Lord of Ajasa’s journey in the naija rap wilderness has been a long and arduous one. From his shaky debut “its too much” to his solid sophomore “second turning by the right” he has finally arrived on “third avenue”. For a pioneer of Yoruba inspired rap, staying relevant has become a priority and in the face of growing competition, Ajasa goes in real hard. With ID cabasa out of the picture, Ajasa pitches his tent with K solo and Yeankeys on the production tip and fills the guest spot on his junior album with the likes of YQ, Jemima, 7th chord, the late Da grin, The suspect, Isolate, Klever jay, Reminisce and Pasuma.
The first single off the album “bo se nlo” featuring Pasuma finds them both going toe to toe flaunting their street connections and affiliations, lines like “mo mon ti mo le se, ma ma foju dimi, mo lenu ladugbo mi, mo mo eyan ladugbo keji” might come across as mere chest thumping but with every verse on the song dedicated to street credibility, it’s safer to give them the respect they deserve.
On “ko se fowo ra”, Ajasa teams up with songstress Jemima and together they deliver an outstanding love song that is bound to be every first time listener’s choice. The Klever jay assisted “its ok” keeps things ticking along smoothly but the joy is short lived as you encounter the unnecessary and unwanted “nigbatawa nikekere (remix)” which also paves the way for the instantly forgettable Yeankeys produced “swagger na swagger”.
The album’s most optimistic moment is also one of its saddest as Ajasa vibrantly swaps verses with the late CEO Da grin on “virus” with YQ on the hook. The album moves on with the mellow “moving on” where he raps with a lot of determination and struggles to convince us that he is the finished product but his claims sound more believable on “kon nse voodoo” where he lyrically murders the competition and proclaims himself the lyrical king kong of naija rap. With witty lines like “min se rapper mo, mo ti di rap, to ba fe mo ona, wa fi mi she map, ajasa, baba agbalagba, on’le fe kuru ju laba, gbogbo ijaya. Music industry, tin ba ti wole, se ni won ma gbe ito mi, won ja ni ile keji, iyen o kan mi, mi o jo anybody, she ni won fe jo mi” such claims are definitely not outlandish.
Backed by K solo’s lush piano keys and saxophone, Ajasa changes tactics on “ojumo ire” where he sings and praises God for his trials, tribulation and successes. After which everything becomes a bunch of misses, from the agreeably cheesy and agonizingly schmaltzy “owo epo” featuring Isolate, to his cheap attempts at crafting a club banger on “bragaad” and “straight to the dance floor”, Ajasa succeeds in undoing all his good works.
With Third avenue, Lord of Ajasa successfully changes his sound and gets a lot of stuff off his chest but fails miserably at the most important mission of all, stamping his authority on the naija rap game. Hopefully by the time he gets to fourth close or takes the fourth turning on the left he will finally get it right.
RATING – 6/10
PLAY – bo se nlo, ko se fowo ra, its ok, kon nse voodoo, virus, moving on
SKIP – bragaad, nigbatawa nikekere (remix), straight to the dance floor