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“Blessed” Review: Berri Tiga’s Debut is Proof of an Artiste Ready for Greatness 

“Blessed” Review: Berri Tiga’s Debut is Proof of an Artiste Ready for Greatness 

Blessed - Berri Tiga - Review - Afrocritik

Blessed is a commendable addition to Berri Tiga’s discography. With the 7-track project, he leaves listeners eagerly anticipating what’s next from the artiste.

By Hope Ibiale

The walls of the Nigerian music scene have expanded over the past decade, well beyond what many could have imagined, and with the help of a wide range of talented artistes. The industry has witnessed a remarkable evolution led by recurrent players who seem to meet the criteria year after year. There are also new players on the block who carry on the mandate of their predecessors. One of these talented new artistes is Agada Obotu, popularly known as Berri Tiga. The artiste rose to prominence after delivering a stellar performance on the viral song, “Machala”. As the song made waves, there were whispers about Berri Tiga being a one-hit wonder. But the artiste proves critics wrong with his debut EP, Blessed

On the 7-track project, Berri recruits Yo X, Jeriq, and Boy Muller, to deliver tantalising melodies that linger in the subconscious of listeners, hours after experiencing the project. With Blessed, the singer glides like a skilful ballet dancer and confidently slides over the project’s overall intoxicating production.

We are introduced to Berri’s world with “Small Boy”. In most album openers, we find artistes taking a philosophical stance, reflecting on their journey, or acknowledging a greater power in their lives. Berri follows this style; appreciating God for his success, calling out naysayers, and reiterating that he is focused on becoming a star. He sings, “Everything don dey work for me cus I get God I no fit come last”. On closer listen, you will notice the contentment layered in Berri’s voice. He is not eager to make a hit song. He simply sings, while allowing the music to take over. With Yo X’s production chops and Berri’s light-hearted lyrics, “Small Boy” is an enjoyable start that makes one excited for what is next to come on the project. 

Blessed - Berri Tiga - Review - Afrocritik

A gunshot sets the tone for the next track, “This Year”. Berri switches up from his solemn state in “Small Boy” and takes a more aggressive stance. Here, the perfectly placed heavy log drums, shakers, and whistles take over the record and push listeners to let loose. Throughout the track, Berri becomes a prophet who declares the best year for himself and his supporters. It seems his obsession with Wizkid (Machala) isn’t over as he compares his glowing skin and fashion style with lyrics like, “Louis Vuitton dey my leg, fresh and clean like Machala”. He also interpolates lines from the top-charting record, “Machala” and it fits seamlessly. It is easy to get distracted by the song’s infectious production and Berri’s melodies that we may forget about the lyrics. But this is also an important feature of a good song. Berri keeps the lyrics bare as he continuously chants “Louis Vuitton”, leaving the work to crowd vocals, log drums, and his ability to navigate the song. Nevertheless, the bland lyricism doesn’t stop it from being enjoyable as the song’s production and Berri’s confident delivery adequately boost the record.

He doesn’t continue sharing prophecies on the next track, “Looking”. Instead, he is a lover who longs for the attention of his love interest. He starts the record with cliche love lines like, “Na you be the sugar in my tea and if you no dey, girl I no fit sleep”. With “Looking”, the artiste pauses in his attempt to prove himself to naysayers, instead, he focuses on wooing his love interest. 

Blessed - Berri Tiga - Review - Afrocritik
Blessed tracklist

On “German Machine”, he veers off the familiar sound of Amapiano that is prominent in the previous tracks, entertaining listeners with the distinct sound of the Oja/Ojapiano. Here, he features rapper, Jeriq, but his presence is under-utilised. Jeriq’s addition to the track can be compared to a timid backup vocalist whose contribution is merely an afterthought. After displaying his collaborative skills on the Evil Twin and other of his past projects, his input on “German Machine” is disappointing. After listening to the track for a few times, it becomes obvious that both artistes rely more on the uniqueness of the oja that they forget about the lyricism. Despite these shortcomings, “German Machine” finds its strength in the addition of the oja and one can pretend the lyrics aren’t there and enjoy the beauty of the instrument. Nonetheless, the record is a refreshing addition to Blessed

With a duration of one minute and eighteen seconds, some might argue that “Bamiloke” is an album filler because of its length. As soon as the records start, Berri’s vocals draw you in and you truly want to meet him at the top, just like he states in the song. This is unlike previous records like “German Machine” and “Louis Vuitton” where the artiste relies heavily on the tracks’ production.  Another standout feature is that the artiste’s voice syncs perfectly with the song’s production. One element doesn’t overshadow the other. There is a balance on “Bamiloke” that when the song ends, you wonder whether your music player is broken. The song sucks you in. You can tell from the artiste’s voice that “Bamiloke” is drawn from a personal experience. It is more than a song; it’s a battle scar he shows off proudly. 

Berri Tiga - Afrocritik
Berri Tiga

When “Active” comes on, one’s mind is transported to CKay’s “Watawi” as both songs share production similarities. Unlike the latter where the artiste avoids the confines of a relationship, the artistes on the former are Street-Pop singers who brag about their hustling spirit while poking at naysayers. This is my first time listening to the featured artiste, Boy Muller, and I can already sense his unique artistry with the way he fits easily into the song and goes head-to-head with Berri Tiga. 

Blessed draws the curtain with “Bye Bye”. On the final track, Berri bids farewell to frenemies and anyone who tries to take advantage of his fame. With “Bye Bye”, the artiste wraps up the project and informs listeners about his current state of mind. 

Berri Tiga 2 jpeg

Blessed is a commendable addition to Berri Tiga’s discography. With the 7-track project, he leaves listeners eagerly anticipating what’s next from the artiste. From the cohesiveness evident in the project’s overall production to Boy Muller’s contribution and easy lyrics, this debut was evidently a well-thought process that positions the artiste as one who works hard on his craft and is intentional about creating good projects.

However, in the future, we can only hope that the artiste doesn’t leave all the work to music producers or places focused more on making only viral hits and party anthems. Listeners can’t be distracted for too long. It would help his artistry if he brushes up his songwriting and delivers a project where there is a clear balance between his pen and the production chops. There is room for improvement. Nevertheless, Blessed is an enjoyable placeholder that will prepare music lovers for what’s to come. It also displays the artiste’s budding abilities to deliver a good project that houses gems for a wide variety of listeners. 

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Lyricism – 0.4

Tracklisting – 1.4

Sound Engineering –1.7

Vocalisation – 1

Listening Experience – 1.5

Rating – 6/10 

Hope Ibiale is a writer and book lover.

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