Written By: Ethan Griggs
My Music: ethangriggsmusic.virb.com
Sultry, sensual, and seductive are just a few adjectives that could be used to suitably describe the sound of Nigerian singer Korede Bello. His debut album Belloved (the perfect title) is a global exploration of soul, pop, and r&b. With its compellingly exotic arrangements and lyrics that are soaked in African imagery, Bello has crafted a truly stunning piece of work.
Lyrically, Bello is anxious to tell you where he started from, and through this he does a particularly excellent job mixing African and English lyrics together he’s even able to make English words rhyme with African ones. On the album opener “Korede”, Bello sings, “Playing football in ami backyard/I bare nobody ever would guess that/Then not that young boy when set for mile two/Would be the one way everybody smile to/Toba fe mo, lo bere mi l’agboju.”
Bello doesn’t just focus on himself, though; there is a certain affinity for beautiful women in the record as well. This theme is best represented on tracks such as the upbeat “Oh Baybe (Hermosa)” and on the steamy “Repete”, where Bello sings, “I love the way you captivating, activating me all the way up/I love the way, I like the way/Am elevating, your love is taking me all the way up”. The album’s true standout track is “Butterfly”, which is probably the most innocent love song on the album with Bello comparing his lover to an African butterfly. When Bello sings, “Don’t you keep me waiting, waiting/For your love is waiting, waiting/If they ask me say na wetin Come and see a butterfly”, he shows his true passionate for connecting with the opposite sex on a romantic level.
The level of imagery that Bello provides in his lyrics is masterful, and it really puts the listener inside the songs. This is also evident on the next track, “Let Him Go”, where Bello sings, “You be jollof rice/No let them dey treat you like white rice yo/You be my Rolce Royce/No let them dey ride you like keke Napep/Or Okada sef”
Overall, Korede Bello has crafted an excellent debut that is sure to keep listeners on their toes for his next move. There’s something in this music for everyone, whether you speak English or African, listen to American pop or World music – or even if you just like great production and a unique beat. It’s all there on Belloved.