Dami Ajayi Reviews ‘Stories That Touch’ by Falz
Falz, the Bahd guy, amongst many other things including comedian, Brother Taju, spotting eyeglasses without lenses, has been garnering attention since the release of his breakthrough album last year.
Characterising himself as a ‘Wazap Guy’, his debut album was more about marking presence than pushing art. With 20 tracks plus, he was simply begging to be noticed and noticed he was, but as a jester, as TJ, his alter ego, that exaggerated Yoruba guy who strives for a cool status while imposing laughter with his peculiar linguistic phonations.
Falz, lawyer and son of prominent Human Rights Lawyer, Femi Falana, knows the politics of visibility hinged on being memorable. Brother Taju is memorable, most especially on account of the viral video skit, Ello Bae. Falz’s brand comes doubly packed with his funny side.
Whilst being extravagantly funny can lead to not being taken seriously, Falz clearly knows the game he is playing. Stories That Touch, his sophomore effort, coming on the heels of his fairly well-received falst album, features less of Brother Taju.
That Brother Taju enjoys just a cameo appearance on only one skit on this album doesn’t mean that humour is lost. Falz’s rap technique hinges deliberately on humour, code-mixing and switching, hilarious descriptions, a fuji lilt, some self-deprecation as well as the signature egotism peculiar to hip hop.
With eleven tracks—a significant majority— produced by Sess, Stories That Touch kicks off with “Kabiyesi” featuring newcomer Oyinkansola. Weaving royal panegyrics with humourous descriptions of self layered over a talking drum, Falz alludes to a musical throne. “Soft Work” follows with groovy percussive patterns to which Falz fluxes effortlessly over.
If Olamide’s claim to popularity is from his mastery of the Yoruba language, Falz comes with the chill of affluence and works up his rhyme to his signature sound. Clearly there are chances that he might just be as prolific.
On “My People”, he bares Afrobeat influences, partly attributed to the song’s beat production as well as his lyrical description of economic hustling.
Influences of early Nollywood comes to fore on “Karashika” and its remix. The original features Phyno, that Igbo-speaking rap maestro/messiah, and Chigurl, of the MI “Monkey Banana” fame.
Karashika, a name of a Nollywood witch, rises to the duty of rinsing the mystery out of the term “Queen of the Coast”, making it a contemporary metaphor. The remix, featuring M.I & ShowDemCamp, measures up evenly to the original.
Simi of “Jamb Question” fame delivers on “Soldier”, a second duet with Falz. Soft and slow-tempo, “Soldier” is a metaphor, for fleeting love affiliations. That nuanced local metaphors of the soldier and barrack relationship is used to describe no strings attached relationships is one of the victories of Stories That Touch.
Whilst Yemi Alade is brilliantly African on “Soupe”, Shaydee doesn’t beam as much. Reminisce on “Clap” is as obsessed with sexual prowess as one will expect of Lil Kesh’s older brother.
“Time Difference” features Sess, Falz’s house producer, and yet it is a tepid love song about a long-distance romance that thrives by digital means. “Celebrity Girlfriend” has Reekado Banks doing a hook on prominent divas Falz is interested in. It echoes Jayz’s “Girls Girls Girls” as well as D’Banj’s “Oliver Twist”.
“Chardonnay Music” reflects jazz influences whilst “Kawosoke” lapses into the dominant Nigerian sound of jumping. “Love You Pass” features Bez’s vocals in an almost mawkish love song and there is “Ello Bae”, a bonus track sprouting from the phenomenally famous video skits.
Falz’s second album, less than a minute shy of one hour in duration, leaves a remarkable impression which is serious and humorous in equal parts. Clearly, one comes away from a first—second and third—listen, touched.