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Naija’s Listening E.A.R. (Essential Album Rating)

A strong review of Naija albums
27/03/2010 | Oyebowale ‘oyeakd’ Akideinde http://vocaldrops.blogspot.com/

GENRE: Hip Hop

LABEL: Redeye Muzik
Year of release: 2010

1. Will.i.am (Black Eye Peas) intro

2. We at it again
3. So Fly
4. Badman ft A1
5. Black Rap Messiah
6. We Dey vex ft Tuface Idibia
7. My Life
8. Muzik Lives
9. Whut You want ft Mocheddah
10. Rhyme Tight
11. Okokomaiko
12. Thinking about you
13. Tears of Pain ft Ososensi
14. Top Eleven
15. Loke ft YQ & OD
16. Remember
17. Down ft Blaise, Kraft & Tha
18. Tales of The Pots
19. Love Jones
20. Taking Comedy Money
21. Soul to Keep
22. Death Blow pt 2

A name that is sure to feature on a list of 9ja’s Hip Hop’s underachievers is Mode Nine.
Much like fellow eMCees Terry Tha Rapman & OverDose, it’s not that his catalogue is riddled
with bad or below average tracks; rather, it’s the fact that Recording Labels keep screwing our
own Most Conscious MC up and his albums ends up failing to live up to the lyrical talent he
possesses. On Da Vinci Mode, he intends building on the success of his previous album
Paradigm Shift to finally become the Heavyweight MC Champion of Naija that everyone thinks
he should be.

After a very unclear album intro from Will I Am that ought to have been left out, 9ine jumps on
Kraft’s beats on “We At It Again” to showcase his well known art of story-telling. The 1st
opening lines – “Without the 160BPM tracks/I still defeated them wack rappers/Sending them back to
the Stone Age …” make me drop the remote and listen right to the end. It’s a good opening track.
“So Fly” sounds like a track from the 20th Century and might have been better if it was left out
all together.
“Badman” which features A1 is a classic and my favorite cut on the album, 9ine outdoes himself
on this track. This track has been in heavy rotation for months on DJs sets and I’m sure it won’t
slow down throughout 2010. 9ine enters into his usual MODE i.e. One DJ, One Mic, One MC
and lots of hardcore bars on “Black Rap Messiah”. He shows off his lyrical prowess - “ I need a
new conquest/ U’re a target, the bulls eye’s on your chest/The only time I failed a Polygraph test/was
when I said I wasn’t the Best/I tried to be modest/ But to be honest …” and ensures that this track will
surely satisfy his true Fans.

Teaming up with Tuface, Mode Nine brings his album to the masses with a cut like no other on
the current airplay. Backed by one of Kraft’s finest production to date, 9ine brings you “We Dey
Vex” with so many hot disses & punch-lines - “Ron Browz urself & jump out the window...” “Follow
me blindly like Stevie Wonder’s Twitter Page”. It is a hot track that mixes Hip-hop’s street
awareness with 9ine’s gift of braggadocios bars and the best part is that the track is Alaba

My remote goes into Skip Mode on tracks “My Life” and “Muzik Lives”. They are typical Mode
Nine tracks; sounds just like his earlier materials, although the Muzik Lives hook tends to grow
on you. Folks who liked Ja Rule's duets with female singers will enjoy the DJ Klem’s beat
driven track “Whut U Want”; Modey & Mocheddah do something special on this track.

Many Hip-hop fans for years have looked to Mode Nine as a savior of Naija’s Music. The
masterpiece of “Rhyme Tight” explains why. Wassbeats tight production coupled with
Notorious BIG’s lines from “Juicy” for the hook, goes ahead to create an exceptional album
cut. Modey does not disappoint and scorches the track so hard that Frank White himself would
have to approve. I’m just hoping all samples were cleared for this track as it has the potential for
International greatness. He then moves unto the next track and pays homage to the streets of

“Thinking about You” is a silky smooth vibe and showcases Modey touching on something
close to everyone's heart. “Tears Of Pain” featuring Ososensi follows a similar soulful smooth
route; 9ine drops his breezy rhymes so effortlessly. Modey then goes ahead to provide us with
his own list of the Greatest Super Eagles Players on “Top Eleven”

“Loke” is another outstanding track on the album and is already being heard heavily on the radio
waves. The track features YQ and OD and also has a very smooth feel to it. “Remember” takes
you down Memory lane in 9ja Hip Hop & 9ine’s own Musical Humble Beginnings. Track is
slightly above average.

“Down” showcases eMCees spitting at their Best! Blaise, Kraft, Modey & Tha Rapman drop
bars like they are in Cipher Booth at BET. Track should get your Head Bopping and Tha
Rapman kills all other MCs with his verse. It is very reminiscence to LL Cool J’s “4,3,2,1” track.
I did hate the “Thriller” laughter at the end though.

“Tales of the Pot” is also below the standards of the other tracks on this album and should have
been left out. The “Love Jones” hook is jacked from Method Man’s rap from Mary J. Blige’s “All
I Need” and even sounds like it; it is slightly above average. “Talking Comedy Money” is an okay
track which showcases Modey’s art of Yarn spinning and use of wise punch-lines as he takes
playful jabs at 9ja’s Comedians. “Soul To Keep” is a hardcore track that lacks the bite of his
earlier classics. “Death Blow Part 2” does not continue from where Part 1 left off; but simply
brings the album to a conclusion.

After listening to this album, it becomes evident that with each release, Mode Nine is getting
closer and closer to mastering his craftsmanship of storytelling for the general populace. This is
the first album of 9ine in which listeners really get the feeling that he is evolving, still full of
originality, with the wisdom of a veteran coupled with the punch-lines and disses that has been
a staple in his music over the years. Armed with many talented Producers, Da Vinci Mode may
not be masterpiece Modey set out for, but when Hip Hop Heads look back upon his
discography, this album will be the one that discourages any ideas that Mode Nine is incapable
of releasing an album which truly reflects his lyrical brilliance.

Outstanding Tracks: Rhyme Tight, Badman, Loke, Down, We Dey Vex, Thinking About You
Disappointing Tracks: Soul To Keep, Tales of The Pot, So Fly, My Life

VOCAL DROPS Rating System

OPINION (Personal): 8/10
LYRICS: 9/10
RHYTHM: 7/10


Babatunde Olusegun aka Mode Nine has always kept it real for true Hip-Hop heads; always
choosing his own direction on how his music would be made never sacrificing Lyrical intent for
Alaba’s quick selling gimmicks. The effect has been one of the most talented MCs to ever grace
this foreign culture being held to an unwavering scrutiny that would break most cats. However
Mode Nine defies the old adage - you can't please them all. On Da Vinci Mode, it is now
obvious Mode Nine doesn't conform to traditional thinking, which would explain why he has
gone and pleased nearly everyone - Hardcore Hip-hop Heads & the rest (Alaba Commercial

This album MAKES THE iPOD.