Wale Ojeyide Africahot!

Ever since his collabo with J Dilla (2004’s One Day Everything Changed) Wale Oyejide has been anointed with "the next hotness” status. Oyejide has got the groove, the post-Kuti flavour, the socio-political fervour — but this time around something’s missing. That doesn’t change the fact that I’ve got this CD on steady rotation. The Nigerian-based artist/vocalist/producer delivers musical fusion and creative chops with Africahot! — the follow-up to One Day — and shows that he’s a versatile dude. Whereas One Day was a mash up of Afrocentric and contemporary sounds, Africahot! is Afrobeat redefined. From the opening three tracks ("Jump & Funk,” "Africahot!” and "Afrofuture”) Oyejide shows that he’s a learned disciple of Fela Kuti, embodying the trademark percussion-driven groove but with a next-gen hip-hop/R&B twist. Indeed, Oyejide sounds off on what currently ails the motherland, speaking on war, poverty, corruption and HIV. So what’s missing? While Oyejide’s production is more than on point, his vocal phrasing on certain tracks falls short of Fela-status. But he makes up for it by further demonstrating his versatility towards the tail end of the CD with savvy remixes (Mark de Clive Lowe’s "Heaven,” C.L. Smooth’s "I Can't Help It” and Lekan Babalola’s "Oba Awon Oba”). (Shaman Work)