If there was a way to make every Nigerian tribe to understand Phyno’s sweet bars, mind boggling punch-lines, mature anecdotes and Igbo ancient philosophies in their various languages, the ones he said in Igbo language, I would have taken that up as a project. Well, however impossible the wishful thinking could be, my only consolation is that A GOOD MUSIC HAS NO LANGUAGE BARRIER. The fact that Phyno does good music has been his selling point coupled with his record breaking stylization of the Igbo language; its proverbs, its philosophies, world views and youthful idiosyncrasies. 

I started taking note of Phyno in the early days of Nigga Raw, especially from his second album EVERYTHING REMAINS RAW, where he got some production credits, voice-overs and full hooks for songs like ‘Do Am So’, etc. He was also active in the album projects of Slow Dogg, Dekumzy, MC Loaf, Hype MC, Desperate Chicks (the troika band from where Storm Rex pulled out), and so many other local MCs then who ruled South East Nigeria from the hip hop dome of Enugu. Since then, Phyno has never disappointed, starting from his monster single; “Multiply” to this recent album that got me all obsessed with the music machine. Consequent upon the massive success recorded in his debut album of NO GUTS NO GLORY, Phyno named his sophomore THE PLAYMAKER and true to his acclaimed title, the album lived up to expectations and even surpassed as each track showed great promise and ended up making separate hits despite the album. Now, Phyno appears to have completed digging the foundation for the erection of his throne as a serial Hit-Maker and has asked us to DEAL WITH IT; the fact that he has come to stay and does not appear to be fading soon; especially those who wouldn’t give him his due credit with proper nominations and awards.

DEAL WITH IT is all shades of quintessential Phyno, beauty and artistic ingenuity. For one thing, Phyno is a calculative musician who is never in a hurry to prove any point yet he has remained consistent. He takes his time to make good music, reason why the three albums so far have turned out to be wonderful projects and each track in each of the albums independently proving their worth as separately recorded pieces that can stand on their own and the test of time. In DEAL WITH IT Phyno exudes new energy, a different kind of energy that doesn’t borrow from the energies of the previous albums, yet it is as if he has been here since time immemorial. 

One thing that keeps beating my imagination is how he moistens his coming and wets the appetites of his audience with mind-blowing singles while also working on a project that does not share similarity with the singles and are also not added to the main album. He did it with “Asai”, “Ezege”, “Nnunu”, “Oringo” and many other singles that preceded the PLAYMAKER album and repeated it again with “One Chance” with Kranium, “N.W.A” with Wale, “Isi Ego”, “Fuwa Sewa” “Iyili Ife”, “Oil”, “Zamo Zamo” with Wande Coal, etc. Despite the successes of these hit singles, none of them made the new album, his third.

DEAL WITH IT assembles some of the best hands in sound production in Nigeria, from the legendary Don Jazzy, who also appeared in the track; “Blessing” with Olamide to MasterKraft, Tspize, Major Banks, Mystro, Kezzy Klef, Soularge, Princeton, BenJamz, IamBeat, Killertunes (Shabalistica), Willis, Jaysynths Beats, and the rave of the moment, Kel P; these pros brought their individual talents to bear on Phyno’s genius; they interpreted his dreams and served us a satisfying buffet of varieties of hip hop songs with guest appearances from Davido, Runtown, Flavour, Don Jazzy, Duncan Mighty, Olamide, Falz, Zoro, Teni, Harmonize, Phenom, Cheque, Nuno and Rhatti. Aside J-Stunts, one sound engineer took credit for properly mixing the songs and making sure that the meal was best served and that is the inimitable Selebobo (Mix Monster), one of the few animating figures behind most hit songs in Nigeria today.

All of the tracks cut above average, from crunk hip hops that the masters would be proud of to ghetto gospels that he popularized to dancehalls, highlife, and some flirting songs, one of which had our new in-law, Davido, singing in Igbo (to Chioma I guess). Aside the track with Duncan Mighty which appears rushed in mixing; the entire project is a thumb up for me. Yours sincerely is particularly attracted to songs like “Get the Info”, “Speak Life” and “God willing”, because of the heavy messages they bear.

On a scale of 10%, both in production and rendition, style and content, I rate the album to be 7/10. Like, Chibuzo did it again and for those who may have problems with the project, just DEAL WITH IT.

This article was written by Ifesinachi Nwadike

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