Bolaji Ojodukan “BOJ” is perhaps the most influential artiste in the Nigerian “Alte” scene. His previous releases like Magic and BOTM are one for the books.
BOJ’s intent is clear. The album is intended to be a full representation of his style that’s stood the test of time for over a decade, a style that catalysed the birth of Altè music; A celebration, a qualifier, an experience of the subculture he gave so much to establish.
However, the problem — is the album seems to have no solid direction. Scintillating sound of course but there’s no real juice to it, no “bang”. It comes off more like a playlist than an album.
Starting off with Fireboy’s featured track; “Owo ni Koko”. He and BOJ explore the recurring theme of money being the “principal thing”, something of a known fact…
On “Tinu Ewe”, Boj offers a walk through his timeline, contrasting his life then and now, highlighting the existing similarities; nothing changed, he’s still the Altè Prince.
“Lekki Love” hits home being one of the hottest tracks on here it sports Buju and Fresh L flexing in their element, and “In a Loop” is at the top of the list.
Finally, BOJ gives us that Wizkid feature on the hot number “Awolowo”, a track which for reasons unbeknownst to us had been teased for a good while now, maybe a little too long… because exciting as it sounds BOJ brings nothing new on it and casually fades into the background, the excitement is very short-lived. The same goes for “Abracadabra”.
But this is where the good news ends, a lot of the other features are far from stellar. To be fair, Enny, Tiwa Savage, and Obongjayer are on form, but there’s more to be expected from others like Prettyboy D–O and Moliy amongst others.
In all, “Gbagada Express” falls short. Although artists should of course enjoy creative freedom but from an artiste of BOJ’s class and ability, we expected much more, and rightfully so.
On the 16 track project, only a few tracks stick around in the mind after the music stops. Altogether the project is middling, decent enough to get airplay but frankly lacking replay value, the star factor.
To whom much is given much is expected, and from the literal prince of Altè? A lot more was expected on “Gbagada Express”.