To Cry & Bounce marks a significant milestone in Bouff’s artistic journey, showcasing his growth and maturation in his brief stint in the music scene. Its tracks, while juxtaposed between self-belief and indulgence, stack up as one of his best EPs.
By Emmanuel Okoro
The gospel of Afrobeats continues its exponential spread beyond the African continent, slinking into every nook and cranny of the earth. While West African artistes have been at the forefront of championing this cause, both homegrown and acts overseas are contributing to its expansive reach. Amongst these international ambassadors is the talented Nigerian-Canadian rapper, singer, and music producer Bouff, making a return to the music scene with his latest extended play, To Cry & Bounce, which he nicknames “2CB”.
Raised in the Middle East, Bouff has always had a keen ear for distinct sounds and was inspired by the music that surrounded him. In 2020, he burst into the scene with his debut single, “You Fine”, treating audiences to a catchy blend of contemporary African elements and Western influences. He shortly followed it with “Bombastic” and “Callin’”, both of which continued to showcase his versatility as an artiste. In 2021, he went on to release his debut EP, Summer Nights Interlude, a project that caused a sensation among fans.
Building on the success of Summer Night Interlude, he released his sophomore EP, Best Out West, in 2022, which established him as a promising artiste to look out for. As 2023 rolled by, Bouff continued to treat audiences to his unique range with singles like “Ozimba”, “Jiggaban”, and “Matta”, demonstrating his growth and dedication to push the confines of his craft. To Cry & Bounce sees Bouff attain a state of sonic maturation and versatility as he approaches each track with brute cadence and artistic dexterity.
The project, devoid of any features, opens with “Bound to Blow”, a stripped-down composition featuring soft piano chords that instantly create an introspective atmosphere. Here, he reflects on his journey and how tumultuous that journey has been. Lines like “Though I walk with gun, but in God I trust/ I don put my faith and my trust in men and they led me astray” reveal the depth of his struggles. The track progresses into an upbeat sonic atmosphere over a fusion of log drums and shakers. “Bound to Blow” encapsulates the core theme of To Cry & Bounce, which is that of seeking positivity and happiness after experiencing sadness.
The Deji Toki & Bouff-produced “Bouff Daddy” is a sensational blend of commentary and self-expression on the often debauched aspects of fame. Set against a groovy Amapiano tune, the song features mild log drums and busy basslines. This track sees Bouff remarking on his fortune and the attention it brings.
Lines like “And we do things a little different now/ We walk with God on our side and the stick on the other” reveals his street-smart approach to navigating the complexities of his newfound lifestyle. Amidst these reflections, Bouff dabbles into hedonism as he sings about his sexual escapades.
To Cry & Bounce dynamically shifts as electro-guitar strings and mid-tempo drums introduce the next track, “Shorty From Toronto”. Within this ethereal composition, Bouff’s voice becomes a vessel for desire and longing as he delves into a passionate narrative.
His lyrics not only serenade a lover, but vividly recount a previous sexual encounter between them. These lines, “What will it take to leave the party? Party right now/ I wanna rock up on your body, body all night”, carry an undercurrent of urgency and yearning, creating a sense of immediate desire. The lyricism, combined with its top-notch production from CERTIBEATS and PxKU, make “Shorty From Toronto” the EP’s best selection.
“Go Low”, one of the extended play’s lead singles, makes a compelling entrance next. Produced by Jola Beats and Bouff, this track showcases a different facet of Bouff’s artistry as he doubles down on the themes of hedonism with flair and depth. His lyricism also exudes confidence and he takes on a more provocative tone as he commands his lover to “go low” while providing tantalising hints of what lies ahead, between the sheets.
The penultimate track, “Still Him”, serves as a poignant moment in To Cry & Bounce. Over a mix of mild drum rolls, faint chords and basslines, Bouff creates a retrospective atmosphere that invites listeners into his experiences.
His lyrics emphasise his resilience and determination to succeed in the face of adversity. Lines like “And I got angels all around me, keep me safe and sound/ So when I crashed outta di beamer, knew I would be fine” reflects some of the dreadful challenges he faced in the past. The track also offers an insight into his personal growth and the strength he has drawn, reminding listeners that he is still the same person despite the trials he has faced.
The project ends with “Jiggaban”, a track which serves as a dynamic closing statement. Here, he seamlessly fuses Afrobeats and Amapiano elements. Through his lyrics, he talks about how he faces each situation with swagger and self-assuredness. As if to make that clear, he croons, “They praying that I fall off but I can never fall off/ I get head coconut e strong, I no dey fear any man at all”. “Jiggaban” is a celebratory track that allows Bouff to showcase his prowess as an artiste, and his unapologetic self-belief.
To Cry & Bounce marks a significant milestone in Bouff’s artistic journey, showcasing his growth and maturation in his brief stint in the music scene. The tracks, while juxtaposed between self-belief and indulgence, stack up as one of his best EPs. The production on each track complements Bouff’s lyricism, creating a cohesive backdrop for the themes explored in the project.
One of its obvious drawbacks is Bouff’s intentional (or perhaps unintentional) choice of going solo throughout the project, a habit he has maintained in previous works. While opting for a solo approach can maintain purity of expression, well-chosen collaborations can improve the depth and ingenuity of the themes explored. The omission of featured artistes on To Cry & Bounce may have left untapped potential in conveying its thematic intricacies.
Lyricism – 1.3
Tracklisting – 1.4
Sound Engineering – 1.4
Vocalisation – 1.3
Listening Experience – 1.2
Rating – 6.6/10
Emmanuel ‘Waziri’ Okoro is a content writer and journo with an insatiable knack for music and pop culture. When he’s not writing, you will find him arguing why Arsenal FC is the best football club in the multiverse. Connect with him on Twitter, Instagram, and Threads: @BughiLorde