We live in interesting times where a robot, Sophia, openly plots to dominate the world. These are days where a 27-year old whiz kid, armed with the hastaggable phrase, “Africa to the World,” has reached into his extraterrestrial side. He has flooded us with “Sounds from the Other Side.” And, it is in this era, that the 16-man group, The Gratitude, appeared.
The Gratitude, before the viral sensation, Raba Baba Eh, performed songs in Nigeria and outside the country. COZA’s The Gratitude had stopovers in South Africa, Dubai and United Kingdom, then revealed their MO on Raba Baba Eh:
Tell ‘em I’m taking over!
The opera-driven song, laced with hip hop drums, opens the album. Wizkid and The Gratitude share similarities, if we believe the stories that Wizkid at one point recorded in Jazzworx Studios, where The Gratitude recorded this album. But on close examination, the differences are stark and not merely in lyrical content. Baba Zion, unlike The Gratitude, never repped Zion beyond walking into a smoky greenroom.
The etymology of Raba Baba Eh can be found in Yorùbá word for obeisance. And the group opens the floodgates of thanks on their debut album. However, Hello World’s album art is puzzling with striking questions.
Are United Arab Emirates, Italy, United States of America, United Kingdom and France the only world(s)?
Why aren’t any of Nigeria’s architectural beauties represented?
Whose world is this?
Does one need a ticket for world domination?
But, then, we should leave trivial matters for quiz shows and join in the celebration.
We are not the same, I am a Martian!
Hello World segues into piano-driven Oba Lori Aye, with keys reminiscent of Mario’s Let Me Love You. As the group showers praises on God, the masterful guitarist had to join in. Thanks continue on the album, but fail on reggae-tinged Bad Man, which serves as a filler. Although, in a world populated by different sounds, stepping in Kingston should convert some lost souls.
“The engine on your inside is of a heavy capacity,” Pastor Biodun says on the intro of trap Lookatchu. For one once stuck in the muddy waters of mainstream music, the songs R.A.F by Lil Wayne and Rich by M.I. Abaga are very familiar on this joint. Trite lyrics drown the high praises akin to Jesus departing the mountain after transfiguration only to be encountered by faithless disciples.
However, Mercy said no!
Jonathan Edwards in his 1739 sermon, Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God, described sin as “the ruin and misery of the soul.” These words echo on the sombre Do You Love Me? In a world filled with temptations at every turn, but if no safe house exists, where will the sinner go? The young rapper’s verses tell listeners that appreciation to the Most High should also be for forgiveness of sins.
“Hello! How Are You?”
I’m dancing in the Holy Ghost!
Hello! How Are You? keeps the spirit of thanks before the curiously titled gyration track, Trap Ration, ends the celebration as hundreds of demons flee.
While sojourners in the world of COZA’s The Gratitude celebrate, we celebrate them, too.