Nigeria’s favourite Bop Daddy and resident Bahd Guy, Falz, released his fifth solo album titled BAHD on June 9th, 2022. Since Moral Instruction which was released in 2019, fans had been fiending for another masterpiece and Falz, as usual, delivered with B A H D. The project features a whole caboodle of top-notch artists such as Tiwa Savage, Chike, The Cavemen, Timaya, Boy Spyce, L.A.X, and BNXN fka Buju. The 12-track album is an assemblage of Afropop, Highlife, and a bit of Afro-rap produced by talented acts including Le Mav, Blaisebeatz, Sess, Loudaaa, Chilz, Yung Willis, Duktor Sett, and Clemzy. The album cover portrays two images of Falz. However, the more apparent image is the one which reflects, to us, a bare-chested Falz flaunting his washboard abs, platinum-blond tinted hair and an array of neckchains against a more conservative, fully-suited appearance. It already agrees with its title, screaming, “Proper BAHD guy!” and hinting at the laid back approach that the album takes. We’re definitely here for it.
It is impossible to discuss rap in Nigeria without giving Falz his dues. Mashing up his tunes with brittle themes sponsoring social activism, his music is one which has carried the tinge of didacticism and socio-political consciousness for so long that it is near impossible to divorce the fundamental perception of his artistry from civil advocacy. His satirical style is entrenched in an Afro hip-hop locution, supported with his comical, heavily accented idiolect to form a new brand of Afrobeats which the artist calls “Wazup Music”.
However, in B A H D, the limpid gleam of burlesque that is usually woven in the undertones of Falz’s music is relegated to the far back as he tampers with completely different styles. The first song in the album, “Another Me”, can be rendered as a foreshadowing element symbolizing the trajectory of the project because we really do witness another Falz in the album. Prior to the release of B A H D, Falz informed us that this new album would be different from his previous projects. True to his claim, after a thorough delve into this tour de force, it is clearly observed.
In B A H D, we experience different versions of Falz. We see Falz, the gentle lover boy, serenading his love interest with romantic lines like: “My beautiful sunflower, every hour, think of you every night…” in rich, mellow tones; Falz, the sexpert, who is fully deft at “giving plantain”; Falz, the Casanova; and Falz, the turn-up king and Lagos sweet boy. But what we do not really see until the few last songs in the album (for example, “Knee Down” ft Chike and “Ice Cream” ft BNXN) is the actual “Falz, the Bahd Guy” — the persona that we are mostly familiar with. One would wonder, for a while, if our resident bahd guy still resides with us as the ‘singer’ opts instead to belt his melodies in the soft progression of afropop and jam to the groovy percussion of afrobeats. For the larger part of the album, the lover-boy vibe is the overwhelming mood and the witty, humourous satirist is tucked briefly away, never spilling into the roles of these new versions. This comes at a time when a lot of mainstream rap artists are benching their vicious rap games for the more tuneful sounds of afrobeats.
Nevertheless, B A H D is an apt representation of Falz’s versatility as an artist. He has proven that he is not a monolith with strict ideals conforming to a particular type of sound or style to appeal to a certain breed of audience. Thus, B A H D is an experimental addition to the artist’s discography, one that testifies to his evolution. Falz has promised to feed us with more music this year so we expect lots of brilliant hits from him.