SDC’s long-awaited Palmwine Music album tops off the trilogy and offers a space to reminisce on love and life while drinking palmwine…
By Hope Ibiale
The Nigerian musician duo rap group, Show Dem Camp (SDC), are accustomed to consistency and impact, and the reason is not far-fetched. Since their 2010 breakout, the rap duo have been consistently releasing records that have raised the bar in the rap scene and redefined the music industry. Their creativity and ability to transcend from delivering hardcore rap to sweet melodies on Palmwine Music has endeared them to many, and with the backing of their fans, SDC has become firmly etched in the Nigerian music hall of fame. To add to their impressive discography, the Nigerian musician duogroup released Palmwine Music 3, a lighthearted 17-track project that sees the artistes take off their socio-political commentary cloaks and put on a lighter and feel-good garment.
The rap duo which consists of Wale Davies, popularly known as Tec, and Olumide Ayeni, also known as Ghost, began their career when they met in an underground rap battle in the UK. The artistes met on opposing sides of the battlefield with both of them bearing the same stage name, “Golden Child.” They decided to join forces. That decision led to the birth of Show Dem Camp.
Released four years after the last edition of the Palmwine Music run, Palmwine Music 3 shows the duo’s storytelling abilities. With a lot of guest features, this project doesn’t position the rappers as tenants in their house but places them as musical landlords who gracefully accommodate guests like Tems, Moelogo, Ladipo, BOJ, alongside newcomers like Lojay, Victony, Bella Alubo and many others. Together, the artistes create an environment that allow everyone to cohabit freely without any disconnect in the project’s execution. It feels like one big festival on the streets of Lagos, and everyone is having the time of their lives.
Earmarked as the last edition of the Palmwine Music run, the artistes decided to end it with love. In a conversation with Apple Music, Tec said, “I think it is important that we end it with love, if this is where it ends, it’s important that this project is about love. I think it might open a realistic take on love and relationships. At the end of the day, love and relationships, whether family or love of friends or love of partner or love of children, I think it’s very important. I think what we were able to do with Palmwine Music is create a community where other artists come to shine, feel safe, and feel there’s a spotlight on them, and we grew it out together.”
The project begins with the guitarist, Nsikak David, and media personality, Folu Storms, introducing us to the project in “Intro.” This particular opening track follows the opening style for most of SDC’s projects like The Palmwine Express, Clone Wars Vol.5: The Algorhythm, and Clone Wars Vol. IV: These Buhari Times. All the opening tracks give listeners a glimpse of what to expect from the project, and in this case, it gives us the foundation upon which Palmwine Music 3 is built on.
Over Nsikak’s guitar, Folu says, “Now through the rest of the show we’re gonna be talking about all things concerning love, relationships. How it makes us, how it breaks us it’s not easy, it’s not easy being involved in a relationship, it’s not easy loving. But it’s something we all have to go through and I know when you live in a city like we do, Lagos, Éko for show, it can get real hard,” preparing our minds for what’s to come.
The Victony-assisted “Head over Heels” comes next, pulling us into Victony’s signature voice and Show Dem Camp’s storytelling. Together, they talk about their love interests, and individually, they paint everything that goes on when the lights go off. When Tec raps these lines, “No, it’s not perfection, more companionship, connection just enough space, just enough attention. An art form that keeps her on my line,” he doesn’t paint the unrealistic love stories people tell these days, but rather, he lets us in on how a real relationship works. Ghost and Tec bounce off each other’s stories, allowing Victony to do his thing.
Immediately “Live Life” began to play and Tems came in, I was immediately taken aback by her verse. Her delivery was bold and rides smoothly on the theme of the song. “Live Life” is one of the best songs off the project because of a few things: Tems’ delivery, the overall production of the song, SDC’s performance, and the song preaching about living life which stamps the excellence of the song. The pauses in the chorus are another commendable act as it allows the guitars to take over and simplifies the chorus making it easy to learn and stick in the listeners’ mind.
In their verses on this song they rap, “Back against the wind, time to win again/Music that is timeless,” Ghost and Tec don’t pass the chance to blow their horns. “First Time Caller (Skit)” will definitely leave listeners laughing out loud, but aside from the comedic effect, it also shows how a lack of trust can destroy a relationship. It brings back the conversation about whether it is a sign of cheating if your partner doesn’t allow you access their phone freely. However, does getting access to your partner’s phone curb cheating?
Oxlade introduces us to “Mine Alone.” Here, SDC and Oxlade join forces to sing about their love interests. Ghost and Tec’s verses are more laid-back, and they make real-life references to their love lives. Oxlade elevates this song. One thing that stands out across all the editions of Palmwine Music is the simplicity of the chorus. and that on “Mine Alone” doesn’t fall off the wagon. BOJ starts off “Kele” with these lines, “Came with a banger again (Again), came here to show them again (Again),” announcing his presence.
This isn’t the artiste’s first appearance on a Palmwine Music project, and his delivery on the song doesn’t come as a surprise but instead stamps his presence as a certified “palmwine tapper.” Ghost doesn’t pass off the opportunity to brag as he spits bars like, “That’s how we went from grass to grace, like Tuface with these classic tapes. Then we drew up a blueprint these new kids tagged and trace. Our legacies will outlast the greats/Call me Ghost Scorsese, pen arm Brady. Silverfox in the spot, cuff your lady ’Cause I’m a legend dawg can’t play me.”
