“You got it all/ We ain’t got shit but life goes on… I for hate but all you got dey motivate me” – Worlasi
When Worlasi dropped his debut album ‘’Nus3″ in 2015, it was instantly hailed as a bona fide classic. And it was not hard to realize why after listening to it. The album was different, raw, matured and excellently curated. Bereft of radio formatted records, the album stood on its own strength wrapped in reflective themes and well-laid productions. ‘’Nus3’’ knotted varied themes about life into an audio glamour that reflected the personality of Worlasi; his mindset; burning desire and above all, validation of his credibility as an artist with combustive ambition.
“Nus3’’ was not a pop-centric album yet its acceptance by the public was a confirmation to how authenticity could bridge the chasm between the alte and mainstream scene. Worlasi proved that with his album. He was instantly heralded as one of the refreshing voices on the scene. His zeal to stick to his mother tongue of Ewe, incorporating phrases, full verses and witty lyrics to profoundly elucidate his thought was mesmerizing.
This approach or style of using Ewe as a medium of expression is one he dwelt on in an interview I did with him for Signature Magazine: “Using Ewe makes the message heavy and direct, he intimated. “There are things that English doesn’t really capture. I feel fulfilled when I sing in Ewe.”
Whereas songs like “Hey”, ” Freedom”, “Na So”, “Wake Orp” became a favourite among music enthusiasts, the B-Side of the album contained some of the most profound songs made by Worlasi. The songs are like landmines in need of a touch to blow up. They also expressively exhibited the songwriting prowess of Worlasi as an artist. “Too Naughty”, the 9th song on the album was one example. It happens to be one of my all-time favourite songs by Worlasi.
“I look so clean but so dirty”. These opening words poured over the heavy piano chords that served as the bedrock for the minimal, skeletal but mesmerizing instrumentals on the soulful, revelatory ”Too Naught”. The opening words of the song offered a strong contradiction of what the song was about: the good and the bad; the ying and yang; the joys and sorrows of life and human actions.
Drawing on both English, pidgin and Ewe, Worlasi scanned himself, his music, his success chasing spirit against the numerous roadblocks dotted along his path, primarily from the bad energy that often came with being the guy at the bottom. Not everyone would want to witness your success. The road to success is not all the same. These themes run across ‘Too Naughty”, and Worlasi dissected the various strands with the expertise of a surgeon.
The verse portrayed a man who knew his position in life and his worth: ‘Too naughty, prodigals, We no dey sati, True hustlers, Today I be rag, morrow I be flag’. His allusion to being a naughty person was not in the literal sense. It was to portray a personality who was sticking to a style of music considered unrewarding. But, he knew for sure his stars would shine in due time: ‘Too naughty, prodigals/ We no dey sati/ True hustlers/ Today I be rag/ Morrow I be flag’’.
Every artist has an ambition to succeed in his career. However, the reality is that the walk towards attaining the ‘freedom’ is not always smooth. It does not happen quickly. And Worlasi recognized that from the onset, singing: ‘’We no catch the cloud saf they calling we stars/ Wait till I start before you hop in my car’’. It takes a lot of maturity to distinguish between hate and admiration especially in this competitive world of ours. Expressing admiration for those winning and picking nuggets from them to further your own ambition is not a mindset that many are able to embrace. Worlasi chose not to hate but feel motivated to push his ambition to the very top.
You got it all/ We ain’t got shit/ But life goes on
You started before we so you gone/ Mmm, you long gone
I for dey hate/But all you got, dey motivate, me
We got each other’s backs/So we stronger than all your packs
‘’Too Naughty’’ is the one of the tracks that effortlessly appeals to your sensibilities thanks to the quality exhibited by Worlasi on the song – the vulnerability in his voice, message and the overall production- added to the making of the song one of the standouts on ‘’Nus3’’; an album that embodied the soul, spirit and passion of Worlasi. And, if the lyric “you got it all, we ain’t got shit but life goes on” does not resonate with you, then you truly have not lived life.