, yeah, but it wasn’t quite the track you would think of as a “hit.”
So what’s different in “Nkan Be”? For starters, it’s not Zanku themed, and it’s not every day we get that around here now. If Lil Kesh is trying to push a new brand for himself (which he is), this could be his first real shot at making an impression. He could be doing some freestyle, about Yahoo boys, hoping EFCC will pick him up and he’ll turn to a Naira Marley. But we all know that wasn’t going to happen, so he stuck to his Afro.
Okay, when was the last time (or the first time) you heard Rexxie do a pure afro vibe, with no Zanku strings attached? Last week? Never? Well, “Nkan Be” was produced by one of the biggest guys right now, Rexxie, but there’s a little twist, for Kesh.
Mayorkun? After what he did last year with “The Mayor Of Lagos” album, he’s become like the go-to guy for hits around here. His last single, “True” with Kizz Daniel was a big one, too. Kesh hooked him up, and they had a real collaboration and not just a trade of guest verses. He probably even wrote the whole song. Perfect, I’d say.
And then, there’s our little undying love for Lil Kesh that’s never going away. Except that, now he’s even cool and for the first time in a while, he has good music out. Yeah, good music. Who doesn’t want these street guys to give good music?
This won’t be Kesh’s last chance to get his status back, but of course, this may as well just be the first big step in that direction. There is absolutely no reason “Nkan Be” isn’t the next big hit!