The self proclaimedÂ Man Of The Year, PhynoÂ finally released his debut album,Â No Guts No Glory, with as much anticipation as there has been in Naija hip-hop and for good reason. His singles Man Of The Year, Ghost Mode and Parcel were proper lead singles to pack enough heat heading into his album release.
The album couldnâ€™t have come at a better time forÂ Phyno. Heâ€™s hot, buzzing, and indigenous rappers are like the new cool kids on the block, and heâ€™s wearing the outfit for the East. Even though folks like Nigga Raw, SlowDogg, MC Loph came before him, he comes it at precisely the right time. It featuresÂ Flavour, Storm Rex, P-Square, Omawumi, Olamide, Efa, RunTown, Ice Prince, MI, andÂ IllBliss.
So letâ€™s get into the review shall we?
Beginning an album is skill that has to be well thought out. Why? That is your first statement. It can either make the listener get excited, cautious or just irritated enough to remove your CD from the player. For Phyno, he got this spot on withÂ Chibuzor; A song that cleverly reintroduces himself using funny narratives that gives you an insight of his journey in life to this point. FeaturingÂ Storm RexÂ as the narrator the song will only make you more interested in whatâ€™s to come.
With the tone set, the album delves into the real business withÂ Alobam, which is a ode to his peoples that have been on his side all along. A sly borrowed idea fromÂ Drakeâ€™s Worst BehaviorÂ itâ€™s not entirely original from a concept stand point but the lyrics work very well for the purpose. This leads to the cheesy but interestingly catchy tune with P-Square,O Set.Â Nme NmeÂ follows a similar â€œletâ€™s enjoy lifeâ€ path, and is good song to continue the journey with.Â AutheÂ which features Flavour also provides similar feelings of joy, and merriment (even though there are claims that the hook might be a bite of DJ Spinallâ€™s Gba Gbe â€“ thatâ€™s another story). From the first couple of songs on the album, you get the idea that itâ€™s money well spent already.
Man Of the Year,Â just likeÂ Parcel, Ghost ModeÂ andÂ MultiplyÂ is a song that led the way for Phyno into his career, and you feel his raw energy in it. The Phyno that you donâ€™t have to understand Igbo to enjoy. The previously released singles come at key points in the album experience to help you reset with familiarity. A welcome addition is the hilarious Parcel skit which fetaures Chi-Gurl.
While we get to see the hard familiar side of Phyno, we also get the softer, human and more grateful side of him in tunes likeÂ Chukwu Na EnyeÂ (featuring Omawumi) andÂ Good Die YoungÂ (a tribute to friends who have passed). Songs that are best enjoyed if you understand everything heâ€™s saying.
But itâ€™s not all rosy in the album as tunes likeÂ Shey U Know, OjigiÂ are very underwhelming to say the least and couldâ€™ve been best left on the shelf.Â IcholiyaÂ (featuring MI and Ice Prince) andÂ AjeÂ (featuring Olamide & Efa) are decent tunes but were given more spice by some good lyrical work from the features. MI showed us his pre â€˜Chairmanâ€™ form on Icholiya, and Efaâ€™s flow in his native Lokaa (from Ugep, Cross River)Â is unique in a very refreshing way.
Holiday are and Paper Chase are good enough album filler songs, that on their own might not hit off as hit tracks, but in an album listening experience do well to keep the momentum going.
In conclusion,Â No Guts No GloryÂ is a solid effort from Phyno. He might have been burdened by heavy expectations, but still came out smelling good enough. The irony in No Guts, No Glory is spelled out through the whole album. No risk, no rewards and Phyno did take some risks in this project. Some paid off, but others not so much, which is understandable given itâ€™s a debut album, and Phyno pretty much had the expectations of a whole movement and region in Nigerian on his back.
I also think he had too many songs on the album which makes the whole project a little drawn out to listen to. To fully enjoy the album will require you having at least a mid level understanding of the igbo language which is a great thing for some, and a not so great thing for the non-igbo speakers considering hip-hop has a lot to do with lyrics. However there are enough songs to enjoy even if you donâ€™t understand.
Itâ€™s an album thatâ€™ll be remembered for some of itâ€™s hot leading singles, and the significance Phyno had in the new wave of indigenous hip-hop artists in Nigeria. Definitely a recommended buy.
Via – Jaguda