Zlatan Ibile is more than just a street rapper on “Zanku” (Album Review)
Zlatan Ibile is taking Zanku to the next level, and although the meaning of the slang has gone from just a dance step to a movement that now encompasses street music on the upper echelons, Zlatan Ibile who kind of coined the term is now taking credit for it all. And, fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on how you decide to see it, it’s refused to grow beyond him. So, if he doesn’t do a Zanku album, who will?
Guys like Slimcase and Mr Eazi, for example, who rode on waves of trends back in the day, were unable to fully bank on shaku-shaku and the alkayida vibes, respectively. Partly because it instantly became bigger than them and they couldn’t sustain it and partly because, erm, who knows? Mr Eazi even tried to use the term ‘banku’ to term his kind of vibe, but a slang ending in ‘ku’ can only get you so far. But I digress.
They insist Zanku is an acronym for Zlatan Abeg No Kill Us, but when the real Leg work was out in the streets, nobody cared who Zlatan Ibile really was. No, not really. We know him from “Able God” and then the “My Body” song with Olamide, but who cares?
Zanku, however, happened to be organic. While it’s possible it’s the acronym, it’s very unlikely a word like that was pre-meditated. Because that’s the whole point, Zlatan makes the kind of music you don’t sit down and write. The vibe has to flow, organically. And that is what has made him stand out, so far. And brought him to a point where he thinks he needs an album. Whether he really needs it or not is a story for another day. Today, we got an album waiting to be devoured, let’s focus on that!
“Wake Up” is highlife, not even hip-hop and wouldn’t in any universe pass for ‘street music’. The point where we ask ourselves, “okay WTF does Zanku mean?” Then, “Yeye Boyfriend” which has kind of a higher tempo than most of all Zlatan’s works. Dancing to it will totally make you mad.
As you begin to go deep into the album, and approach songs like “Sunita” and “Compulsory Course”, you start to get what the Zanku feel Zlatan has really is. It’s cool, for what it’s what. “Scopatumana” is easily the best hi tempo vibe on the album, it seems so raw.
There’s a magical chunk of it that was dedicated to posh Afro beats where Zlatan could just rap. “Shotan” with Zlatan Ibile, for example. And also “Gbeku” with Burna Boy. Of course, you could gbese to these ones too, so no worry. “Distracted” with Patoranking has a tune and story, and that’s all it is, really.
However “If You No Know” got on the album, it’s an anomaly. Could possibly be there for sentimental reasons, because of Papi Snoop and Jamo Pyper, who were featured.
“Life” is there as a hustle story, a bang Afrobeat, with Zlatan pouring his heart out, about how he ended up in Mapoly. And how his life has changed drastically. This is the kind of music Zlatan would be making if he didn’t catch the Zanku vibe. Oladips kind of thing!
Oh, and then there’s always that gospel song somewhere. On “Adura Agba”, he tapped Barry Jhay for the cool vibe. Not sure you could sing this in a church, but your choir master definitely won’t wonder you’re playing this on your own.
“Super Power” is Davido, Zlatan Ibile, and Yonda, on a gyration beat. Yonda outdid all off them, though. It’s probably just here cause Davido was on it. And the most outstanding track on this album to many would-be “Love and Gain”, a hip-hop and trap vibe, where Zlatan really showed his storytelling rap skills.
While “Ko Easy Worldwide” and “Omo Olope” are just there, the old songs did the closing job quite perfectly. Depending on what perfect means to you. To me, it means I wasn’t yawning by the time it got there. Crisp!
Rating: 3.5/5 (Fia!!)