Thy Kingdom Come brims with vibrant self-expression that hides tidbits of wit, raunch, and wisdom for the Yoruba speakers, but still allows non-Yoruba speakers to revel in the dynamism of the vocal performances and their intertwining dance with the boisterous instrumentals…
By Yinoluwa Olowofoyeku
If the saying “hustle doesn’t stop” was a person, it would be Seyi Vibez at this point. Ketu-born Balogun Afolabi Oluwaloseyi has come a long way since he broke through with “Chance” off his second studio album, the 2020’s Billion Dollar Baby. He has continued to garner massive grounds, establishing himself as a favourite on the streets. Yet, he seems unable to rest on his laurels.
As we crossed into the second half of the year, Seyi Vibez released Thy Kingdom Come, which is effectively his fifth project in just under nine months! The intention seems to be maintaining his spot in the public eye, continuously thrumming up his relevance. However, this means he runs the risk of oversaturating the market and diminishing his returns. Thankfully, to combat this, it appears that Thy Kingdom Come comprised two disparate sonic perspectives; his usual Amapiano-tinged, Fuji-flavoured Afro-Fusion sound, and the rest.
Thy Kingdom Come begins with “Man of the Year,” which is one of Seyi Vibez’s typical Amapiano adjacent songs, albeit with an emotional slant fitting of an intro. Rattling shakers and extremely soft pads set the tone for Seyi Vibez’s signature layered lamentations. Weeping strings and thumping log drums underscore the hope-filled chorus.
“Professor” ups the tempo as well as the Fuji-esque ante. Pacy shakers and a deep sub bass are the backdrop for a boisterous energetic delivery. Certain phrases are backed up by a lively lead guitar while log drums provide the main thrust of the chorus. There’s not much of a topical focus on the song, but it doesn’t seem necessary with a song this short and a vibe this contagious.
In fact, it’s quite incredible how Seyi Vibez is able to keep these songs from feeling repetitive considering how similar the elements and composition of some of these instrumentals are. Shakers, minimal melodic elements, barely present kick drums, the same snare samples and log drums, a couple of string solos and maybe a guitar lie here and there. Even the way his vocals are delivered and layered has become a staple at this point. Yet, somehow, he is able to imbibe most of the songs with their own distinct feel, and that is an impressive feat.
He proves this by adopting a mid tempo approach with short consistent lines on “Hushpuppi”, then switching to a brash, barely-sung Fuji-esque direction on “Migos.” “Flakky” is also soaked in Fuji inspirations, doing away with conventional chord progressions to focus on Seyi Vibez’s storytelling. The delivery is so strong that I believe the song would be just as engaging fully a cappella. The vocals are richly stacked with expressive backups and sharp electric guitars.
There’s also “Trumpet,” which pushes the envelope slightly, disregarding the typical shakers in most places, and introducing synthetic brass to keep in line with the title and ululations on the chorus. Even the application of the log drums here are extremely unique, having them stagger over each other to create a sort of bubbling effect.
And then we have “Loml” which features South African Ami Faku on an instrumental that hearkens slightly to her soulful variant of Amapiano, with gentle chords, soulful pianos and subtle drums, especially in the beginning. However, as the song goes on, it periodically devolves back to the typical, with wild log drums and brash snare interjections. This isn’t a negative, though, as the balance of both sides of the spectrum works well on this song.
While these songs see Seyi Vibez in his comfort zone doing what he has become very well known for, Thy Kingdom Comes throws a few plot twists into the mix with the songs that deviate wildly from this Amapiano angle. Interestingly enough, while Vibez himself is doing a lot of the same things stylistically, the different instrumentals frame his layered style in new lights.
“Karma” is our first taste of this on the project, beginning with smooth chords and a haunting vocal sample. Afroswing drums are introduced alongside a simple bassline, and Vibez demonstrates that his unique approach works across a spectrum of tones and styles.
This can be felt again on the Phyno-assisted “Highlife Interlude” with its cheery flutes and traditional percussion. The layering of Vibez’s vocals is different here, largely ignoring the high-pitched version in favour of reverb. Phyno’s feature is standard Phyno, delivering effortless bars in his native Igbo tongue with swagger and confidence.
Built on sparse emotive pianos, a subdued sub bass-line, somber vocal chop samples, and percussion-heavy Dancehall drums, “All the Time” rounds the album off on a surprisingly tender note. Over this unique feel, Vibez adopts different deliveries from Patois to R&B-adjacent passages of sung passes. Amidst a number of interpolations, he bears his heart in an interesting way that hints at untapped depth.
Seyi Vibez is an interesting act. He is going against conventional wisdom with the torrent of releases he is currently on, and yet, his stock continues to rise. This speaks to an artiste that has connected strongly with his core fanbase and has them clamouring for more constantly. And because there seems to be a clear understanding of what to expect, his fans are typically very satisfied with the product. This is easy to understand because what Seyi Vibez does is extremely unique and firmly captivating. The sameness of sonic elements is often a point of contention, but he compensates for this with what he does bring to the table. Without the need for vocal acrobatics, fancy songwriting or futuristic production, Seyi Vibez is able to deliver a pure energy and unadulterated expression.
This is evidenced all over Thy Kingdom Come. The project is brimming with vibrant self-expression that hides tidbits of wit, raunch, and wisdom for the Yoruba speakers; but still allows non-Yoruba speakers to revel in the dynamism of the vocal performances and their intertwining dance with the boisterous instrumentals. And for the naysayers who decry Seyi Vibez as a one-trick pony, Thy Kingdom Come offers a glimpse into the unexplored reaches of what his artistry can entail with the few songs that venture out into different genres. We have already seen Vibez flex his versatility on chart-topping songs as a featured act. My hope now is that on the next Seyi Vibez project (which we should expect in a couple months, at this rate) he is able to further explore the seeds laid here and push himself to new sonic and stylistic landscapes so that we get an even fuller picture of just who Seyi Vibez can be.
Lyricism – 1.3
Tracklisting – 1.4
Sound Engineering – 1.6
Vocalisation – 1.4
Listening Experience – 1.3
Rating – 7/10
Yinoluwa “Yinoluu” Olowofoyeku is a multi-disciplinary artist and creative who finds expression in various media.