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Del B's Aphrodisiac is a collection of vibey songs

These songs are careful picks from what is certainly a large vault of unreleased bangers. Therefore, you’d expect some level of variety, more representation.

Producer albums are becoming increasingly common. Among these set of musicians who’ve long defined the sound of a generation, there appears to be a conscientious agreement, a need to wield more control over the music they make, basically.

Following this trend, Del B, who’s had his name tagged to some of the biggest hits in the continent in the past five years or so, releases his debut project, a mixtape, Aphrodisiac. It is no strange choice for a title for a contemporary Afro Pop great – sex is basically sold everywhere. Melodies are created, and that part of love is amplified usually by a singer.

A turn away from the trend happens however when Del B decides to showcase his singing muscle; he doesn’t just feature artistes, he features himself.

The project begins with a duet featuring Seyi Shay, probably the most sensual of them all. The production is laid back, with subtle touches of bass synth. On “Tattoo”, he features Mr Eazi and Davido. Hear Del B sing “anything I do, I dey think of you” and be convinced of his talent to set a mood with a few words. The features settle; Mr Eazi takes a voice-over role, his trademark voice taking up the function as a springboard for Davido and Del B’s inputs.

Chocolate City’s Dice Ailes comes in for “080”, a title which brings to mind his classic “Telephone”. With that song, he seemed destined for the stars but where he is now, he will make do. Still an influential artiste in every right; his sound is his and his alone and on this track, that Urban Pop vibe is dominant.

The mixtape gets its first break by way of an interlude. The Bam Bam driven “Her” is delivered on the soft carriage of a piano; the seemingly lifting a veil to reveal what could be the beginning of a concept.

Consider, a sonic bridge of some sorts between the genres of Afro Pop and Highlife is at the middle of two solo efforts by Del B. All three songs seem to prove Del B’s remarkable talent for a “DIY” beat – it is top tier production which, in reverence to popular Nigerian street phrase, “finish work”.

Mr. Eazi features for the second time on “Pause”, a fun song soundtracked by enthusiastic drums. His role is rightly second place with Del B in top form.

On “PSA” (Public Service Announcement), media personality Moet Abebe enunciates the mantra of “charm not harm” mentioned on “Her”. For all the sultry of the mixtape cover and the suggestiveness of its title, the creator seems to journey along the safe lines of consent.

Street Hop phenomenon CDQ features on “Tylenol”, his trademark razz delivery tempered by the production which is as addictive as the drug from which the track is titled. Remarkably, the song seems like a nod to the Zanku craze of the day and in between a faster beat and a phone call, and Zlatan would have made this one a certified hit.

“Die for Yuh Whine”, which brings the mixtape to an end is serenaded by the enigmatic duo of Runtown and Timaya. The vocals of each three artistes wrap themselves comfortably around the bouncy drum dominated beat, but it is Timaya’s which comes off as instantly recognizable. It is his turf after all. As a closer, it isn’t head scratching to see how well it fits into the narrative.  

Del B is a man of surprises. He’s put a voice to the name tag and what a pleasant one it is ! Considering the two interlude/tracks on consent and sexual harassment, he comes across as a ‘woke’ artiste.

These songs are careful picks from what is certainly a large vault of unreleased bangers. Therefore, you’d expect some level of variety, more representation. Good advice would have come from Sess, who, last year, put out Omo Muda. There were rappers on that, Odunsi of the Alté fame, and your typical hitmakers.

For Del B, the question is: why shine the light on a single movement (contemporary Afro Pop) and neglect others equally important ? On Aphrodisiac, we would have liked to know how a Johnny Drille’s song on sex would sound like.

Still, Aphrodisiac accomplishes what it set out to do. That is a production masterpiece and an introduction to Del B’s talent as a musician. This cumulatively ended up in the release of a project which will soon prove itself throughout the year as the ultimate playlist for a night out.

Stream the mixtape here.

Listen to Del B and other Afro Pop hitmakers in our One Dance playlist, on Spotify or Deezer.

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