MIXTAPE REVIEW: Griot XL – The Soul Therapy EP
The development of rap in Nigeria has taken another turn with the South-south gearing up for a takeover with the constant cropping up of artistes in enviable positions in the hierarchy of rap such as: Cyrus Tha Virus, Erigga, AQ, and Boogey alongside numerous other upcoming rappers like; Mo’ Fame, Full ish Movement, ReDkaD, Juzt Courage and recently Griot XL who has just recently submitted his own offering for listeners with his EP- The Soul Therapy.
Albeit, before the release of this mix tape, he apparently dropped an unofficial remix of Iyanya’s Kukere which somewhat lacks the cohesion the original version possesses coupled with a remake of an Otis Redding song “happy song”. Presumably this then triggered his ride through the soul world.
A poetic and experimental-like piece, The Soul Therapy EP featured the sublime songwriting ability of Griot, but in some instances also displayed his weak ear for beat selection. Like the meaning of his name (Griot means oral historian) he took up the arms in his arsenal with numerous poetic tales, socio-political criticisms and his views on our now saturated music industry. The production is really nice, but the sound engineering seems to be poor, irrespective of the fact that the trio of Michael Excel, Choco jay and Sugar King jointly created numerous appreciable joints off the board of amazing soul samples. It should be noted that Michael Excel has a retinue of wonderful beats to his name as he produced Courage or Fame.
Amidst the not-too-perfect mixing, the Soul Therapy EP is an epitome of lyricism, counter to that was his inability to wrap his verses around the beat to produce a fluid transmission whilst making quite a number of unintentional stops on tracks like; “slow down” and “as we begin”. On the latter he featured Mo’ Fame where he made the Michael Excels beat his own with a smooth delivery and perfect narrative.
A very personal track that is basically concerned with the reception of the mix tape with Fame on the hook, “how e go be” is a rhetorical track where Griot upped his delivery an inch with very good transitions alongside some rhetorical questions to which he provided answers to accentuate the personal outburst of emotions on it: “I spit it how I see it/ am just try to be real”.
The constructive criticism bit plays in on “good music” and “vibrate” with the former taking jabs at the repertoires of some mainstream artists, while on “vibrate” he narrates a story about his presumed early days crush with a very memorable hook sung and produced by Choco Jay. Michael Excel once again displayed his skills on the board with “slow down” with the combination of boom bap married with synchronized guitar strings on a very poignant delivery taking listeners through the bitter road of his hustle, freedom, and the political instability while also giving a shout out to hustlers who care to listen.
The 9-track Soul Therapy EP is an objective body of work which fulfilled its promise of lucid storytelling and poetic inclinations. Hopefully, an improved production would greatly help him in building his own niche in an industry which he attests is already saturated.
Feel free to visit my hulkshare account to download some of the songs mentioned above. Just click on the link below.
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