Album Review – Korede – Mike Abdul
The sun came out in its blaze of glory on the beautiful Saturday that was June 11. It was a recess from the perpetual rainy May weather. Somewhere in Lagos, the weather was complementing an historic event as Spaghetti Records was releasing the sophomore album of Gospel artiste and member of Midnight Crew, Mike Abdul titled “Korede”.
The album a collection of 16 tracks features members of Spaghetti Records Monique and A’dam. Also, Yoruba Gospel music icon Tope Alabi, David Karnji, OluwaShalom and Bidemi Olaoba.
When Mike Abdul released his first album ‘Good to Go’ in 2013, I posited that the music minister was evolving a new sound and should therefore not be restricted with such definition as ‘Fuji artiste’, turns out I was accurate on the theory as recent releases which preceded the album and the album give credence to the fact. I did say he was evolving a new sound and although the outcome of the evolution did not particularly resulted in an all new sound, it is peculiar to Mike Abdul. What’s even more is the high density of features of High Life and Juju Music – as oppose to Fuji – on the new album! Save for the use of dialect and voice range which optimized Fuji and Apala features… Seems Mike Abdul keeps evolving!
Answer my Prayer
With Rhythmic baseline, lead guitar, simple chords and horns, Mike Abdul set the tone for ‘Korede’ album. The first track showcases the rich elements of High Life which is dispersed throughout the album. Naturally, the diction follows suit – Mike uses local dialects especially Nigerian pidgin majorly.
Deeply seated in Apala genre, the rhythm, suspended chords, talking drums all suggested what a more contemporary Apala music would sound like. More so, the call and response is a feature prominent with Apala bands which also helps convey the emotion, tone and mood of the singer. Mike Abdul sure knew the importance of the album title song and had taken his time in the composition and arrangement of “Korede” …boy! did he hit the mark!!
Toh Marvelous featuring Tope Alabi
It is save to say Mike has evolved a more matured sound compare with his previous album. “Toh Marvelous” starts off with kicks and snares and switches to “Alujo”, just like he chants in the chorus and also called on Babatunmise to play more “Alujo” … is it the same Babatunmise we all know though? Tope Alabi is not a stranger to “Alujo” as her whole album is rich with it.
Another High Life music. the lead guitar intermittent-pitched-hooks that reverberated throughout the song is epic! it bridged the gap between High Life and Juju and the song can easily pass for any of the genre. This is due to the fact that the beat is digital, especially the choice of the kick, therefore it cannot comfortably seat as an original High Life or Juju music but a beautiful modification of the genres.
Mike Abdul revisited the Afro-Pop sound we have come to enjoy and love Mike Abdul for when he released singles such as “Ready to Praise”, “Morire”, “Oh My Jesu” and the likes. One of his previously released single from the album. He positioned the track right on the album, as the track that preceded “Kneel Down” because the former is an offshoot of the later.
Kneel Down featuring A’dam & David Karnji
Few days before the release of “Korede” album, Mike Abdul released this single and like me, I know many people would have been taken aback when they heard Mike rapping! Most singers have tried their hands on rap but you can tell immediately that such a singer is… well, just another singer trying out rap but not Mike Abdul! He gave a lot of rappers something to think about as far as creativity and style goes! What’s more is how he broke it down so that a non-initiate (as far as rap is concerned) can relate and sing along. The jungle beat on this track will get you bopping even before you realize it. A problem I have always noticed with Gospel Rap Music in Nigeria is that the rapper may have good verses but a boring chorus and vice vassal but Mike Abdul nailed the chorus with superb rhythm and vocals as well as the delivery on the rap – all call and response!
Follow the Leader
Mike slows down the pace of the album for this African Folk music. You can say the tempo of the song was deliberate because of the message it conveys. You will almost miss the fact that Mike uses the English Language almost entirely on the track because of the rich use of African musical instruments common with the genre such as gong and conga.
Emi Mimo featuring Monique & A’dam
Translates ‘Holy Ghost’. Just like the name, it’s a song of that beckons on the Holy Spirit and who better jump on such a song than the anointed Monique! After listening to “Kneel Down” and “Emi Mimo”, one has to come to the conclusion that we are yet to experience the full potency of the new Spaghetti Records signee A’dam.
