Sophomore albums are very tricky to make especially when you have garnered a massive following and critical reviews after you first album. The artist is caught up in proving his/her first project wasn’t a fluke and the talents is worth banking on. There’s also pressure to make a record that would be at same par with their first or surpass it. An album that scores low on the charts could be worse than Napoleon losing out at Waterloo. Thumbs up and high fives from fans and critics has the potential of raising that artist to the next level.
For one of Africa’s great musicians, Nigeria’s 2Face Idibia, his second album, ‘’Grace To Grass’’ was the gasoline he needed to light his glow beyond the reach of the continent. Released in 2006 under Kennis Music label, the album spurned over five hit records. Songs like ‘True Love’, ‘If Love Is A Crime’, ‘My Love’ featuring VIP (from Ghana), ‘See Me So’ and ‘No Shaking’ became cross-over hits, receiving massive airplay on Ghanaian radio around the year 2007. So huge were the songs that, 2Face ended up in Ghana and shot two videos for his songs ‘If Love Is A Crime’ and ‘My Love’.
One of the exciting qualities about 2Face as an artist is that, he isn’t too much fixated with making pop records. His albums have songs that carry socio-economic and political messages about the state of his country. He is able to project the circumstances that plagues the everyday Nigerian faces. 2Face bears the consciousness of Fela Kuti without the aggressiveness.
‘’From Grass To Grace’’ had a track with a political undertone in ‘4 Instance’. Within the lush, attention grabbing kick and bass dominating hip hop beat, and the seductive whistle (or it was a flute) that zipped through the song, ‘4 Instance’ instantly became a jam fit for the clubs as well. 2Face was on his elegant best in his description of how the political system treat citizens. He lashed out at politicians who through corruption, abuse of power cripple the economy. He also turned the gun on his people for allowing the political class to get away with this exploitative culture. He blamed it on the docility and aloofness of citizens.
A few lines into the first verse, he hit the nail on the head; singing: ‘’To do us and turn us to victim of circumstance/ Them just dey ignore our existence/ Them get us use do excuse to buy chance’, probing further on the method the political class employ: ‘’Them no wan know say we dey/ Them dey use us dey play/ All we get is a pursing glance/ Anytime we stand for resistance/ When them in the act of exploitance/ Abi we just be living in a trance’. 2Face plays the role of an observer, noting how the attitude of those at the top had turned his people into a disillusioned mass.
The negative impact such bad leadership birth include the looting state coffers (packing ‘all the money go France’) leaving many with the thought of emigrating out of the country to seek the much talked about greener pastures; to a place where his ‘skills’ would be respected :’Dey make suffer to full in abundance/ Dey make me to wan run away/ To a place wey e be say /I go dey feel like to break dance/ Where dem go respect my skills for instance/ Where dem go no go just dey/ Dey play pranks On top the people’.
2Face, as an observer of Nigerian society was quick to identify the crumbs these leaders leave for those who vote them into power (‘Wey give them the key
to the door to the substance’). That is, the promises they made to voters prior are totally reneged upon. They replace them with self-seeking ambitions. He continued: ‘Wey dem just dey use with freelance/ Their looting no dey give us assurance/ Repentance no dey their plans…’
The socio-political commentary that 2Face rendered on his first two albums had continued in his latter works. He has evolved into a political activist who is reportedly planning on running for political office in 2019. In 2017, he tried organizing a demonstration against the policies of the federal government of Nigeria. However, the protest was cancelled due to intense pressure from higher powers.
Listen to song below