“WYW” tells the story of what happens after a relationship ends. Everyone pretends to be apathetic to breakups, but this song paints what really goes on in the minds of the heartbroken. “I hope she cheats on you, I hope she makes a fool of you. I hope she carry belle for your friend, oh baby, I hope she, I hope she cheats on you,” Bella’s voice carries the right emotions and fits into the spiteful ex-lover perfectly. Ghost and Tec bounce off each other’s verse and sing about moving from their toxic relationships. “WYW” dives away from all the lovey-dovey songs and seeks to shine the light on the painful aftermath of a relationship. And although it might make listeners reminisce on their painful breakups, it is also predicted to be one of the standout tracks from the album.
Tim Lyre makes his debut on a Palmwine Music project with “Feel Something.” Saxophones draw us into the song, and when Tim starts the song, he brings balance. Ghost and Tec rap about different things, but Lyre’s contribution is the middle ground, a place where they both agree and bring their verses towards the same outcome, to want the same thing. In Tec’s verse, he raps about searching for passion and his want to feel something that completes him, while Ghost raps about a love interest. But at the end of the day, they both want to feel something and get something from the different things they pursue. Hence, Tim Lyre’s verse “Make me feel something, anything” ties it all together. “Freaky” comes in next, and like the theme of the song, the artistes are carefree with their words and express their desires freely. This is a seductive song and Mannywellz’s relaxed voice adds to the song’s sensuality.
The next song, “Your Love,” is a dancehall tune that follows the direction of “Freaky.” Lojay doesn’t fail to deliver, and the song is like a magnet that draws lovers to the dance floor. When “Rolling” comes on, TOBi stands out because of the way he sounds and how he carries his verse. Most times, featured artistes find it is difficult to leave a memory behind, but this doesn’t apply to TOBi, as the Nigerian-born, Canadian rapper was intentional with his delivery.
When he says, “Blood, sweat, and tears that I spill on this song I put my heart and my soul shining,” you know he means it. On this song, it sounds like the artistes appreciate their love interests for sticking with them through thick and thin. “Rolling” takes up different faces. On one hand, they sing about working tirelessly and appreciating the ones who stand by them, and on the other hand, Ghost and Tec sing about how far they have come as a group.
“Bad Design” almost falls in line with “WYW,” but the song spotlights the vulnerability of a man when he falls in love. WurlD and M.anifest jump on this song with Tec, and together they share tales of their sour relationships. The song sees the artistes questioning their lovers who didn’t put the effort into their relationship.
“Why would you do me so bad? Thought you were designed for, thought you’d stick around for me,” they say. Although the artists try to mask their insensitivity to their lovers and cower under masculinity, their emotions in the song show that they are hurt. On “Bad Breakup,” Folu Storms continues to take listeners on a ride with Palmwine Radio. Unlike the previous skit, callers share their heartbreak stories. These skits make the project more interesting and is a call for the inclusion of skits in other music projects.
Tay Iwar joins SDC on “Apollo” to reflect on the effect their lovers have on them. With references to eye infections and the movie, X-Men, Ghost and Tec deliver beautiful lines in honour of their lovers. When Tay Iwar sings, “In your eye, I can see a million reasons why got me feeling like I can touch the sky. You got me hypnotised,” you know that the love is real. Drums, saxophones and Nesta’s voice welcome listeners to “Old Flame.” Here, Nesta, LadiPoe and SDC reminisce about their ex-lovers who were mostly their first loves.
“I never stopped loving you, something in me won’t say goodbye, wanting you,” this part pushes the saying “You never forget your first love.” LadiPoe is no stranger to Palmwine Music, and his delivery shows why SDC keeps on featuring him on their projects. “Old Flame” ends with a skit that shows what the lack of trust does to relationships. The skit is both hurtful and hilarious.
Newcomer, Twelve XII, collaborates with SDC on “If It’s Love.” Here, Twelve XII chants “Love don’t cost a thing for you” over a track that centers on the sacrifices you make for the ones you love, from embracing commitment to opening up to your lover and paying attention to their needs. “No Regrets,” featuring Moelogo ends Palmwine Music 3 on a good note. Here, Ghost and Tec are grateful for how far they have come, their journey so far, the criticism they have faced, and how their parents have accepted their chosen careers.
When Moelogo sings, “No be your fault say you no get I understand say you are stressed. But ma se ba kora je (Don’t feel sad) try live life with no regrets,” he encourages others to continue to fight for their dreams and never give up. The saxophone ends the song and makes the song more inspirational. “No Regrets” is the perfect way to end the album because it is no easy feat for Show Dem Camp to have come this far to record this last edition of Palmwine Music.
In terms of production, Spax and Show Dem Camp are perfect examples of why artistes and producers need to work closely when making a project. Their chemistry on this project is one of the reasons Palmwine Music 3 is an amazing project. Their visions aligned, and Spax was able to deliver that distinctive “palmwine sound.”
The sonic cohesion helped heighten the experience of listening to the album and made the project gain some sort of unity. Palmwine Music 3 is a welcome addition to the trilogy, as the project paid attention to the chosen features, and each fitted their assigned songs and created a synergy. Some of the standout features include Bella Alubo, Tems, TOBi, Tim Lyre, and Lojay. Ghost and Tec deliver noteworthy flows, and their pen game is top-notch. In this project, their verses bounce off each other impressively; it’s almost like they are having a conversation.
In this album, Show Dem Camp displays more vulnerability, and it is no surprise since this is the last edition of the Palmwine Music. Additionally, it demonstrates SDC’s desire to give listeners an experience to reflect on as they take in some good palmwine music. Palmwine Music 3 is the perfect closure and brings listeners a step closer to the next phase of Show Dem Camp.
Lyricism – 2
Tracklisting – 1
Sound Engineering – 2
Vocalisation – 1
Listening Experience – 1.5
Rating – 7.5/10
Hope Ibiale is a writer and a book lover. She is currently a student of Communication and Language Arts at the University of Ibadan.