When Pherowshuz, known affectionately as Phero released King David mixtape, he announced that the mixtape would be forerunner to his upcoming album. On April 17, 2020, Phero released Tha Pherow, a 12-track album which represents his 8th studio project in under 10 years.
You might not know Phero, but in the early 2010s, his name was synonymous with his unique rap style, his deft use of Pidgin English to craft witty punchlines and wordplays as well as his ability as a producer. After the Nigerian Hip-Hop culture hit a snag upon enjoying a high in the late 2000s, Phero went quiet – at least, to the Nigerian mainstream.
]]>But before then, he had the popular song, ‘Korrect,’ which had a remix with MI Abaga, Ice Prince and Terry tha Rapman. The song was a huge smash across Nigerian Universities in the early 2010s. Phero kept releasing music – the quality never dropped. Instead, Phero experimented with sounds to find a bridge between mainstream pop and Hip-Hop essence.
If people have a sense of recollection, Phero is the progeny to Falz. He is cut from that hue that crafts relatable bars with familiar words while making effortless music. Even if you were not a fan previously, something about Phero’s music will attract you. While King David Mixtape is what a ‘Hip-Hop Head’ would actually call the ‘Hip-Hop project,’ Tha Phero is more based on pop beats.
However, the quality of his raps never changed. Based on a groovy beat that loops galala into classic ragga, ‘Gentlemen’ opens up Tha Phero. It features DannyJoe who interpolates Fela’s ‘Gentleman,’ a cut off the 1973 album of the same name. Phero uses the chance to discuss the negatives of a lax personality.
That beat is so good and the saxophone solo that glosses over the guitar strings and piano chords as the song draws to a close is just beautiful. ‘Hauwa’ is a Hausa name and Pherowshuz jumps on this contemporary Nigerian pop beat to dedicate an ode to a woman named ‘Hauwa.’ She has an amazing waistline, beautiful face, sexual prowess and all things that make her memorable.
On a slower, methodical pop beat produced by Willis, Phero crafts a party-themed tune, ‘Shut Down’ complete with the alcohol and women. Rezman killed the hook and Phero delivered. ‘Currency’ is a piano-based pon pon beat that’s heavily carried by snares and timely drums. On it, Phero engages a bit of braggadocio as he discusses money.
‘Talk’ features Danny Joe. It’s a galala song with hip-life leanings and Igbo hi-life elements. It’s a dedication to God as Pherow remembers his background that lacks a silver spoon vis-a-vis where he currently finds himself – a success. ‘Coo’dan’ is the built on a beat successfully finds a bridge between pop/dance music and Hip-Hop – it’s so amazing as the second-best song on this album.
‘Coo’dan’ is a stylized way of saying ‘Cool down’ and Phero used the song as a warning to people who ‘over-ginger.’ ‘Check Am’ features Rezman again and it’s another lo-fi afro-pop love song. Tha Phero could have done without it though. ‘Dope’ is the third-best song on this album – the beat is rich on legato strings with beautifully arranged drums.
]]>With the song, Phero hypes himself and declares, “I don’t care if radio play this…” ‘Malova’ means ‘My Love.’ It’s another forgettable love song. ‘Holla At My Name’ marks the best song on this song – Phero absolutely ate his verse just OD – now known in some circles as Bobby Zamani – returns with a typically monstrous verse.
Phero’s verse is one of the best Nigerian Hip-Hop has seen in 2020. Danny Joe aces that hook. ‘Things You Do’ is a filler while ‘Joy Comes In The Morning’ is a song gratitude. Shout-out to Enzo who excels on that hook.
This is an album that sees Phero make music that he wants to make. However, one questions if Pherow could have mixed the best songs from King David and Tha Phero into one album. The major problem with Tha Phero is the excessive features and the glaring lack of a thematic identity. Nonetheless, Tha Phero still sells an experience; an enjoyment.
Welcome back, Phero.
• 0-1.9: Flop
]]>• 2.0-3.9: Near fall
• 4.0-5.9: Average
• 6.0-7.9: Victory
• 8.0-10: Champion
Pulse Rating: /10
Tracklist and Track arrangement: 1.8/2
Content, Themes and Delivery: 1.0/2
]]>Enjoyability and Satisfaction: 1.3/2
6.5 – Victory