For a Nigerian act based in Huston, Kobi Jonz displays a peerless understanding of the sounds of the Nigerian music industry, how to make people move and sets a standard for future releases on his latest body of work – Kool Rebel.
The first track – “Tbh”, is a great introduction. It presents the “Kool Rebel” from Fagba. For a come-up story, it is mighty impressive work. One of the plus points is how it fits in seamlessly with the next track. The sonic coherence could not be an accident. It is a testament to an eye for detail and solid production (one that resonates throughout the project). If you had any questions about what Kobi Jonz is about, “Tbh” is the student’s handbook with FAQs.
The second track “Kritikal”, is reminiscent of live Fela music. With live instruments and a crowd at the New Afrika Shrine, it can be explosive. The soundbites are a stroke of genius. Femi Falana provides context to everyday Nigerian struggles. From crime to disenchantment with current systems, the soundbite is the perfect introduction to a politically charged track. The final bit of the song is sprinkled with a call to action – the youths must participate in the forthcoming election. The slight letdown on this track is the autotune. For a track so critical of current systems, I would have enjoyed it a lot more with minimal engineering.
The Telz produced “Dada” boasts excellent engineering as well as bouncy rhythms. If you’re looking to set up a Friday party playlist – “Dada” is the song for you. While the synths made it difficult to hear every word on “Afro Goosebumps”, it’s pretty difficult to stop listening to this song. In sum, it is mighty addictive. Armed with the Apple Music lyrics, you realise that the hook is so well written. This reviewer is averse to synths and autotune, but “Afro Goosebumps” is a compromise. This track elevates the project and solidifies the impression that Kobi Jonz understands how to make feel-good music.
“Troublemaker” is a solid dancehall hit. The curious thing about this song is how it sits with the preceding song. The thematic coherence between both tracks is unrivalled. Interestingly, Aipo’s hook (and the only feature on the project) presents a breath of fresh air to the project. It displays Kobi Jonz’s ability to combine and achieve synchronicity with other acts – this is important to see in rising acts.
For me, the project is wholesome. Standout tracks are “Afro Goosebumps” and “Trouble Maker”. Both tracks are playlist-worthy. On the whole, I think everyone should check this project out.