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Dotman – Hakuna Matata [Album Review]

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Delivered mostly in Yoruba and Pidgin, Dotman’s distinct voice type, the album is a bed of consistently impeccable Afro-pop/Afro-Fusion production.

Even when the production hits Trap on, ‘Mind,’ it is still a very resonant version of Emo/Cloud Rap. As on ‘Mine,’ the topics addressed on the album range from love to providence.

But at the centre of the album, Dotman spends over half of 17 tracks and 56 minutes following a trope; how people discouraged him, how he’s made it, his gratitude and his bid to inspire more rags-to-riches stories like him while he consistently fired shots at his detractors.

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ALSO READ: Joeboy – Somewhere Between Beauty and Magic [ALBUM REVIEW]

But when he does tweak that ‘hater-aspirational’ brand of music on a song like ‘Awe (Refix)’ or love-themed records like ‘Enter My Soul,’ Afro-House gem, ‘Tonight,’ ‘Duro,’Mama or ‘Shuga,’ the album comes.

Tracks like those are too few and far between on the album though.

One is then forced to question the length of this album. The sad part is that all the similarly themed records are well-written. It means Dotman is a super-talented artist who lacks the ability to deliver music about a wide range of topics and/or doesn’t use songwriters or can’t find songwriters to help him expand his topical range.

As an album experience, Dotman slightly failed to match his supreme ear for beats and his talent with a powerful thematic base that he needed.

If you concentrate that amount of your energy on what people are saying, then your music sounds slightly vain, insecure or narcissistic. When the ‘poverty/detraction aesthetic’ becomes excessive, it loses resonant authenticity.

On ‘Number One,’ Dotman couldn’t even focus on gratitude for – you guessed right – his rags-to-riches story, he still took a shot at his detractors.

Regardless of the flaws of this album, Dotman still showcases his brilliance at crafting resonant one-liners like, “If footballer no get motor, e go sha get boot…”

His allusion to the Dagbana Shoko freestyle on ‘Number One’ is also as memorable as his one-liners. On the same record, he also dropped the gem, “Who God bless, make e bless another…

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He also says, “A big winner is a big dreamer…” on ‘Giveaway.’

Make no mistake, Dotman is still a super-talented artist with a distinct voice and style. He might have been created off the Nigerian Folk-Apala-Fuji era like 9ice, but nobody sounds like Dotman. Where 9ice mostly spat proverbs, Dotman is a wielder of Nigerian street lingo and powerful one-liners.

If he will become the master-chronicler of the time and class distinction in Nigeria as it relates to dreams and aspirations of those in the lower rung of that hierarchy, then he needs better A&R and a better songwriter.

Ratings: /10

• 0-1.9: Flop

• 2.0-3.9: Near fall

• 4.0-5.9: Average

• 6.0-7.9: Victory

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• 8.0-10: Champion

Pulse Rating: /10

Album Sequencing: 1.0/2

Songwriting, Themes and Delivery: 0.5/2

Production: 1.8/2

Enjoyability and Satisfaction: 1.1/2

Execution: 1.2/2

Total:

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5.6 – Average