OMG!! This is an encore moment on the album! Mike transitions more than thrice combining various genres from Fuji, to Makossa and then Techno-Pop! One can only imagine what impact this track will have on the stage. The transitions are so smooth that you probably will miss it due to the fact one is caught up in the groove. This is one track where Mike Abdul’s ‘Fujiness’ is most evident… of course, that’s before the transitions.
Nobody tells stories with music anymore!The beautiful thing about this track is the use of dialect and imagery. An average Nigerian can reckon with the picture Mike Abdul painted of the society and the challenges of an average youth, this is based largely of the use of imagery and dialect… I think this will be a song that will do well even in the mainstream if used for further promotion because it cuts across seamlessly.
Fun Mi Se
Another traditional folk music with an homorhythmic overtone which passes it off conveniently, as an hymnal. It features the sonorous OluwaShalom and if Mike Abdul gave it a good shot in the first verse, OluwaShalom took the home run! Beautiful piece and apt for its thematic preoccupation which talks about God’s mercy by which all things come to fruition.
Mr Darlinton – A’dam
A mid-tempo Afro-Pop, Mike tries to fit in the elements of his most prominent genre on a mid-tempo beat and employs the expertise of A’dam (who, haven listened to the album, you will conclude is Mike Abdul’s protege) to produce this great tune.
Press Button – Feat. Bidemi Olaoba
The emphasis on the dependence on the Holy Spirit as observed in this album reached its crescendo with the track “Press Button”. Naturally, you would have expected a mild tone in the interpretation of such theme but it is an open secret that Mike Abdul does not comform, hence the mid-tempo.
God Alone – Feat. Kenny K’ore
Released way before the album dropped, “God Alone” isn’t one of those worship song that takes from the ‘worship vocabularies’ that worship leaders have become accustomed to and have the audience going ‘here we go again’. The lyrics comes from a spiritual depth and touches one’s spirit with its richness and weight. Hence, you will let go of what can be a weight and join the singers in worship without being told directly to do so. Music is very spiritual and carries its language and has singers get acquainted with its this, the listeners can hear their unspoken words even without it being altered verbally – such is the case of “God Alone”.
Every Gospel artiste needs to extend their thematic preoccupation to cater to societal needs. Though ‘Shout About” his not the only track on “Korede” that is tailored in that regard, it stands out due to its precision. It is also worthy of note the technique used by Mike Abdul to balance the that with the Gospel… simply exceptional!
Church Street ft. A’dam
I can say this is my most favourite track on the album. Mike Abdul tapped into his rapping technique, packing lots of elements alongside to deliver “Church Street”. For instance the use of metaphor and chiasmus.
Check out the chorus:
“Oya ka lo church” (Let’s go to church)
“Oya ka lo street” (Let’s go to the street)
“Streeti sha ni churchi wa” (It’s obvious that the church is on the street)
“Chruchi lori streeti wa” (There’s a church on our street)
The statement above is a chiastic structure that balances the fact that going to the street is actually going to church because the church is on the street. Mike Abdul also made use of direct comparison in emphasizing the message of the second coming of Jesus and the fact that he is sent to gather as many that are lost from the street, thereby making use of metaphor, a common element with Hip Hop and Rap music.
When the Midnight Crew announced in 2013 that the members of the group will be embarking on solo projects, Mike Abdul was the first member to release an album – “Good 2 Go” – and my review of the album posited arguments for the fact that Mike Abdul is more than just a Fuji artiste which was the popular idea at the period but the album “Korede” can be regarded as an establishment of who Mike Abdul, the solo artiste is. We are presented with his dynamics, versatility and artistic repute as the journey threads towards an iconic status.
Artiste: Mike Abdul
Features: Tope Alabi, David Karnji, OluwaShalom and Bidemi Olaoba
Producer: Puffy Tee, Tosin Paul, K-Solo, Tyanx, Shabach, Phat-E
Mixing & Mastering: Tyanx, Florocka, Vtex, Phat-E, Mr Daz
Get “Korede” album on iTunes
Connect with Mike Abdul
Facebook: Mike Abdul
About Alex Amos
Alex Amos is a Creative Writer and Team Head at Lexyville Entertainment, publishers of SelahAfrik. He is a publicist for Christian personalities including Wole Oni, Wilson Joel, Glowreeyah Braimah, Ada, Chris Shalom and more. Alex is an Assistant Pastor, serving in Heaven on Earth Ministries.