by Chi Ibe

There is only one justification for ‘Solar Plexus’: there was a lot of focus on the Mo’Hits split, Don Jazzy needed to change the conversation, he also needed to launch a new label, fast, so that he could begin to make money – via royalties, concerts, album sales, and the rest – quickly. To that extent, he cashed in on the overwhelming interest in his affairs and made a solid business decision – rush into the studio (for about 2 – 4 days) and release an album.

That is a justification I can swallow, because, after all, Don Jazzy is known as a business genius.

If the above is in fact not the case, then I must tell you the truth about this album of a thing from the beginning – so that readers who don’t want to hear a negative comment about Don Jazzy can go ahead and burst a vessel: it’s bad. By God, it’s bad.

Of course, half of those reading this this will call me Satan. People have set up camp in front of the destinies of Dbanj and Don Jazzy and are praying that by the success of the one, they will prove the crucial folly of the other. My ears know neither D’banj nor Don Jazzy. All they know is good or bad music. And Don Jazzy missed the mark by a mile.

It started falling apart from the silly ‘Mavin Activated’ Robocop intro, and never recovered from the pit of misery. There were tracks that weren’t half-bad – Tiwa’s ‘O ma ga’ (God save the Autotune Queen), D’Prince’s ‘Amarachi’, and Wande Coal’s ‘Forever ‘– but the others were just bad.  Good beats, weak lyrics, trashy songs. For goodness sake, immediately Don Jazzy heard their voices, he should have sent them out of the studio. There is the overpowering sense that this album was rushed;  a half-baked, uncohesive string of songs.

Save for talented production consistent with Don Jazzy, it is largely inconsequential. And that’s a big problem – Don Jazzy rules because of the wow factor, but this was mediocre. I kept waiting to be wowed and all I could do was fall asleep.

The only person that came out looking good was D’Prince (Amarachi, Take Banana), and how desperately he needed it because he had always had a lot to prove and I think he finally got the message. It’s a testament to great music that he sings “Back up, all I want is your yansh,” and the women don’t get mad. Only D’banj had pulled that off before now. Wande (Forever, Pretty Girl, I’m a Mavin) … while he showed exactly why we love his talent, he needs to do more to deliver on his potential. As for Dr. Sid (CPR)? This music thing is just not working, man. Don Jazzy should not believe the crap hype about being able to turn a crappy singer into a bellowing star with his beats. This album has proven what a big, fat lie that is.

Which brings us to Tiwa Savage, a woman whose career was on the fast track – Mavin or not. I am of two minds on this point – Don Jazzy’s beats are good for her evolving street cred, and it isn’t a bad idea to ‘razz’ her up à la D’banj, but she didn’t really shine, which is a shame. Save for D’Prince, they were all like bulbs when NEPA decides to give “one candle watt”.

So let me just come out and say the sad, unpalatable truth: the missing rib is a D’banj. Shoot me for being so predictable, but wait a minute … just give yourself a minute’s mental space of uninterrupted honesty and just imagine it was D’banj on that Tiwa tune.  Aha.

There’s a lot of love for these guys, and especially for Don Jazzy, we all want this thing to succeed, but even those who want to insist this is a good album will, in the darkness of their rooms, confess that it certainly isn’t A-game. If this was the kind of stuff Don Jazzy had given us before, he would never have earned the kind of respect he now has.

I understand the incredible pressure he is facing at the moment – but it is the way we handle pressure and expectation that defines us. ‘Solar Plexus’ was a mistake. I shall therefore ignore it, and wait for Don Jazzy to take his time and produce a proper album worthy of his talent.