It’s important to note, that at the time of writing this review, western award season is underway. Oscar and Grammy nominations have been announced and various critics and publications will assess the quality of dozens of albums to predict the best of the best.
For AG Baby, we do not need to wait for award season. By delivering the best work of his career, he is quite simply, the one to beat (and that’s if you can)
The transformation of Adekunle Gold from Fuji–Esque God Caller to Pop Fashion Killer, is what premium pop culture is made of. Changing everything from his genre to his looks, the rebrand was muscular, innovative and incredibly strategic. Countries with forward-thinking educational systems, would perhaps have courses based on this, as it is a lesson in excellent media branding.
The music particularly, is at the heart of this.
“Catch Me If You Can” picks up from where “Afro Pop Vol. 1” stopped. While the album isn’t exactly “Vol. 2”, it goes further in solidifying his transformation and new brand of music.
For example, while “Afro Pop” was branded (quite questionably) as a pop album, “CMIYC” is undoubtedly not. It is the most apparent exercise in groovy Afrobeats since Wizkid’s “Made In Lagos”—The result is a masterpiece in cohesion.
Every track save “High”, is a sizzling slow burner, impressive in its subtlety. AG is also very intentional with the topics on this album. On “FYE” Adekunle is absolutely a new man — He is “Bad Boy Deks” now. ” You love when Daddy make you scream and you cream and ooohhh “. Ladies, Gentlemen and Non Binaries of the internet… Suffice to say, I screamed.
On “Win”, he clearly explains where he’s at right now. It’s self-explanatory — AG’s goal from here on out is to win for him and his. No one else matters. ” In my lifetime, people I fit die for, dem be like two “. Simply put, if you know, you know.
The features on this record are also stellar. The Fatoumata sample is tastefully executed, Stefon Don is reliably sexual on “Fye”, Davido gives the album its requisite hit, and Lucky Daye beautifully compliments “Sinner”. However, none of them compares to the work of TY Dolla Sign on “One Woman”. His vocal performance is arguably one of the best of his career, and his runs are reminiscent of the better parts of R Kelly, a flawed vocal genius.
Of course, in keeping with tradition, I would be remiss if I did not highlight the best song on this record. That singular honour goes to the title track, “Catch Me If You Can”. “High” is the hit, “One Woman” has the best feature, and “Sinner” is the most romantic, but this closing number, is by far the most stunning. The production and writing is a bridge between his work on “Afro Pop” and “Gold”.
The placement of the song is stellar as well. When AG sings in the hook, ” You know I’m the man, you already know where I stand”, we believe him. In the 13 tracks prior, he’s said all he needed to say. It is not just a perfect close to this album, It is an encapsulation of his career so far. A wonderful song, through and through.
Finally, as highlighted earlier, “Catch Me If You Can” is a slow-burning album. In the wrong environment and with the wrong listener, one might burn out, but it matters not. This is a career-defining album on both commercial and critical fronts.
Well done, AG. Well done!