“These Buhari Times”, fourth in the series of Clone Wars by the Show Dem Cap, affirms that they are the most hard-working duet in the Nigerian music industry.
Still steaming hot from their feel-good and accomplished Palmwine Music Vol. 2, they insisted on dropping two great projects in 2018. Never mind that this project almost seeped into the crack of annual album end-of-the-year glut, upthrust came through by way of the creative desert of 2019’s first quarter.
With 14 tracks, 8 minutes short of one hour, Clone Wars IV, is gainfully star-studded with guest verses and vocal appearances from their frequent collaborator LadiPoe, Chocolate City’s MI Abaga, Ozone, Vector and even new media comics (although uncredited on the tracklist) like Lasisi Elenu.
Like the name implies, “These Buhari Times”, urgently embodies the era we live in but it goes beyond re-constructing our political milieu.
The album, instead of beaming a search light on the polity and the hordes of their misgivings like Falz did rather emphatically on “Moral Instructions” (please see link), is more excited about the masses, precisely the young, upwardly mobile, tech-savvy, slang-wielding chappies, initially optimistic about Buhari’s tenure but floored by his dismal denouement.
This is election season—and a darn good time to take stock.
Social media is already abuzz with factions twiddling their fingers in praise of their sides but the hapless masses are caught between the political crossfire.
But rather than face the pessimism our realities beget, Show Dem Camp, with great sonic input by frequent collaborator Spax, makes memorable music that highlights the beauty in our crushed humanity.
“These Buhari Times” is a metaphor for daily life. Although a number of songs stray from this concern, they find a way to segue into the larger narrative.
The Intro’s hook prescribes an inventory of quick instructions to staying afloat in Lagos in these recessional Buhari times.
Songs like ‘Savage’ and ‘In the Vibe We Trust’ stand out as hip-hop standards but elsewhere like on ‘Packaging’ and ‘Everything I Love’, story-telling is used to extend the realities of what it means to be Nigerian at this time.
‘Fourth Republic’ is steeped in Afrobeat influences which makes it stand forward as a place-holder for an eponymous song.
‘+234’ is mostly about praise, referencing our country code but ‘Lagos’ takes the loudest ovation.
‘Shadow of Doubt’ delves into the existential philosophy of hustling and, quite remarkably, makes an intellectual case for inertia, a Lagos/Nigerian rarity.
The idea of male vulnerability is explored on ‘Duade’ (shout out to the stellar Cina Soul doing the hook).
On ‘Respect’, ‘Loyalty’ and ‘Honour’ we are reminded, with beautiful lyricism, the role Hip-Hop plays in instructing us about virtues.
Gems of couplets abound on this album. Ditto for anxieties especially about commercial reception.
Even though Clone Wars is the critical arm of the ambidextrous Show Dem Camp limb complex, there is a diminished longing for cross-over appeal.
But like our country as described by Ghost on Epigenetics—a cocktail of absinthe, codeine and caffeine— These Buhari Times is doomed to be a project with a large heart but small following.