The Ascension is 2Face Idibia aka 2Baba’s 6th studio album and, in his words, his last album as 2Face Idibia as he has ‘transformed’ into 2Baba. Fans of 2face Idibia were relieved that their beloved artiste was not going to retire but transit into 2Baba, a moniker he has always been addressed by admirers. It might be a great thing after all, fully embodying the term Baba. 2Face gives us his musical ascension wrapped in somewhat next level packaging and promotion, backed by 960 Music group home to Hypertek and Aristokrat. A 2Face Idibia album has not had this much publicity before release, so the spot light is focused on Africa’s biggest export to pull off an Ascension.
The album doesn’t disappoint with the first track GO! An up-tempo cut featuring Caribbean super star Machel Montana, setting the tone for the album which features 2baba’s foray into Caribbean pop music also evident in other tracks like International Loving and Boulay Boulay.
International Loving is a pure hit but Boulay Boulay is subpar in comparison, it feels like an over flog and its skip wordy. Same thing can be said of Close to where you Are which sounds like Akon in 2008. Track 16 Ife Dinma is late to the party and would have been best left for Tony Oneweek’s project.
These few missteps are remedied by other brilliant songs on the album. Jeje samples legendary Fela Kuti’s Army Arrangement. The production and the use of female back-ups is typical Afrobeat, distinguishing it nicely from recent Fela Kuti sampled songs. Lesse Pase is a highlife track which features Sir Victor Uwaifo. The legend christens this joint with his amazing guitar solo and subtle but effective vocal back-ups.
Jeje, Lesse Pase including the lead single Let Somebody Love You are the highlights of the album. The latter track has the best lyrics on the album and the production from Femdouble is world class only rivalled by J Sleek’s production on The Best I Can Be and Leriq’s production on Confessions.
Collaborations: Knocks and Kudos
The album has a lot of features; 2Baba as usual doesn’t rely on obvious collaborations for the sake of positioning and most of the collaborations feels organic. Iceberg slim’s calm delivery on The Best I Can be is a gem, Vector’s mailed in verse made obvious by the mixing was tight as expected, Kim Almarcha, Shur Wayne, Fally Ipupa, Machel Montana, sir Victor Uwaifo and Tony Oneweek brought their unique flavour to the album. However his Hypertek signees were a letdown failing to capitalise on the feature to launch their careers and gain more fans. Rocksteady brought nothing special to The Best I Can Be and Dammy krane ruined a great song in Confessions.
In terms of lyrics on The Ascension album, 2baba is not on the same level of depth as with his previously released albums, the style of lyricism is simple and seldom complex with tracks like #Aproko, Let Somebody Love You, Can’t Hear You, Not a Surprise, show a glimpse of the ol’2Baba. This time 2Baba relies on simple lyrics, catchy hooks and great melodies, adjectives that do not usually exclusively define a 2Baba album. The album is deliberately made to cater to an international fan base, with his branch off into Pop, Soca, Makossa, and Highlife. The album appearing on Billboard World Album Chart seems to be a justification of the move. However some fans who need the Introspective, reflective and deep 2Face Idibia might probably be disappointed by this approach.
In this album there is no spiritual track, no politically charged track not even on the Fela inspired track Jeje, a few references here and there “Na so dem Pkai Ken Saro Wiwa and we still dey get inflation” but it seems 2Baba is more content to make music that is more fun and easily accessible.
The question now is: “Will we embrace this 2Baba and his Ascension or demand for the familiar 2face idibia?
The verdict however is, 2Baba is 2Baba because even as this album is far from the usual 2Face Idibia it’s still a quality release that will grow on you after one or two listens and even become regular in your playlist but in terms of longevity this album may have a shorter life span than his previous releases, only time will tell.
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