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Music of Thursday, 3 September 2020


Album Review: ‘Three’ might actually be Patoranking’s best project yet

Tiwa Savage, Flavour and Sauti Sol feature on Patoranking's 12-track new album, 'Three.' play videoTiwa Savage, Flavour and Sauti Sol feature on Patoranking's 12-track new album, 'Three.'

On August 28, 2020, Nigerian singer, Patoranking released his 21-track new album, ‘Three.’

This came exactly one year after his sophomore album, ‘Wilmer’ dropped. His debut album, ‘God Over Everything’ was released in 2017.

The long and short of Three is that it might actually be Patoranking’s best album yet. It lacked the cluster that defined his polarizing but equally impressive debut, God Over Everything as well as the unassuming nature of Wilmer.

Three feels like the completion of the artistic experiment that Patoranking commenced on Wilmer. Three also contains some impressive - not pristine - pieces of songwriting that adequately serve their purpose.

Patoranking was disciplined enough to stay creatively vibrant even now that he is becoming an elder statesman in Nigerian music.

A song like, ‘Whine It’ featuring Sauti Sol might have well been filled with vibes, but that didn’t happen. Also commendably, he didn’t feel a need to make ‘serious’ music because he featured Sauti Sol.

Owing to its track listing, the production on Three seems expansive because no two successive songs sound the same, but all the songs on this album are actually cut from the different subgenres of Afro-pop.

Thus, even though Patoranking is Nigerian, the sound of this album reflects the different pop sounds from different African countries. Whatever Dera did on, ‘Whine It’ is an absolute madness.

Most songs on Three are significantly inspired by the female gender. The height of it is the DJ Coublon-produced Disco/Funk track, ‘Black Girl Magic.’

On one side, Patoranking aims to praise the skin tone and curves of a black woman, but in its essence, the song actually elevates the beauty of blackness with women as one part of that.

That perspective also continues Patoranking’s well-documented passion for altruism, activism and amplification. On Wilmer, the song ‘Black’ elevated blackness and now he’s here elevating black women from the male gaze as opposed to the calmer hue of Beyonce’s ‘Brown Skin Girl.’

Nonetheless, Patoranking reserves the final two tracks on Three for his continued celebration of black pride and theories on love.

‘Lion In The Jungle’ is the Reggae song that discusses the peculiar struggles of a black man on his way to success while, ‘Love Is The Only’ way steps away from the plea for black responsibility on ‘Black’ off Wilmer into canvassing love as the only way humanity can thrive.

On Highlife/Doomba, Patoranking is affectionate towards the black woman on, ‘Mon Bebe.’ To an Igbo man, affection doesn’t get higher than calling a woman your, “Morning dew…” and “Speedometer.”

‘Mon Bebe’ is actually French for, ‘My baby.’ And as aided by Flavour’s delivery of sweet lamba by way of onomatopoeic adlibs, Patoranking makes solemn promises of sweet love. Nonetheless, Patoranking isn’t all sentimental and lovey dovey, he creates more songs like, ‘Whine It.’

There’s more you can say about and do to a woman’s body than just musings of a teenage boy, right? Patoranking bursts out of his shell and sings about a woman’s body on, ‘Yo Body.’

Asides how Patoranking manages to get vain in appreciating a woman’s body without being misogynistic and merely politely saying, “I just want you to bring your body,” the way he bases his rhyme scheme on verse one of, ‘Yo Body’ on the ‘a’ assonance without ever boring his listener is amazing.

On Ghana-inspired Afro-pop production that is defined by Electro-pop vocal interpolation for hook, Patoranking crafts, ‘Nobody.’ As good as this song is, it should have ended at 2:30.

‘Abule,’ the lead single to Three is Patoranking’s solemn dedication to Lagos and his roots in Abule Egba. The song is also a bridge between teen boy-esque appreciation of women into the beautiful world of sex.

‘Brrrr’ also appreciates femininity, but its Konto formation just takes the sex tak talk to another level. “Breakfast in bed, but you’re the food” is also a really wild line ... Ah, Pato!

‘The Matter’ is an explicit celebration of sex as supported by African bad girl herself, Tiwa Savage. But alongside ‘Whine It,’ ‘Odo Bra’ and ‘Do Me’ are three best songs on this album.

In the end, even though Three might be Patoranking’s best album from a cohesion, balance and the lack of clusters/fillers perspective, it lacks shock value. As good as songs on Three are, nothing really jumps at a listener or seeks to keep a listener coming back.

It’s not just about making good albums, the music has to retain a listener.

Ratings: /10

• 0-1.9: Flop

• 2.0-3.9: Near fall

• 4.0-5.9: Average

• 6.0-7.9: Victory

• 8.0-10: Champion

Pulse Rating: /10

Tracklist: 1.5/2

Content and Delivery: 1.5/2

Production: 1.5/2

Enjoyability and Satisfaction: 1.2/2

Execution: 1.3/2

Total: 7.0 - Victory