Four years after the release of his debut album Anytime Soon, Ajebutter 22 has dropped the much anticipated, What Happens in Lagos. Singles like Bad Gang, Lagos Big Boy and Ghana Bounce gave us a taste of the album but, after a couple of listens, it’s clear that this album is a much bigger indicator of Ajebutter’s growth as an artist and creator.
The album starts off with “Good Place to Start” featuring Mystro and poetry by Koromone. This song definitely frames the theme of the project; from the poetry that flows throughout the album to his musing on runs girls, economic inequality and everything in between.
“They call me Butter cause I have the best bread”
“4 a.m” reminded me that Dremo has bars for days and deserves to blow on another level (but that’s a story for another day). “Dollar ti Won” is possibly the most thoughtful song on the album. The production is excellent and the choice of backing vocals is perfect. It’s always impressive when a rapper can go into detail about their personal life with bars about insecurity and struggle but keep the listener attached with a relatable theme e.g the ever rising dollar rate.
“Dollar ti won, I put a rocket on my back like Olajuwon.”
This album also reminded me that Ajebutter is arguably the best in the game when it comes to utilizing features. I received my entire life from “We are Bad Boys” featuring M.I and ‘Anything for the Boys” ft Odunsi. “Anything for the Boys” might be my favourite song off the album because it combines both artists’ vibes so seamlessly. This album reminded me that when Nigerian artists take risks, beautiful things happen. “Yoruba Boys Trilogy” was pretty unique in it’s production and formation but I loved that he took a risk. The trilogy idea also meshed their energies really well.
“Word on road, you like Yoruba Boys” (I need this on a shirt tbh)
This album reminded me that, if Ajebutter and Studio Magic ever part ways, I will shed real-life tears. The choice of samples and production on “Biggie Man”, “We are Bad Boys” and “Rich Friends” were a testament to how well Ajebutter and Studio Magic work together. Blending poetry and music can run the risk of forced but, with this project, it was perfectly placed. This album also reminded me that Ajebutter is an incredibly relatable artist. Songs like “Happy Ending” (which reminds me of the equally triggering “Hard for Me”) sound like they were written for girls just like me. “Ghana Bounce” is my guilty pleasure (wishful thinking perhaps) and, if I had a theme song, I’m convinced it would be “Lagos Big Boy”. He encompasses the millennial Lagosian spirit.
“They want to Threaten with lions and tigers and bears. Emi n Jazmine Sullivan”
As much as I enjoyed this album, it wasn’t without its faults. For one, why is Bad Gang on this album? I understand that it was a huge hit but I don’t think it worked with the overall vibe of the album. Another issue I had was the constant re-iteration of “Wayward girls”, “runs girls”, “bad gang”and any other phrase you could think of to describe girls living on the wild side of life. By the end, it seemed a little played out and stuck out from the introspective nature of the rest of the album. That being said, this project showed a lot of creative growth and songs that were definitely a breath of fresh air. As an artist, Ajebutter took a lot of risks and gave us personal narratives as well as an album that talks about the wild, fun, problematic jungle that is Lagos.