The Assignment resonates almost the same message, but with different words.
By John Augustina
Joe Praize has graced the tail of 2022 with a mouth-watering, spirit-igniting and dance-inducing album titled The Assignment, housing eleven amazing tracks. Ever listened to a song, and you felt like you have been immersed in an unending flow of the rain of God’s presence? That point where your sole desire is to stay in the heavy cloud of worship that a song has generated? Joe Praize, through this album, has provided eleven songs capable of replicating these exact feelings, and satisfying the thirst for good Gospel songs.
Having spent nearly twelve years on the Nigerian Gospel music scene, Joseph Omo Ebhodaghe, popularly known as Joe Praize, has proven to be a force that has come to stay. Since the release of his award-winning hit song, “Mighty God” off his debut album, My Praise, in 2010, Praize has made significant progress in his career as a Gospel artiste.
Praize is known for his ability to sing low and high pitches despite the hoarseness of his voice texture. He is also known for his unconventional pattern of singing, and his ability to infuse different styles into his songs to ensure that the production sits finely in the chair of excellence. From “Mighty God” to the songs on The Assignment, it is evident that Praize has successfully carved a niche of excellence for himself in Gospel music.
“Come and See” is an energetic song that starts with Joe Praize repeating the line, “my testimony na my message.” The intro is dotted with a jam from the loop, varieties of percussion from the lead guitar, a fine blend of the snare drum, and a mixed sound of the pot drum. In this song, Joe Praize speaks of the good things that God has done for him. From the title, he sings of God’s greatness and abilities. He further calls people to join him in giving thanks to God for his marvelous works. The energetic voice of popular Nigerian Gospel artiste, Mercy Chinwo, gives the song a whole new level of excitement.
(Read also: Victoria Orenze’s Truth in Sounds Album Cements Her Depth in Carving Spiritual Lyrics)
“I Have Seen” is a solemn rendition that begins with audible chords from the acoustic guitar and a brief session of chants and speaking in tongues from Praize. Here, the unique, evidently hoarse voice of Praize sings about the might, faithfulness, and power of God that he has seen. He sings spontaneously until the voice of Nigerian Gospel artiste, Moses Bliss, sprouts from the background and takes over the rendition.
“God is Good” starts with subtle piano chords, followed by the resonating sound of a Mandarin harp, and afterwards the voice of Praize declaring that God’s goodness endures from generation to generation. The brevity of the song makes it easy for listeners to memorise the lyrics. The voice of Nigerian Gospel artiste, Nathaniel Bassey, is ushered in with a modulation, giving the song an obvious facelift.
“I Have Zoe” is an eclectic song that runs over varieties of styles, beats, and tempos from the intro through the entire song. The intro contains soft piano chords followed by an outburst of guitar percussions, laced with subtle piano chords and a striking introduction of drum work. Here, Praize sings of the life of God that he possesses. He affirms that the life incorporates victory, and so much more. In the line that says, “I have Zoe, I cannot be defeated, I have Zoe, I cannot lose,” Praize establishes that the life of God conditions him for perpetual victory. Praize features Nigerian Gospel artiste, Dunsin Oyekan, in this track. The similarities in their voice texture and energy add to the seeming metallicity of the song.
In “Great God,” Praize sings about the greatness of God. This song is lively and melodious. The instrumental is concentrated with sublime sound from the snare drum, the piano, and the bass guitar. The lyrics come in fine drops of praises to God for his faithfulness, wonderful works, and greatness. Well-known Nigerian Gospel artiste, Sinach, is featured.
“How Great You Are” starts with a powerful but short-lived session of praise echoes by Praize, running smoothly over the voice of Nigerian Gospel singer, Prosper Ochimana, in the background. Embellished with staccato breaks and a crescendo effect, the song can be said to have a rejuvenating effect on listeners’ spirit. The lyrics speak of God’s greatness, abilities and never-changing position as God. The tempo is heightened as Ochimana runs over the song, and ended with a brief moment of speaking in tongues.
“My God, My Love” is a song of exaltation. Here, Praize sings of God’s unchanging nature. The lyrics exalt God above everything that exists. In the line that says, “you are the one who satisfies my soul, the one that will never let me go,” Praize affirms that God’s love is the surest there is. Popular Nigerian Gospel singer, Ada Ehi, is featured.
With an intro that contains an audible blend of the shekere and the conga drum, “Halle” is a mix of Afrobeats that speaks of God’s strength and power. Infusing Igbo renditions in-between the song gives the entire production a taste of what an African song really feels like. Known for her awe-striking Igbo chants and renditions, Nigerian Gospel sensation, Chioma Jesus, adds a new height of sonority to the song.
“Talk and Do” starts with the sound of a flute and a sudden outburst of a disconnected instrumental. Being the shortest track on The Assignment, the song comes with brevity of lyrics, invariably enhancing listeners’ ability to memorise them in a short space of time. Here, Praize speaks of God’s ability to perform what his Word says.
“Big God” is a fusion of three unique vocal productions and styles by Praize, Buchi and Agent Synpa. The song comes with a consistently fast tempo from start to finish and speaks of the greatness of God’s power, and his abilities. He affirms God as the matchless creator that created the whole universe.
“Oh Sing” can be said to be the most danceable song on this album. It tilts towards Afrobeats. Praize, alongside Gospel singer, Eben, does simultaneous sessions of ad-libbing and private sessions of soloing. The song is all about God’s praise with a chorus of a single word, “hallelujah.”
Praize shows on The Assignment that the duty of the believer is to praise and worship God. Every track on the album is adorned with lyrics of adoration to God. Just like other Nigerian Gospel artistes such as Okey Sokey, Victoria Orenze, Chris Morgan, etc., have dropped soul-clenching albums, tilted towards the praises of God, as 2022 draws its curtains, The Assignment resonates almost the same message, but with different words. Speaking about this album, Praize revealed that it was carefully and spiritually put together to bless the body of God. The entire album is a package of great styles and hard work. The patterns and progressions speak volumes of the expertise of Praize in writing good songs and adding good rhythm.
For a song to be termed as good, there must be deliberate attempts towards ensuring that the beat, vocal production, lyrics, and arrangements, are done well. All of these were, obviously, done well on this album, except for the sudden, poorly-done switching in the intro of “Talk and Do” that nearly hampered its beauty. The sound of the flute at the beginning of the track was also unnecessary. The sound did not blend properly with the sudden outburst that followed. Fortunately, it didn’t continue into the song.
The Assignment is sure to stir up the atmosphere of thanksgiving in the mind of listeners.
Track listing – 2
Lyricism – 1
Vocal production – 2
Sound Production 2
Rating – 7/10
John Augustina is a writer, a journalist, a singer, loves people and currently writes for Afrocritik. You can connect with her on Facebook @John Tina and Instagram @johntina_tina.