One of the surprise albums this year, the EME compilation album, Empire Mates State of Mind kind of came as a surprise as most of us were expecting a Banky W album or one from Skales, but nonetheless, no one was complaining. Most of us were actually pretty excited.
The album features not only Banky W, WizKid & Skales (the core trio in EME), but new additions Shaydee, Niyola & X.O Senavoe. Now let’s get right into it.
The best way to start off an album is to place the hottest single right at the beginning, and in this case Baddest Boy with Banky W, WizKid & Skales sets off the album on a very high note. If this is your first time listening to the song you’d be extremely pumped up as the joint is all manner of hot. Unfortunately the follow up after that, Get Down Tonight with Banky, WizKid & Skales just doesn’t hit the spot as much as the first track. In many ways it seems like a forced club song, with a generic beat and less than impressive lyrics from all 3. Then again some of these songs end up being hits with the right packaging. Moving on to Sumo Mi, and we see a bit of the talent Shaydee possesses and why he was signed. Very catchy hook, and lyrics from Shaydee & Banky W. A good bounce back to keep the cd in the cd player.
We get into a bit of a commercial break with a hilarious skit from BasketMouth, and then comes another joint that has all the makings of a hit in Roll It. WizKid displays why he is who he is – a hit maker. Banky W does a bit of complementing, but this song was Wizkid’s from the word go. A highly infectious beat from Spellz seals this one up and one of the bangers on the album. In what seems like another forced dance club hit, Find My Trouble comes off as another generic, and easily forgettable song with somewhat cheesy lines. Body which features WizKid alone follows up next with an average showing from the star boy. It’s not necessarily a bad song but it doesn’t really get one pumped with excitement.
In some ways, I dare to say that Skales sings better than he raps. No pun intended as he does rap pretty well, but I think when he does sing, he does that even better. He did that in Komole, a track where he got to display his singing talents, and he definitely did that very well. Speaking of Rap, X.O Senavoe steps up in the immediately following Dance and shows us why he is a force to be reckoned with in Africa. In a song that is very clubby and pop-ish X.O and Banky W deliver extremely well and all of sudden we get the feeling we’re in a popping club at 2:30am, highly inebriated and having the time of a lifetime. On that same high we tumble into Niyola’s debut on the album with the track, Don’t Delay Me. It’s still a pop-ish song but it’s not as catchy. However one thing you take from this song is that Niyola does have an amazing voice, and if the song was packaged better it would’ve been very hot. We continue down EME lane with London Girl which was billed to be one of WizKid’s single earlier this year. Not as great as initially hyped but it’s still one that will see the club turn tables especially in London… go figure.
After another hilarious skit from BasketMouth, we jump right in to another tune that has all the makings of a club banger in Dance For Me which features WizKid on a solo tip here. It’s not his best, but these days 80% of him is enough to make a track pretty hot. Going on a slower tempo we see Skales, Banky W & Shaydee completely take this from the slow dance in the club to the bedroom. Pretty impressive showing from all 3 on Follow Go House. Staying in the bedroom mood, Skales takes it to My Baby and then again I say, singing just might be Skales real talent. Very infectious beat, nice tempo and infused African drums make this an exceptional song all around. Add the hausa in there, and it’s hard not to love this. The bedroom mode doesn’t stop after just 2 songs, and Banky W, Shaydee & Rotimi put in more work with this and the outcome, Only You, turns out somewhat mediocre. It starts off on an impressive note, but somehow withers away as the song goes on. Then again, if you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing on this song, then you wont even notice after the first 15 seconds .
The Reppin EMEAZZy joint sees original EME trio Banky, Skales & WizKid on an another collabo track but unfortunately even with a hot beat, it didn’t meet the expectations I had. Solid nonetheless, but you get the feeling it could’ve been much better with better lyrics. Right after the ole Gs of EME come the newbies Niyola & Skales in Wetin I Want that sees the two new comers show us why they are with one of the top 5 record labels in Nigeria. It wouldn’t be an album that Banky has something to do with if we don’t see a song that is dedicated to Nigeria. Change is that song, and even though it’s not as hot as Banky’s hit song Why, it still delivers the message.
See My Mama takes us into the last lap of the album, and reminds us of WizKid’s I Love My Baby, with Banky W, Shaydee & WizKid giving props where props is due. Momsy noni! Immediately following is another funny skit, then the final wrap up song in Cant Stop Us with everyone on here. Yep, DJ Xclusive, Banky, WizKid, Niyola, XO, Shaydee & Skales. A nice way to wrap up a 22 track race, and everyone did pretty much what they were supposed to do. WizKid & X.O Senavoe though took the cake on it, while everyone else left a somewhat mediocre mark on it.
In conclusion, it is a decent effort from the EME crew. It’s certainly not album that will be remembered far into the future but for the present day it’ll do what it’s supposed to do. Keep us entertained.
WizKid in this album shows that he’s clearly the star in the camp, and Banky W is still solid as ever. It does feel however that WizKid freestyles a lot on tracks which can be a good or a bad thing. Skales in many ways made us wonder if he’d be better as a singer as he clearly shined doing that much more than he did in his rap verses. Then again a combo of both could work well for him. The introduction of Shaydee, Niyola & X.O Senavoe was well played even though a bit more of Niyola & X.O Senavoe would’ve been much better.
The album is packed with club hits and “wanna be” club hits with some of the songs sounding like generic clubs songs that one could forget immediately after listening. A 22 track album could’ve been easily compressed to 14 or 15 tracks and would easily have been a much better album.
To wrap up, with all the talent on the album it didn’t meet the high expectations many set for it. Maybe a case of too many cooks. It’s still a solid piece of work, and it’s worth the buy, especially to ride out to the club with.
OVERALL GRADE: 6.5/10