Lil Kesh finally bares his real feelings on losing the Headies Next Rated, check out what he said

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Editor’s note: Lil Kesh first wooed us with his hit, Shoki, which spun a dance movement. Then he followed with Gbese, Efejoku and his feature on his YBNL boss Olamide and Phyno’s Ladi. Despite not (controversially) winning the Next Rated award at the 2015 Headies, he has not let up; finally dropping his album YAGI (young and getting it), which contributor Udochukwu Ikwuagwu reviews in this piece. 


Album cover of Lil Kesh’s YAGI

If Marvellous Benjy were to chant his New Dance in this era, the lyrics would go thus: “Galala no dey do dem again, konto no dey sweet dem again o, makossa no rule dem again, shoki na de new dance wey dey reign.” 

Shoki has become a cross cultural phenomenon; we witnessed Chris Brown and Wizkid throwing the “baddest shoki” on stage, to Ciara being led into the movement by our own Kaffy on the streets of Lagos, to having Grammy-winning superstar Missy Elliott show what she and her crew got on Where They From, all these following Amber Rose’s brief stint at D’Banj’s gig. Credit should be given to the brain behind the rave- 21-year-old Lil Kesh.

Questions were asked following the conversion of shoki from a populist dance to a sub-genre of pop: Can Lil Kesh replicate that success without ending up a one-trick pony? Will his label have faith in him to drop his debut album? Can he break away from label boss Olamide’s shadows? To these queries Lil Kesh responds: YAGI! Lil Kesh and Olamide both share things in common: They are both Bariga-born, trilingual rappers- rap in Yoruba, pidgin English and English, co-signed by veteran emcee Terry tha Rapman, popularized dances. But, unlike Olamide, who has six albums to his name and stands as one of the country’s greatest rhymers in history, Lil Kesh has so much to prove, and Young And Getting It- his debut- becomes reference material.


The impressive YAGI can roughly be divided into two: introspective/autobiographical and dance/pop tunes. YAGI’s sequencing is also striking with the album beginning on the thoughtful note (F**k S**t Up) segueing into more sombre/almost retrospective songs (Ishe, Semilore) till the album gains steam (Cause Trouble) then dance peaks at the body contouring joint Efejoku, only to revert to introspection on Life of a Star and Igba Iponju. Lil Kesh’s YAGI makes a bold statement that he isn’t all noise and good for just salacious tracks as some quarters in the music industry have had him. He is the kind of artiste to eulogize his mother on dancehall Ishe, giving due credit to the women who prayed his story changes- aren’t mothers called god’s servants. He is also the kind of artiste to render praises to the spiritual being responsible for his growth on Semilore, a track with gospel inflection that could easily pass for a special number at a South-Western Pentecostal assembly. Though Semilore’s beat had a previous life as Pepenazi’s Illegal far be it to be considered illegitimate to sing heaven’s praises on any platform. Piano-driven Igba Iponju reminiscent of Wiz Khalifa’s See You Again, placed almost at the tail end details the rapper’s tale of frustration, travail and eventually ‘light at the end of the tunnel’. Still on reflection, Lil Kesh aka Mr. MeYAGI aka I No Well aka Omo Pastor calls up label mate Adekunle Gold trading stories on the curious life of a superstar on Avicii-sampled Life of a Star.

On the flip side, dance songs are strategically packed in the middle to up the tempo because after worship comes dance, no matter how far from religious they sound. Efejoku, which served as the first official single following successful releases of promotional singles Lyrically and Gbese, makes every reveler and DJ’s dreams. Although it’s a bit ironic when Lil Kesh transforms from the life of the party to a killjoy dissuading a certain aunty Janet from ‘turning up’ considering Ololade Keshinro as a clergy’s son shouldn’t be found in a club. Francis Odega’s timely quip, Young Jonn’s production and Viktoh’s Esan-peppered rap make sure an inebriated Mr. Kesh isn’t taken too seriously. Pastor’s kid then goes ahead to Cause Trouble both in the streets and dance floors with YCEE playing wingman and villain’s sidekick.


Like every villain trying to cause trouble, Lil Kesh has a mantra, and his is to F**k S**t Up which he sounds off from the jump. He was caught up in a New Year’s day controversy at the Headies though label boss Olamide partially addressed that on Abule Sowo, Lil Kesh had to throw in the famous skiborobo-skibo hat into the ring on F**k S**t Up: “Mo fun won gbedu back to back/Every single was a hit/F**k the award I don’t care…Se’ti gbo they say Kesh is our Next Rated/Fuck that, I kinda feel like I’m the Best Rated”.

Villains/superheroes often wear cloaks of deception- or cloak for action- so it’s not out of place when he transforms to Tajudeen Oyewole’s Abija Wara Bi Ekun persona and Fasasi Olabanke’s Dagunro identity for lyrical gymnastics Abija Wara featuring Phyno and Chinko Ekun. It’s not all testosterone-driven anthems as Lil Kesh shows his vulnerable side on Patoranking-assisted Is It Because I Love You and For You. Fresh off signing multimillion dollar Sony Music deal, HKN Gang leader Davido blesses Yaya Yoyo hoping the blessing flows to Olamide’s protégé—and shouldn’t it be said that Davido predicted Lil Kesh’s Next Rated win? Even Olamide prophesied Kesh’s win but, like the biblical adage, the prophet isn’t accepted by his own people.

The post Lil Kesh finally bares his real feelings on losing the Headies Next Rated, check out what he said appeared first on Nigeria News today & Breaking news | Read on NAIJ.COM.

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