From Proud to Blind and now ICINLA, Oladapo has risen to defeat the one-hit wonder plague and reinvented himself as a New Gen Face that piques the interest of many. He might not demand it, but it’s time his exceptional artistry is recognized, and we give due credit to this effect.
Afrobeats and the subtle yet crafty art of professing love work well together. The combination hits a crescendo immediately, the West African native Yoruba dialect gets in the mix. RnB is alluded to as being the original mouthpiece of romantic dynamics, Deployed on the tongue of a sweet and sly Yoruba native lies auspicious and reassuring romantic lyrics over an afrobeat sound– What a dangerously elite combination.
This genre combination forms the complex term Afrofusion; it’s a familiar compound genre explored by many talented acts. Aside from basking in the glow as one of the most commercially marketed genres of Afrobeats, The individuality embodied by these distinct acts places the genre as top tier. Oladapo presents a hybrid yet deep introspection of Rnb and Afro Beats sound with sprinkles of persuasive lyricism in the Yoruba language.
Standing out in such a saturated genre requires skill, talent, and exceptionality. This is for many reasons, the most prominent of which is oversaturation. Then the faux cliche stigma of most artists sounding alike and the present-day consumer having a short attention span. Sadly championed by the dispose and recycle pattern of the consumers, after two to three tracks, they have heard enough, and it’s a wrap. The cycle starts again with any new artiste they are currently gravitating towards. For many outstanding acts like Oladapo, a constant fear would have been trying to crack the hate code, facing the harsh weather of unreciprocated love for his art and music, and depreciation streams returns from his fans and listeners. Unsurprisingly, tracks like this “Alone”, “Proud” and “Iskaba” have proved this fear’s naught… The “Ola with the most” crooner, has been received with the biggest love and warmest welcomes. His fans can see the bigger picture, this makes the process even more fulfilling for Oladapo. The fans have a preview into the future of Afro-fusion, through the Lens of Oladapo’s music. To them, retaining and upholding good and quality music is their investment.
Who is Oladapo?
Oladapo Tonade is a fast-rising Nigeran-born Afro-fusion singer and songwriter, he has graced a couple of projects and appeared on several collaboration tracks, from “Falling from Me” on Melvitto’s “Overdose” to “Late Nights, Early Days” on Laycons’s “Bioba“, and then the “Ejoya Collaborative Project.” Oladapo’s discography speaks for itself and upholds the quality and impeccable writing, he explores. In 2020, he was named among the top 10 Nigerian acts to be on the lookout for. 3 years on and he hasn’t taken his foot off the gas, he maintains the quality and depth of his music, and with fiery-impeccable writing and profound vulnerabilities, he passes on the message revealing his thoughts and deepest fears. Through his discography, he never shies away from talks on mental health, emotional instability, heartbreak, love, and being an open card.
Upon first listen Oladapo doesn’t sound like a one-hit wonder. There is a hunch that he is blessed with a vault responsible for his solid back-to-back melodious and emotive hits, there is no sign of him stopping anytime soon. In addition, he projects an unprecedented aura, It’s a clear-cut distinction, You don’t feel coaxed against your will to grant a listen instead it sounds so pleasant to the ears and appeals to your soul, that you can’t decline but be a part of his progression. His sound has an enticing prospect, you want to catch up, so you don’t end up being left out.
In Case I Never Love Again ( ICINL) explores the unfiltered and raw emotions of heartbreak and foreshadows the possibility of never experiencing the solace love conveys. The album captures in full detail the raison d’être for Oladapo’s pessimistic approach to love and romance. It’s in clear print, Oladapo has experienced his fair share of disappointments and these love scars serve as reminders not to embark on romantic sojourns. On “If at all”, Oladapo the conversationalist once again engages his listeners with a discourse on letting go of the fear of being hurt again. The captivating storyteller seems to be at a crossroads as he needs assurance from his lover in order to come to terms with his present state of emotional vulnerability. However, this glimpse of hope is only a couple of tracks away from the gloom of hopelessness, on “Break Up” he seems to have reached his breaking point, “If I no break up, break up, then my mama dey and my papa dey mad,” he sings. ICINL is intimate, he doesn’t shy from expressing his vulnerability, Through the album he shows that the journey of healing from heartbreak isn’t linear, sometimes it feels like you have it in control and you are self-aware and emotionally mature, just as on “Replace me” he neither seeks clarity nor closure but for the sake of protecting his Mental Health and peace, he would rather be benched. while on the other hand, reminiscing on the bitter-sweet feeling of the good times and the present reality of lost love which could trigger suffering a relapse, the cycle goes on. Oladapo proudly champions the “Afro-heartbreak” sub-culture and pledges his album to get you through the long days.
During his interview with Wonu Osikoya of “Osikoya Speaks” a platform dedicated to documenting success stories and the beauty of Afrobeats through the lens of the diverse acts she speaks to. Oladapo speaks on his forthcoming album, the emotions and feelings he wishes to explore. He sheds light on the inspiration behind the songs and the mental space he was in, which birthed the compilation of songs, forming the album. Remarkably he ends with “I want it to feel like a conversation, I want it to feel like I am sat beside my listener and I am in their ear.”
Olapdapo is clear, safe to say it is another invitation to join the fan train or risk being left out of this celebration of greatness. In the meantime, you might catch Oladapo in the streets until his faith in love is restored. My advice play safe otherwise you could have your name dropped on the outro to his next album.