There is this thing music does for me; I don’t know if it does the same for you. I find peace in listening to music no matter the mood I find myself in. Then when it’s related to any of my favourite artists, I can engage in convos for long hours without sweating because it just comes easy for me.
I have favourite artists across different genres of music, including hip-hop/rap, R & B, Afrobeats, Reggae, Alte, etc. In Afrobeats, which Nigerians predominantly dominate, one of my favourite new generation artists is Adedamola Adefolahan, popularly called Fireboy DML. The OAU graduate of English caught my attention in 2018 when he sang Jealously, What If I Say, and Sing ft. Oxlade. I don’t know which I heard first, but it was that era. The one with Oxlade was so soothing because their vocal ability complemented each other, and I knew I was ready to add another artist to my “favourites” list.
In less than a year of his breakout into the industry, we saw the tracklist of his debut album, Laughter, Tears, and Goosebumps, a 14-track project with three lead songs – King, Jealous, and What If I Say. The timing was not shocking, but the confidence to release an album without any features from his peers or the industry OGs. The album’s success made me understand that this guy knew what he was doing. I love Vibration, High on Life, Gbas Gbos, and What If I Say on the project. As a music fan, there are only a few established mainstream artists that can drop another project in less than a year after the previous one. But this guy said, “hold my cup” and did something unusual.
The YBNL signee’s second studio album, Apollo, came less than a year after LTG, specifically on the 19th of August, 2020. Honestly, it was my biggest shocker about Afrobeats in 2020. I was still rinsing LTG and I saw that a new album is out. Fireboy was different on Apollo, quite different from his sound on LTG. I could tell that it was not something that would hold listeners down on first listen. There were different LTG >>> Apollo and Apollo >>> LTG comments all over social media. People later agreed to disagree but what stands is that both projects are sonically amazing. In no time, rivalry and debate about who the bigger and better artist begins between the stans of the new-gen artists. The peers grouped according to their breakout year are Fireboy, Joeboy, and Rema.
After Apollo’s release in August 2020, Fireboy only dropped a single, Peru, until 2022. Although he was featured on some songs like Sere (with DJ Spinall), History (with Cheque), Running (with Ladipoe), and Be My Guest (with WSTRN). 2022 became a good year for Fireboy’s fans as we saw hints that he would drop Playboy, his third studio album, very soon. We got the first promotional single, Playboy, followed by Bandana ft. Asake. By the time Bandana was out, there was already a release date for the album, and fans started getting ready to go on another musical journey with Fireboy. When the pre-order was available, we saw that Peru, the OG version, and the one with Ed Sheeran would be on the album, making it have three lead songs.
If anything, it’s good news for commercial sales and success. The tracklist was out, and we saw that Rema (his supposed major rival), Chris Brown, and Euro were also on the album. I made sure sleep had nothing on me on the night of release because I needed to listen to that beautiful body of work as it dropped.
For once, I was both happy and sad that I was not in the US living a “soft” life… yet. It sounds crazy. I know I’m probably overreacting, but was it not worth it? Because I wouldn’t feel too good knowing that in another country, Playboy the album was out, and I couldn’t listen to it because it’s not midnight where I am. So I was happy that I was in Nigeria with Fireboy and could listen to it at 12 on the dot.
But then, I was also a bit sad because if Fireboy ever plans to do the Playboy global tour, Nigeria won’t probably get dates, and it only means that I might not get to see him perform those songs live to me. I’m happy that I have new music to listen to. Now, into my listening experience when it was some minutes past 12.
The first track, Change, wanted to force a tear from my eye. After the first four lines, I had to pause and restart the song because I couldn’t get enough of it. For Bandana, I didn’t skip because I wanted to make my first listen wholesomely, and I love Asake’s vocals in the chorus so much. Ashawo is this melodious song that you can’t vibe to in front of your parents because of its a-little-bit vulgar lyrics, but I looked forward to it after hearing a line from the official video of the Playboy single.
I heard Playboy, the single, which still sounded new. Adore almost made me shed another tear because why is an Afrobeats singer starting a song like one South Carolina trap artist or a typical Falz on Bop Daddy? How good and versatile can you be to pull that off effortlessly? Sofri is another melodious track that I couldn’t skip. Chris Brown and Shenseea did what they had to do on Diana, and I love it.
I didn’t know what to expect when I saw Rema on the album track list, but I have always trusted Fireboys feature game. Rema delivered on Compromise like he was on a mission I don’t know about. Timoti sounded like a random Burna Boys track that would fit into African Giant, and he killed it, of course. Peru still banged like a newly released jam, and may God bless Olamide Badoo for leaking the song, forcing Fireboy to drop it. Afro-highlife is a song I would never expect from Fireboys discography until he stopped making music, but there it is in his third studio album. The songs highlight is the chemistry between the instrumentalists and his vocals, so much synergy.
Havin’ Fun is another song that I feel Fireboy recorded to show – or better still remind – the world that he’s so versatile. The reggae tune is so unlike Fireboy, but he gave it to us, nevertheless. Peru with Ed is another song I like, primarily because of Eds verse. Then the outro, Glory, I was speechless about this. I just enjoyed it from 0:01 to 3:46min.
This is Fireboy’s third studio album, which dropped when his peers had just released their debut full-length project. It’s giving me seniority as I’m writing this. Why? Because none of his peers in the industry can boast of it. Fireboy showed the lover boy vibe on LTG, the superstar that’s trying to avoid the fame that came with his passion for Apollo, and the global star that wants to come out of his shell and absorb the fame the best way on Playboy. If you’ve listened to the new album, how was the experience? Were there skips? Did any featured artist “body” him? Is it his best yet? Did you expect more? Okay, before the questions get too much, give it another listen after you read this, and then proceed to answer the questions. One last question please, Do we have a Fireboy Trifecta already?