A Review Of Boj’s “Gbagada Express”
Bolaji Odojukan is popularly called Boj and is credited to be one of the three pioneers of Lagos’ underground genre-bending new school afropop that goes by the general name, Alté. Boj had his fans hungry for a new solo project from him since his last one, ‘Magic’ in 2017 and on his last birthday in April, he fed them ‘Gbagada Express’.
With ‘Gbagada Express’, Boj explores the different sounds and subgenres that could come out of Lagos. The album does an excellent job at telling the different stories of Boj and his experiences at different times as a Lagos resident.
It begins with ‘Owo Ni Koko’ which is a wake-up call to his listeners, urging them to talk less and let their money do the talking. He employs Fireboy to help express this instruction to whoever hears. Boj understands that having money is a necessity in a city like Lagos where even good air is only found in privileged towns.
‘Tinu Ewe’ and ‘Awolowo’ are afropop tracks that speak primarily about what happens daily by 4:20 for many. Even though many try to ignore it and consider it a social vice, it cannot be denied that greens have become a part of Nigeria’s popular culture and apparently, Boj’s Lagos experiences.
Even more, everyone who follows Boj on social media would already be aware of how much of a lover boy he is. He has relayed his feelings at various points in his ‘Lekki Love’, ‘Emotions’, ‘Unconsciously’, ‘In A Loop’, ‘Money & Laughter’ and ‘Your Love’ songs. These have Buju & Fresh L, Victony, Moliy & Melissa, Zamir & Amaarae and Tiwa Savage as featured acts respectively.
Having spent many years of his life schooling in the United Kingdom, it is only expected that a couple of his songs are influenced by sounds from over there, and Boj has not failed at meeting that expectation. ‘Get Out The Way’ employs a drill and UK garage sound, featuring Joey B and Kofi Jamar. ‘Culture’ is an Afrobeats song, but has British rapper Enny on it. And ‘Action Boyz’ takes a more solemn shape with Obongjayar’s celestial vocals.
‘Confam’ has Prettyboy D-o verifying a particular girl and rating her a 10 out of 10. ‘Abracadabra’ is an Afro-Fusion song with some Latina traces, courtesy of the guitars. It is Mr Eazi and Davido assisted.
‘Gbagada Express’ is one of the records on the album and is an urban highlife jam. With it, Boj invites you over to his favourite hangout spot around Gbagada in Lagos.
If Twitter was a determining factor when it comes to how good a music project is, then Gbagada Express would be rated highly, perhaps because both members of the Wizkid FC and 30BG Fanclub were appeased. The fact that many people are already asking for a deluxe of the album speaks volumes.
From my end, I believe that this LP resplendently portrays Lagos’ urban popular culture and how versatile music from the alté subculture could be and these are the grounds on which I will label Boj’s “Gbagada Express” an 8/10.