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CULT by Paybac Iboro. A Chree Listen Review

Before I even start, I’ve actually had​ C​ULT​ on repeat since it dropped. Just couldn’t resist the chree joke. And if you don’t get it, listen to ‘The Boogeyman’ off last year’s​ A​lternate Ending​ ​(Album of the ye…nvm)

To be very honest, I only started r​ eally​ listening to PayBac in 2018. I’d bopped ​Face Off,?the first offering from ‘The Lost & Found’, but I did because I’m a huge Boogey fan. I remember liking his style, but for some reason I forgot all about him after it dropped (I’ve since apologized sha, bros no vex).

Then sometime in late 2018, Boogey dropped na EP with Charlie Xtreme Never Enough​. Had no idea Chx and PayBac also simultaneously dropped an EP too,​ ​Autopilot​ until I saw a retweet about it. I was so impressed after listening that I went and listened to​ T​he Biggest Tree​, and that was it. I was hooked.

Then one morning I’m heading to work, listening to ‘Flight Mode’ from Autopilot, and I look up to see PayBac sitting in the Keke with me. I already liked his style at this point — from his lyrical ability to his witty sense of humour, to his willingness to experiment with sounds, but what struck me from our conversation was how chill he is in real-life.

That made me a fan.

I really want to go into the creative thought behind his roll-out, how he baited us with Hey Jude, the perfect album title, the DOPE cover by Notovaie,​​The Iboro Report (this brilliant satirical show is going to blow up soon and/or get him arrested by the way), but this is a ​CULT​ album review. So at the risk of sounding like I’m dick-riding, I’ll just dive into the actual music instead.

In usual Chree-listen fashion, there are no fucking rules. And it’s going to be long. If you don’t like this, write your own. Word to Achebe.

Aguiyi Ironsi

Two seconds after this beat starts, you just know he’s about to spazz. It’s not just his flow, it’s what he’s saying. You CAN’T listen to this song in particular in one listen. Naaaah.

And I started speaking about the politicians

And they started dissing, man my heart broke”

I remember seeing the track title and being scared that dumb listeners would automatically turn it into a tribe thing without actually listening (as usual). But then, it’s common knowledge that​ A​guiyi Ironsi​ was literally dragged through the mud after his assassination, kinda how PayBac was dragged online for dissing Nigerian Senator Dino Melaye, for appearing in that national embarrassment of a​ m​usic video​.

But it’s gets funny when you bop Track 4 and 5.

“I pledge allegiance to the flags but/Never to none of these actors”

Same bro, same.

Boy Band

Only thing I’ll say is NOTHING in Nigeria sounds like this! Name names! I chreeple dare you! The beat, the Funkees sample. Props to LearnTheCreator.

By the way, I love how the hook of this song could be easily presented as evidence in court after he’s arrested for alleged cultism by illiterates who can’t fathom that the word ‘cult’ has different meanings. Google is your friend, people. It’s free.

NIGERIAN OAPS, PLAY THIS SHIT DAILY!

Glamour Girls

The ladies joint, title alluding to the OG Nollywood SlayMama flick. I love how each track so far has referenced or paid homage to our Nigerian Forefathers and Mamas.

Breath in breath out/Sit ups bring that breast out Squats bring that ass out/Fuck me till I tap out”

I know I’m not the only one who caught the Kanye ‘Workout Plan’ reference. I love the guitar on this beat. Crazy how a single instrument could add so much more meaning to the idea of a song. Shoutout to Liz Benson et al for this gem:

What you should be thinking about is how to make yourself rich. Once you become rich, you can buy yourself a husband.”

Visionary.

Nigeria Suk My Dik’

Catchy. Funny. Sad. Deep. One song.

The number of times I’ve had that exact intro convo with friends, who insist on bringing up Nigeria’s incessant problems as gist. Fam, I don’t want to talk about that shit. It’s depressing as fuck. Can we talk about something else???

I’m so sick and tired/Everyday complaining

The general still campaigning/Help me kill this pain man”

I see people checking out of Naija, and posting videos of their flights leaving with this song playing in the background lol. Bound to happen.

By the way for those in the back, he doesn’t mean this literally. It’s an expression. Again, Google is your friend.

Fuk A Politician

If Nigerians ever wake up, this would be the anthem of the revolution, for youth at least. This is it.

The juxtaposition of the ‘crimes’ youth are vilified for, with the real crimes our dumb Politicians commit every other day in the lyrics; the beat, the hook everything. Political Commentary at its finest. If only the big Nigerian artistes made more songs like this…if only. Props to Burna though. My only hope is this doesn’t birth a #FreePayBac trend. It seems like he already expects it.

Think I’m on to something/Think I found my mission

They might try to kill me/Only make me bigger”

Protect Paybac at all costs. And he highlights our problem with religion too

And fuck a damn Nigerian/Always sitting praying wishing

Jesus come and fix it/Don’t know what the fuck we thinking”

That’s the thing — many of us don’t think. And when you talk, you’re the devil.

One of the best songs of the album, because it hits home. It’s how we all feel. This is going to be MAAAAD during performances by the way!

Lupita

Forget about PayBac for a minute, BarelyAnyHook is a HUGE PROBLEM. Whaaat?! He ATE this. Not gonna lie, for a minute I went into that whole ‘you got murdered on your shit’ flawed e-criticism, but then I remembered something KXNG Crooked said, sometimes the art of the record is what matters. They’re both proven MCs, just enjoy the track, you fool.

