Mayor Of Lagos. That’s the new marketing tactic to sell Mayorkun. What started as a play on the singer’s name has become a title of some sort. A declaration of his dominance in his space. An acknowledgment of his shine.
Mayorkun’s artistry is irregular. He knows how to make music. He was signed by Davido because of his ability on the keyboard and an interesting vocal delivery. But in the run-up to this album, we have had very little of that. Mayorkun’s strategy was very simple; he looked at what’s hot, and made his versions of them, flogging them out as singles. They worked like a charm. The efficacy of that strategy is why Mayorkun exists as a star. It worked like magic.
But every wave eventually hits the shore and breaks up. Good things end. Music is dynamic, and sounds don’t maintain a form forever. Every great rider knows when to jump off. Mayorkun knows this. That’s why news of a full-length album from the singer was looked at with mild trepidation from his fans. While hit-making is a skill that he has mastered, the depth and scope of his artistry appeared a little light. Will he be found out? Is he a fraud? Does the young DMW luminary possess the range and necessary skill to bring together a decent body of work?
“Mayor of Lagos” LP packs all the answers. With just over a runtime of 44 minutes and 14 tracks, Mayorkun for the first time attempts to show the world the bigger picture, one that carries his spirit and ignores the creative red tape that is necessary for big singles to become reality.
How does he fare?
Not bad, quite good actually, if you keep your expectations normal and your hearts open. His mum opens the project with a prayer for her son “Mayowa.” It comes right at the end of the candid intro, which eases into a victory lap with each time he calls himself the Lasgidi’s mayor. Much of the project reads like what you would expect. Drum-driven pop tracks, with a huge focus on sound, rather than lyrical dexterity. Sarkodie and Patoranking give assists where they are called on for ‘Jonze me’ and ‘Mofo’. While D’banj throws up his faux-rap cards on ‘Oshepete’. Elsewhere, ‘Red handed’ becomes a family affair for Peruzzi, Dremo and Yonda. They hold hands, join voices and lyrics to create a harmonic cut.
This album is not pretentious. Mayorkun knows the sound spectrum along which he is allowed to pick and choose. He sticks to it. He cannot come and die. There are very few big moments, and experimentation is almost non-existent. In its place though, is a track-by-track insistence on turn-up as an end in itself. Except for ‘Drama Queen’, a sharp turn from everything he’s ever made. There’s near-comical storytelling embedded in the verses. They set you up for the satisfying hook, which consists of just one word: “Olosho,” which translates from Yoruba and into English as “Prostitute.”
“Mayor of Lagos,” has very little low points. But much of the music here rewards multiple listens. If you stick long enough in there, you will find beauty in new places. As you demand entertainment from this LP, it also responds with its requirements. It asks for patience, understanding, and a lot of dancing. After all, leadership isn’t a one-way breeze and this Mayor is running his first office.