Nigerian emcee Phlow has been on the site gathering attention and with every release, there is always an element of surprise. On her newest offering titled “Asuai vol 2″( we actually covered volume 1 here) she takes it back to pure lyrics that tap into her personal experiences growing up as the only female child in her family. She muses on how life was as a young girl with no worries at all until adulthood happens and you realise you are all alone trying to make sense of it all. The tracks here are brief and brevity proves to be a source of strength for the rapper; sometimes less is more as Phlow’s poetic insight, coupled with her vivid lyricism and laid-back delivery, gives listeners direct access into her experiences. The tracks weave in and out of each other like a medley. The natural rhythm and segues between the songs work as a singular unit, each song blending and tumbling into the next. Listening from start to finish is the only way to enjoy this experience.
The Mini EP starts off with “Callow” and the floodgates of happiness pours in as Phlow introduces us to a world of pure bliss where she doesn’t have to worry about much. She revels in being sheltered from the drama of the outside world and creates her own happily ever after story with this notion “...Nothing above me except these shining lights/ The skies my limit momma told me that like once or twice/ So I believe it starry-eyed / I’m looking up you know...”.
Everything is all lovey-duvey for a minute until the second track “On Your Own” hits the eardrums like a sucker punch. Phlow sets the tone with a revealing opener “Boom the splash hits, Molecules slicing through pores and layered skin/ Enough to fill the drums/ How I am supposed to hear a thing...” over a gloomy backdrop. Her words sound like she just woke up from a dream into the nightmare called reality where dreams get shattered or go to die in a cubicle. She stares and wades through the madness at her own pace knowing at any time things could go south. Here her lyrics showcase her new train of thought as follows
“...So I don’t try to bite the whole damn cake, Yeah/I mean I only chew what I can take
Mehn It don’t take a lot to get me disengaged/ Life alone is tough enough to turn you to a savage bae...”
The song also acts as an outlet for the young emcee she states on the refrain about getting out these bubbling thoughts and loose sparks.
The third track “Musing/Reverie” feels more like an interlude as it plays for a minute but her verse is actually less than that. She used this as a way of coming to terms with the situation and finding comfort in being herself. She has seen the world for what it is and she knows that “...Whatever you do, They either gonna love you/ Or them gonna hate you …” so might as well do you and be happy. The aura here has an introspective, happy vibe that fits the nursery rhyme styled refrain used to get her point across.
“BYOH (Be Your Own Hero)” is the final song on the project and it’s a brilliant closer as Phlow gets to go back in time and speak to her younger self. From the start of the track, you can hear the sigh of relief in her vocals as if she is finally getting the monkey off her back. The title says it all too, you don’t have to wait for an external force to propel you to greatness when you can channel it from within.
“…Don’t, don’t lose you
Be your own hero
Grab a cape or grab a hat put on a mask too
Bet ya you look nice rocking some spandex yeah
The rustling of wind in motion as you fly through air…”
She doesn’t go cerebral on the listener but her carefully painted pictures help make the message more palatable and accessible for everyone. Everyone dreaming of being someone can latch on to the message and run with it immediately.
Like the previous volume, musically “Asuai vol 2” relies on 1 producer. Swedish producer Ryko handled volume 1 while Montreal based producer/DJ Dr Mad was tapped to shape the soundscapes of volume 2. The soul-drenched production here is lush, nostalgic and soothing. Nothing here feels rushed as it sounds tailor-made for her expressive vocal tone and smooth flow. This is definitely a project not to sleep on and it’s just a total of 6 minutes and then some so you have no excuse but to give it a try.
02. On Your Own
04. BYOH (Be Your Own Hero)