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“Madam Dearest Pt.1” Review: DOTTi the Deity Delivers a Captivating Love Anthem

“Madam Dearest Pt.1” Review: DOTTi the Deity Delivers a Captivating Love Anthem

“Madam Dearest” Review: DOTTi the Deity Delivers a Captivating Love Anthem| Afrocritik

Armed with a bag filled with melodious stories, DOTTi creates an immersive project that unfolds as a cinematic love story where the audience is treated to a melodic storyline.

By Hope Ibiale

The mainstream may have heard about DOTTi the Deity through the 2022 hit song, but “Forever Sweet”, the Neo-folk artiste had already built a small community from his previous musical endeavours, including his appearance on the 2020 music competition, MTN Y’ello Music Star. His performance in the competition resulted in the show’s judges declaring him a star. Still, it wasn’t until “Forever Sweet” — a striking showcase of his talent — that the artiste began to seep into mainstream listeners’ consciousness. 

Two years later, DoTTi’s discography is bristling with a sophomore EP, For You Knew Me, and his recently released debut album, Madam Dearest Pt.1. Like his previous project, he draws inspiration from the sonic fabric of Yoruba-Folk music for his latest release. Across the 11-track projects, DOTTi collaborates with Nigerian artistes like Simi, Falz, PC Lapez, Wizard Chan, Vader the Wildcard, Reminisce, and trumpeter, Etuk Ubong. The project, an exquisite combination of Soul, Highlife, and Folk music, concisely documents a burgeoning love affair. DOTTi delivers a passionate performance that is reminiscent of the way artistes like Asa, Lagbaja, and Beautiful Nubia blend live music and fusion of sounds in their music. His Madam Dearest Pt.1 is a love letter to his lover; it is an album that thrives in its tight-knit sonic cohesion. 

“Madam Dearest” Review: DOTTi the Deity Delivers a Captivating Love Anthem | Afrocritik
Dotti the Deity

The familiar static sound that precedes a film opens up “Hello Sisi”, the first record on the album. Here, Wizard Chan joins DOTTi for a memorable performance. Both artistes woo their love interests with sweet words. The piano chords and DOTTi’s voice elevate the conversation-like singing that showcases the artiste’s storytelling prowess. When DOTTi sings, “Irunmole to man ko Blues” which translates to “the deity that sings Blues”, it immediately gets my attention because of its blend of humour and language. That line paints a picture of the local palm wine tapper wooing the daughter of the chief in a village square. From the first record, it is clear that Madam Dearest Pt.1 is a sincere love letter; it eulogises her best features and also chronicles their budding relationship. Wizard Chan is the perfect feature because his powerful vocals depict the enthusiasm of a man desperate to get the attention of a prospective lover, and the minimal production chops allow the story to shine. 

Etuk Obong joins DOTTi on “Balablu”, one of the standout tracks on the album. This is one record that mirrors DOTTi’s artistry and ability to move in different soundscapes. The song takes its sonic influence from Jazz, Afrobeat, and Folk music. The record’s upbeat tempo vibe signals the tension that builds up as the singer continues to convince his love interest to be with him. Due to the pain of heartbreak, his love interest has shut her heart off love, but he tries to convince her with words like “I’m different from balablu” — a reference ever so relevant in Nigerian pop culture and political landscape. 

The Highlife record, “Be My Darling” comes up next. There seems to be a combination of different variants of Highlife from different cultures on this track. When DOTTi leads the first verse, I can hear the same Highlife influences from the songs of King Sunny Ade and Ebenezer Obey. But the moment the featured artiste, PC Lapez hops on the record, I can hear the influences of Highlife music from artistes like Chief Osita Osadebe. While DOTTi’s performance brings in the lively and upbeat essence of Ade and Obey’s music, PC Lapez adds a layer of smooth, culturally rich sound that’s more aligned with Osadebe’s approach, offering a diverse yet harmonious Highlife experience. DOTTi has a particular vision for his songs and it is easily noticeable that he works hard with his collaborators to bring that vision to life. Apart from the obvious chemistry between the artistes, the twinkling guitar keys and drums are intoxicating.

“Madam Dearest” Review: DOTTi the Deity Delivers a Captivating Love Anthem| Afrocritik
Madam Dearest Pt. 1 tracklist

In the first three tracks on Madam Dearest Pt.1, DOTTi woos his love interest, but in “Big Shirt & Boxers”, he finally gets the girl. Here, DOTTi draws from a relatable experience and creates an enjoyable record. The song explores the female’s preference for wearing the clothing of their lovers. While the singer invites his lover to get comfortable in his clothing, the piece of clothing also represents how he intends to offer the world to his lover. Reminisce may not deliver the most memorable verse on the project, but his contributions add to the playful flair of “Big Shirt & Boxers”. 


