SO the other day, October 30th to be PRECISE marked the release of the début album by Nigerian POP artist Mo’Cheddah titled ‘Franchise Celebrity’ on the Knighthouse label imprint. I have been immersed in this album for the past three days and I must say that I am very impressed. OK on one hand, I suppose that might be a little biased assessment of the album because I have been anticipating listening to this album for the longest time that even if it sounded like s**t, I would probably give it some ratings BUT alas & thank God, ‘Franchise Celebrity’ doesn’t sound like s**t and on the other hand, my assessment is NOT biased even in the least bit.
You see, ‘Franchise Celebrity’ is 15 tracks of pure POP goodness from Nigerian Pop Royalty herself, Mo’Cheddah with large and exorbitant Afrobeat and Fuji infusions that work brilliantly (we will thank DJ Klem for that but later) and let’s get one thing out there very quickly, if you’re NOT remotely into Nigerian music then you probably will not be into this album. The second thing we should get out there is that there is NO point hating on this artist or her music or both because she’s doing what A LOT of Nigerian artists are failing miserably at doing! She is DOING her! YES, she doesn’t rap very well BUT she’s NOT claiming to be a rapper and YES, she doesn’t have the best voice BUT she’s NOT saying she’s a singer either! She’s not trying to fit into some generic box… I don’t know this artist but I envision she’s making music that she loves fullstop and she’s merging all these other genres to coincide with her Fuuji music and it’s working a huge treat!
I first heard of Mo’Cheddah as a rapper way back when and I remember seeing her on Nigezie Top 10 not long after that (I tried to youtube some footage for you but to no avail) and thinking ‘Nope this is NOT working’ and I bet her label were thinking the exact same thing because the next thing you know is Mo’Cheddah drops off the radar for a bit and then BOOM… She’s back with a new image, a new sound, a more comfortable sound and its working because let’s face it, she was never a Hip-Hop artist or a rapper! This right here is what she is, a flippin POP STAR so why are you gonna limit that? I gotta give it up to her label and the team behind her though because they worked hard with her in that re-vamp and now the ‘Mo’Cheddah’ brand is as STRONG as ever PLUS the music is enjoyably and that’s really like the added bonus because ‘Ade Public’ is buying into the brand nowadays, more so than the music!
Seeing as we’ve mentioned music, we might as well dive into the music on ‘Franchise Celebrity’ while we’re here. If you’re a avid listener of Nigerian music then you will already have heard the two lead singles off of Mo’ Cheddah’s debut album, ‘If You Want Me’ & ‘Ko Maa Roll’ as well as the collaboration with Chuddy K titled ‘Shampoo’
First with ‘If You Want Me’, any preconcieved notions about what or who you thought Mo’Cheddah as an artist was or should were clearly tossed outta the window. Granted some of the theatrics in that video were a bit over the top and some could say cringe-worthy at times BUT theatrics is part of the game surely (more so than being a good singer, some would say), just think Lady Gaga & Rihanna in the States, Cheryl Cole & Alesha Dixon in the UK and like she said, she ‘brought the swag to the game…’, what’s crazy is you’d be hard-pressed NOT to believe her (MO’ CHEDDAH DIVA! MO LENU)
Not even the shitty choreographed dancing in the video could take away from this song! It is a certified banger and before today, I hadn’t been able to stomach the choreography in the first half long enough to watch the video until the end and I love the Nigerian party scene at the end, very very nice one and #shoutout to Zara on her cameo tip in that video. Both Zara & Mo’Cheddah arguably have two of the best Nigerian songs of 2010 (TON BA RI MI, WON BERI).
I guess you can tell that I am very impressed with Mo ‘ Cheddah as an artist, as a brand and as whatever else she wants to be and ‘Franchise Celebrity’ fits into that category of Nigerian Music albums that I rate highly alongside début albums from D’Banj, Tuface & 9ice and by ‘Nigerian Music Albums‘, I mean albums or records that you pick up and can or will tell immediately that yes, this is Nigerian Music! Of course there’s the odd sprinkle of Hip-Hop and R&B music (there’s even a ballad) here and there but they stay only as sprinkles and if ever there was a modern Nigerian Pop sound (Pop as in Popular), ‘Franchise Celebrity’ would be it!
Seemingly I am starting to go off on a tangent here so I will try and get out of your hair soon but not without imploring you to go and purchase Mo’Cheddah’s ‘Franchise Celebrity’, if only to get your hands on a track titled ‘Free Worship Part 1’, your purchase would have been well worth the money BUT then there are other very enjoyable tracks on this album… From obviously the two lead singles we heard above to the very urban Nigerian dance tracks titled ‘Follow Follow’ and ‘What’s Your Fuuji’ to Mo’Cheddah’s foray into R&B ballad territory on ‘Maybe’ and her collaboration with WillyBang on the very ‘Lumidee – Never Leave You’ sampled track (even if DJ Klem tries to beg to differ. There are actually quite a few references to some US mainstream songs that you will notice as you listen & this might be my only criticism) titled ‘Best Friend’ to the almost ‘Hi-Life’ sounding track titled ‘No be Money’. Now I’m NO expert on Nigerian albums BUT any mainstream album that I can enjoy half of the tracks it features (bearing in mind that two out of the 15 tracks are skits as you would say) is definitely worth it’s weight in whatever currency.
I mention DJ Klem a couple of times in this piece and rightly so. Much of the album was produced by this man (12 out of the 15 tracks) and I just have to say that this man is a right beast on the production. The recent Red Bull Music Academy attendee has been experimenting with so much House and Electro music so far in 2010 that if I heard beforehand that he was at the helm of producing this album, I certainly would NOT expect what I’ve heard on ‘Franchise Celebrity’. Like I’ve mentioned earlier, it captures a ‘Nigerian Pop’ sound if ever there was one + it’s very Afrobeat & Fuuji influenced and I just wouldn’t expect that from DJ Klem but just the mere fact that he can switch up his styles and still make it work should be credited.
Is this worth your £7.99 or $9.99 (iTunes), I would say YES! Very Much SO! But as I said at the beginning, if Nigerian Music isn’t your cup of tea then maybe this is NOT for you BUT let me leave you with this right here, my favourite song on the album. I have literally had this one on repeat for ever and will definitely continue to have this on constant play for the rest of the year. You will like it so just listen HERE…
‘E La Gi Mo Tori Mo Ni Jesu Ni Baba, E La Gi Mo! Jesu Ni Kan Ni Mo Ni Ni Baba!!!’
If you like it, get it for 79pence (99cents) via the link below and of course don’t forget the album purchase link below that!
Purchase: Mo’Cheddah – Free Worship (Part 1)
Purchase: Mo’Cheddah – Franchise Celebrity
By Triple A