Nigerians are fans of the familiar. This is why it’ll be difficult to imagine Mr Ibu as an open-heart surgeon in a Nollywood movie. It’s the same reason fans are finding it difficult to adjust to the more “vibey” Wizkid. It’s simply the reason why the highest praise Nigerian producers get is “Omo that guy good o”.
The above is why producer to artiste transitions are pretty difficult in our clime. But the fact remains, if you feel you can do something well, you owe it to yourself to try. Success stories like Tekno and Maleek Berry remind us that there’s a market for transitions. And Nigerians will celebrate you if you show you can succeed at both. However, consistency and grace seem to be the differentials in an industry where everyone else has talent.
On A Friendly Introduction to Saund Cracker Mallo makes his definitive leap at being an artiste. Through proper A&R, the project slowly sheds the veil of “talented producer”. As soon as we take a peek, we find a thoughtful singer and songwriter. The introduction is teased, not rushed. It’s like a 2009 MTN midnight call with your new lover. This record expresses a range of genres through a spectrum of genius.
The sonic progression create an artistic ease on this project. If you’ve followed Cracker’s production since “Jealous” you’ll be instantly drawn to “Paradise”. The combination of DJ Neptune and Cracker Mallo on “The Hardest” was inch perfect— one for the clubs. Olamide’s verses on “Palanshe” are enough to pick you up on a bad day. In some way, the baselines on the song are similar to Slimcase’s “Azaman”. The lead single, “Wickedest Wyne” with Fireboy DML has slow rhythmic progressions and such excellent mastering. If you listen carefully, you’ll find a cocktail of quiet harmonies between Cracker Mallo and Fireboy from 1:50 to 2:10.
“Do Better” which is THE track of this project is reminiscent of his 2019 work on “Halleh” off his Hattrick EP with Shorae Moore and Oxlade. The spiritual synths, drums, horns and remarkable vocals urge you to feel a little more deeply. It’s Cracker Mallo’s own introduction, in a project that housed quite the number of featured voices. It’s a pretty impressive solo track, something everyone should listen to.
The features on this record accentuate Cracker Mallo’s ties to the structure that first brought him to limelight— YBNL. The result is a great first impression. We get the feel that Cracker Mallo is not one to rush the process— he’ll take the time, feel things, make the effort then create something truly iconic. There’s no one that’ll listen to A Friendly Introduction to Saund that won’t find the very definition of Saund captured within its context. Cracker Mallo is truly spiritual and unique and now (it’s your turn to) dance.