One outstanding feature of Madam Dearest Pt.1 is the relatable and expansive songwriting. Each lyric is taken from a relatable life experience listeners may be familiar with, which increases the replay value. The album segues into “Sussana”, another love song where  DOTTi describes his love interest as the best medicine. For this record, the artiste dives into his knowledge of music and incorporates instrumentals like the talking drum and shekeres that are reminiscent of old Yoruba Folk music. He sings, “When my blood short, Orheptal no go work but if you give me your love everything go pure”, making reference to one of Nigeria’s top blood tonic brands.

The only interlude on the project, “Sinmilemi”, which translates to “Rely on me”, comes next. Once the song starts, my mind automatically remembers the Yoruba hymns I had to learn in my short time as an Anglican, because of the similar piano chords, lyrical depth, delivery, and slow tempo of the record. Here, the artiste wholeheartedly promises to be an ever-present support for his love interest. While the record might be moving, the mixing is not properly done. It sounds like a rehearsal of the original song that was added to the album. Once again, DOTTi’s musical influences are displayed, but this time, the beauty of the song is slightly buried underneath poor mixing. 

In “Ololufe Mi Owon”, DOTTi continues to be a preacher of love. The artiste praises his love interest over dreamy guitar strings, shakers, and mellow production. His enticing vocals mirror that of a lover who is utterly captivated by his beloved. “Ololufe Mi Owon” is a beautiful love song that would easily find its place on a list of the best Nigerian love songs. The eponymous track “Madam Dearest” opens up with guitar strings and DOTTi belting “Ekuro lalabaku ewa”. In the record, he recruits rapper, Falz for assistance. With “Madam Dearest”, both artistes write heartfelt love letters to their love interests, assuring their lovers of their unwavering affection.  Madam Dearest might be a fictional character, but DOTTi’s passionate delivery throughout the album makes it sound like a handwritten confession written specifically for a real-life lover.

“Madam Dearest” Review: DOTTi the Deity Delivers a Captivating Love Anthem| Afrocritik
Madam Dearest Pt. 1 cover art

“Forever Sweet” still ignites the same excitement from when I first heard the record. This time, DOTTi doesn’t render a solo performance, as Simi joins him on the record. Together, they shower praises on their love interests over the uptempo and groovy production. Simi’s vocals blend seamlessly with the song’s aesthetic, but her verse doesn’t add much to the overall record. 

In “Carry Me Go”, DOTTi delivers a soulful rendition. In the previous tracks, the artiste offered himself as a giver of love. This time, he asks his love interest to lift his spirit. Here, the singer is vulnerable and simply desires one thing; to be loved. He sings, “Hey sister, touch my soul when I am feeling all time low, don’t leave me on my own. Make you carry me go, carry me go”. 

A more comical version of “Madam Dearest” closes the album. Since the 11-track project is dedicated to this persona, it is a wise decision to wrap up the love story with another track dedicated to the character. Here, DOTTi flexes his vocals, while Vader the Wildcard embodies his comical character, Samo Agbero, and delivers a love letter to his lover. With lyrics like “You know you are my bomb, my B-O-M-B, meaning the bone of my bone”, Vader displays his ability to craft witty lyrics, ending Madam Dearest Pt. 1 on a good note.

Madam Dearest Pt. 1 is a beautiful body of work and a worthy debut album. Throughout the project, there is apparent cohesiveness in the themes, storytelling, and song production, which greatly impacts its replay value. With a runtime of 35 minutes, DOTTi has created a project that effectively showcases his vocal range, pristine penmanship, and storytelling prowess. While the mixing of “Sinmilemi” threatens to detract from the overall project, its impact remains mild and somewhat forgettable. This highlights the importance for artistes to meticulously attend to every aspect of their projects, including interludes. The features with Wizard Chan, PC Lapez, Etuk Ubong, and Vader the Wildcard’s comical contribution also present standout performances.

DOTTi’s vast knowledge of music is on display in this project, as he incorporates different forms of folk music and Highlife. This mixture of intoxicating sounds transforms the project into one that can easily resonate with the present, future, and past. The older generation might listen to a few tracks from the project and reminisce about nostalgic sounds from the 90s. The use of the Yoruba language might also attract the older generation to the project. The present generation will relate to the themes on the album and the infusion of modern-day events in songs like “Balablu” and “Big Shirt & Boxers”. Meanwhile, the future generation will likely play Madam Dearest Pt.1 and be impressed by the quality of the project.

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Armed with a bag filled with melodious stories, DOTTi creates an immersive project that unfolds as a cinematic love story where the audience is treated to a melodic storyline. In Madam Dearest Pt.1, DOTTi exudes confidence in his artistry; there is no doubt that the artiste is destined for greater things.

Lyricism – 1.4

Tracklisting – 1.3

Sound Engineering – 1.5

Vocalisation – 1.5

Listening Experience – 1.4

Rating – 7.1/10

Hope Ibiale is a writer and journalist. She has a keen interest in music, film, and literature. You can connect with Hope on X @hopeibiale and via email:

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