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No Longer At Ease
A winning mix of soul, hip-hop and reggae, Nneka has a catchy second album
By now you’d have to be sleeping under a rock not to have heard the worldwide hit ‘Heartbeat‘ from Nneka. But far from a one hit wonder with this her second album she has returned with a breathtaking mark of quality.
Mixing English, pigeon English, Yoruba and Igbo languages, Nneka uses catchy syllables to weave out her feelings of plight for Nigerians. But in particular those from the Delta State (Suffri, Niger Delta) – the dominant subject matter of the album.
Hearing the strong ‘Streets Lack Love’ she’s not afraid to call out those she deems responsible for Nigeria’s ills, a bravery we applaud. Yet her ability to balance the negativity by offering hope through songs like the uplifting ‘Kangpe’ and ‘From Africa 2 U’ are the real key to her charm and musical beauty.
Every so often Nneka surprises by switching up her flow. Like on the old skool Hip Hop/Trip-Hop intonation of ‘Halfcast’ she unrestrained bares her soul by rapping about how she wants to be seen as a Nigerian, not half black or half white, just belonging. This change in flow makes another appearance on ‘Running Away’ where Nneka goes sensual on us to express her love for music. More evidence of her versatility is heard on the reggae vibes of ‘Something To Say’ while ‘Focus’ has a rock edge.
In short, No Longer At Ease is a truly five star album with a brilliant blend of Hip Hop, Soul and conscious lyrics. Her Passion for life and the defence of those in need stringed with beautiful harmonies and catchy African inspired rhythms makes her music all the more important without the political fatigue.
If Fela Kuti and Ken Saro-Wiwa had a child together, Nneka would be that child.
Words Chinwe Ojielo