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“Before the Feast” Review: Falz’s EP Thrives On Carefree Escapism

“Before the Feast” Review: Falz’s EP Thrives On Carefree Escapism

“Before the Feast” Review: Falz’s EP Thrives On Carefree Escapism| Afrocritik

Before the Feast smooths out the musical and structural flaws of Falz’s previous album, and it is evident that he has been working behind the scenes. With just six songs, he sets aside his activism persona, offering listeners a more refined version of himself.

By Abioye Damilare Samson

In Nigeria’s music industry, the zeitgeist is often shaped by the bounce and rhythm of Afrobeats, or more recently, the heavy log drums of Amapiano. For mainstream Hip-Hop stars in Nigeria, there is a shared effective formula for success: merging Afro-pop music with Hip-Hop to find the perfect balance, and Falz, born Folarin Falana, is a prime example of this triumphant equation. At the height of his reign in 2016, Falz imprinted his influence into the fabric of Nigeria’s popular culture, thanks to relatable rap laced with laconic and humour-induced lyrics: “Even real talent gan still need promo, If you fake your own death you fit still no blow” from his smash hit, “Soft Work” and “excuse me what is all this embarrassment? Why would you give me pounded yam? It’s for razz men” from “Foreign” with Simi, among many others in his songs. 

If his debut album, Wazup Guy, released in 2014, marked his journey to stardom, his sophomore album, Stories That Touch in 2015, and his collaborative project with the mellifluous vocalist Simi, Chemistry, in 2016, completed his winning run, cementing him as one of the country’s certified hitmakers. In the years since his didactic album Moral Instruction in 2019, and his last album, B.A.H.D in 2022, Falz has also made waves in the Nollywood industry, as well as revealed a rare display of leadership and activism. In 2020, he was among the artistes at the forefront of the #Endsars protest, using his platform to advocate for change against the dissolved rogue police unit. On his recent project, Before the Feast EP — a prequel to his upcoming album, The Feast — Falz, with his cast of five producers and guest artistes, confirms that he has more sonic flavours simmering in his kitchen.

Before the Feast kick starts with Aykbeats-produced Amapiano track, “How Many”. A soft, gentle guitar pick ushers in Falz’s code-switching rap lyrics and funny accent, where he proves his devotion and willingness to do anything for his lover. “I dey travel the whole seven seas, I Go like know if you need anything na Cynthia”, he raps. He is buoyed by the Mavins-signed artiste, Crayon, whose melodious hook carries the record in its entirety.

Falz reignites his hardcore rap skills on the boom-bap trap-influenced track, “Popping Tonight”, featuring Hip-Hop artistes, Phyno and Shaybo. Falz raps about his extravagant and carefree lifestyle with lines like “We dey chop life gan, We dey jaiye times five.” Shaybo enters confidently, asserting her dominance with the lines, “Fuck all the hype, there’s nobody badder than I”, which  Phyno complements with the high-energy vibe of his distinctive flow.

“Before the Feast” Review: Falz’s EP Thrives On Carefree Escapism| Afrocritik
Before the Feast tracklist

Falz has consistently drawn inspiration from Fela’s Afrobeat, and on the Magicsticks-produced track “Chop Life”,  he employs this technique again. However, unlike his usual political themes, this song captures his extravagant lifestyle. While he sings about hedonism, Falz weaves in reflective lyrics such as “My mama say make I put love first, Pastor say make I avoid sex, Say devil dey use am fall men”

The EP’s standout track and potential hit, “Who Go Pay”, enlists seasoned hit-maker Adekunle Gold for a high-spirited party anthem laden with his signature vocals and lyrics like “Won mu coco, won la Molly, A night for the boys and, One for daddy”, precisely tailored for high-octane moments and liquor-fueled nights. Falz’s digestible rap paired with the popular Yoruba hook-like chorus adds an extra layer of charm.

“Before the Feast” Review: Falz’s EP Thrives On Carefree Escapism| Afrocritik
Before the Feast cover art

Duktor Sett’s mid-tempo production on “Shake Kaka” incorporates a subtle yet enchanting saxophone and background piano that gently underpins the entire track. Falz — joining the ranks of Nigerian artistes like Timaya with “Bom Bom” and Mohbad with “Backside” — pays homage to a woman’s backside.

Last year, one of the standout developments in Nigerian music was the ascent of traditional Igbo music on the charts. On the Ogene-charged “Ndi Ike”, which stood out as one of the standout songs of 2023, Falz joined forces with Flavour and Odumodublvck on a song that captures the music heritage of the Southeast region. Falz delivers his verses in Igbo, while the modern Highlife king, Flavour, enriches the chorus with his native vibe. Odumodublvck, with his self-coined ‘Okporoko’ rap style, complements the interplay of metal gongs and drums in the background.

Before the Feast smooths out the musical and structural flaws of Falz’s previous album, and it is evident that he has been working behind the scenes. With just six songs, he sets aside his activism persona, offering listeners a more refined version of himself.

Falz — like most young people — enjoys life’s pleasures, which he celebrates with his indulgence, and in his adulation of the feminine form. Hence, every song on the EP reflects his affection for fun and revelry. He’s not out to make a major statement with Before the Feast; It’s just a warm-up before the banquet of his upcoming album, The Feast.

Lyricism – 1.5

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Tracklisting – 1.0

Sound Engineering –1.0

Vocalisation – 1.0

Listening Experience – 2.0

Rating – 6.5/10 

Abioye Damilare is a music journalist and culture writer focused on the African entertainment Industry. Reading new publications and listening to music are two of his favourite pastimes when he is not writing. Connect with him on Twitter and IG: @Dreyschronicle

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