(By the way, ‘Dope-Ah-Mean’, an unreleased tape by Paybac and Black Intelligence. LOL. If you know, you know. Don’t let ‘Boy Band’ fool you.)

“I been rocking shell toes I got ​chree​ stripes that’s Adidas” Lmao. This guy.

Afroskanking

After this album, it’s not fair to call PayBac a rapper anymore. C​heck the art​. I don’t even know how to describe this vibe — do I bop my head, flex on em or just sway to the beat. It just sounds…great. What genre is this?

I almost cried when I found out Boogey wasn’t on this track. It’s begging for him. It’s begging for a barfest remix.

Fun fact: I didn’t like it the first time I heard it. And that’s proof that One Listen reviews are fucking up Hip-hop, word to Cole.

Nana’s Interlude

So far, this might be my favorite song on the album excluding the singles and snippets (MY favourite, not THE best. Calm down). This beat is hypnotic, and Ria Sean has a beautiful voice.

I’m really curious as to who Nana is sha.

Masquerade

Eyyy, Eyyyyy, Eyyyyyyyy! IT’S LIT!!!

Dope beat, reminiscent of Fetty Wap’sTrap Queen’. I’d have loved it even more if the verses were a little more melodious, kinda like on some of Autopilot’s jams would have made it perfect. But hey, what do I know?

Next shit you say the last words of a dying man” ​Sheeesh.

Water Side

The Mami Wota Song 🤝 Mami Wota

Always great to see two dope artistes who push their art unconventionally, building bridges while the others burn em. Blaq smooth with it per usual.

I hear ShowDemCamp on this shit for some reason, Ghost’s voice in particular. Oooh yea…Water Side…Palmwine lol smh. This might trump Glamour Girls as the femmevibes joint.

This nigga really started this song screaming ‘Onyearaaaa oooooeeee’. Dead.

‘A Tree Grew In Lagos

Continuation of the tree motif from his last album, ‘The Biggest Tree’. Now with an ever-increasing Cult following, it’s a true metaphor for Paybac.

I don’t know how we could grow if we don’t know what change is

If you got a lotta goals u gotta always play for keeps”

Bubu sub. Caught that lol.

Had a little issue with the brevity, really wish this was longer. Soothing af.

Money In All My Pockets’

This beat is filthy. That piano loop and Jazzz’s soulful voice? Killed it. Funny how Paybac’s verse was full of Nigerian Dreams, when you deep it.

The fruits of all my labours/Created shade to lay in the sunset

Sunset up a hedge fund and it’s time for harvest”

By the way, who is Jazzz? She sounds Badu-esque, and her name is literally Jazzz with 3 Zs. Naija Rappers beware.

If money don’t buy you happy, money buy you shit that make you happy”

Word. And s/o to Pizzo, that was mad smooth. ​‘Papers tatted with ghosts’​ just sounds so much more poetic than ‘Dead Presidents’.

Nigerian Dream

First off, Cardi B, that was Zenith Bank road at Christmas. E say na Disney World LOL.

Many could miss the point of that Cardi intro at first, but all he sarcastically describes in detail is the life of the 1% at the top of the Naija foodchain, the corrupt lifestyle we’ve normalised in Nigeria. Who no go like get money for Nigeria, when everything here has a price?

Viveeyan highlights the underlying message in the chorus:

Criminal criminal criminal/Our conscience is feint it’s minimal The damage is so abysmal/We pray everyday

Still the devil has his way”

She didn’t lie. This joint echoes Burna’s Ye, but from a different angle. We call the name of God, but still sin anyway. We make money anyway, because honest work is a shame.

It’s a damn shame.

Activ8

Call it what you want. Interpret it how you like. A hustler’s anthem, a stoner joint, whatever. The real question is what choice do you have, when you consider the dark comedy that’s our reality in Nigeria right now?

Why you gotta make a living when you’d rather make a killing?

For Paybac, he’d rather ball till he passes away, like the late Samuel Okwaraji.

And that’s our dream, right? Who wan suffer?

CULT Chree listen review final thoughts.

One listen is enough to show you how experimental this album is, sonically. It’s a vast departure from the melancholy of ‘The Biggest Tree’, the high tempo of ‘Autopilot, and the pure lyricism ‘Alternate Ending’.

And that’s why I think ​CULT i​s Paybac Iboro’s best body of work yet.

So many artists sacrifice their art for what they think their fans want to hear. And that in itself is a paradox. How is art art when it isn’t true to you, the artist?

Paybac sounds like he thoroughly enjoyed making this album. Not many artistes have the balls to make scathing socio-political commentary a huge part of their album, much less make you think AND turn up to it.

But then not many artistes are Paybac Iboro.

And most importantly, my opinion doesn’t even matter. I’m amazed you even read this long-ass piece to begin with lol. Leave talk, what you really need to do is​ c​op the album​, bop at least chree times and form your own opinion.

Even if you be winch, you can’t possibly hate ALL the songs.

And even if you do, it doesn’t matter. Love it or don’t, nobody gives a fuck. We’ll all be dead in 50 — 60 years anyway. Maybe even sooner, cc Corona.

E go be.

By John Ebb for UrbanCentral, Tweets @johnXtreme

Holla at us via Twitter @TheUrbanCentral

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