Lady Donli

One Year After: Revisiting M.I Abaga’s “Yxng Dxnzl”

M.I was on a mission. Alongside Loose Kaynon, A-Q and Blaqbonez, the self-ascribed rap messiah decided to take on a noble quest to force a re-awakening for Nigerian hip-hop: a once-celebrated genre now relegated to the background.

Probably taking a cue from the Kanye-led 5-album Wyoming releases, these rappers came together under the acronym L.A.M.B -coined out from the first letters from their names-to stage a series of album releases in August. Tagged the LAMB August releases, albums “Crown“, “Yung Denzl” and “Bad Boy Blaq” were the projects with which these rappers sought to restore and ensure the survival of the culture. 

All three projects were executive produced by M.I himself.

Exactly a year ago today, we finally got our hands on the long-teased and highly anticipated fourth studio album by Mr Incredible, “Yung Denzl,” the second offering in the string of LAMB August rollout. But that was not his only release last year. 

A few months earlier, the revered rapper released a  highly collaborative surprise ‘playlist’ titled “Rendezvous,” that boasted appearances from an all-star cast including  AKA, Cassper Nyovest, Wande Coal, Ghost(SDC) and introduced many to talents like Chillz, and many others. Perhaps this 2018 dual release was in celebration of the tenth anniversary of his 2008 classic, “Talk About It,” his debut and introductory release which many claim to have ‘democratized’ Nigerian hip-hop.

A Study On Self Worth: Yxng Dxnzl” would be the first of a said three-album series that would include yet-to-be-released LPs, “A Study of Love” and “A Study of Society”. However, despite the anticipation for the project, the exhilaration surrounding it faded rather quickly for a project of such quality. This could have been as a result of the fact that unlike his last two albums, “Yung Denzl” did not rely on pop or radio-friendly formulas as he explored and experimented with new sonic complexities on the album. Also, regardless of the laudable acclaim it got from critics given its depth, a huge number of listeners found it a bit too sombre, with some dismissing it as “TED Talk music“.  The promotion for the album was also rather deficient – perhaps trying not eclipse ‘Crown’ and ‘Bad Boy Blaq’ given his huge star power- such that even a year later, we still haven’t gotten any visuals off the project despite rumours of its existence. 

This, however, takes nothing from the brilliance of the project. Well-timed, M.I lent his voice to the growing awareness about mental health and self-worth in the country. Over ten songs, he explored in several layers issues like self-doubt, low self-esteem and even more extremely, depression that many youths are battling in silence. A year later, this album is relevant as ever, spurring conversations in small corners. It might not seem like much, but the album is doing its bits.

He passed his messages not only through verses and hooks but also with fiery monologues and therapy sessions alongside the music to get his message across. Soundbites from his therapy sessions were prevalent throughout the album often coming at the end of a track, serving as a prelude to another. By putting his vulnerability out there, he shows fans and listeners that it’s okay to seek help when you need it.

For the most part, M.I works with a wealth of young talents on the album, shedding the spotlight on these acts and in turn tapping into their talents, sound and raw energy. A number of them like Odunsi, Lady Donli and Tay Iwar have gone on to drop their debut albums.

The album opens with a gruff whisper questioning our sense of identity, “do you know who you are?” it asks. Sticking to a simple rhyme scheme, M.I charges the black man to begin his journey to self-awareness and discovery.

On songs like ‘Last Night I Had A Dream’, ‘Stop Never Second Guess Yourself’ and ‘I Believe In You’, M.I is concerned about our self-confidence, repeatedly nudging us throughout these songs to let go of our insecurities and self-doubt and find comfort in our skin.

Love Never Fails‘ reflects on missteps taken to check mental health in this part of the world largely as a result of culture and religion-induced ignorance.

Perhaps the most pop-leaning record on the album, ‘+/-‘ finds M.I alongside Odunsi and Lady Donli -new-gen frontliners- ridding themselves of all negativity vibes, focusing solely on the positives. 

In full elder statesman mode, M.I attempts to force a change with ‘You Rappers Should Fix Up’, fuming at the sorry state of the art. And say what you will about this record, it’s inarguable that it defibrillated a pulse back into the Nigerian hip-hop scene howbeit temporal.  

The penultimate track, ‘Self Evaluation Over Yxng Dxzl’ is the standout record off this project. Over a gloomy instrumental,  M.I drowns in darkness, picking up escapist vices to numb the pain. He does a good job taking a first-person narrative on the song putting himself in the shoes of a depressed creative, despite revealing that he actually hasn’t had a personal experience.

Picking up where he left off on ‘Everything’ off “Illegal Music 3“, M.I in ‘Do Not Be a Groupie‘ emphasises the importance of loyalty while decrying the deterioration of the virtue in today’s world, an issue he still touched on in his verse on SDC‘s ‘Respect, Loyalty and Honour‘.

It’s been one year since the “Yung Denzl” dropped and it’s still as relevant as ever. The LAMB August releases did not save Nigerian hip-hop but with this album, the legacy-focused veteran did something more remarkable. In his mature and most refined self, he contributed to the growing awareness about our psychological well-being, a theme that rappers have come to be more open about this past year.  While Yung Denzl might not be his best or most popular album, it is by far the most important.

Lady Donli discusses her debut album “Enjoy Your Life” on the PGM Radio Show

In this episode, Lady Donli stopped by at the PGM Club with her A&R Chubbz (Seni Saraki) also (Editor-in-Chief, Native Magazine) to discuss her debut album Enjoy Your Life and how the project is so personal to her and her current state of mind.

Listen To Bella’s New Celebratory Zanku Anthem ‘Agbani’

In celebration of her birthday today, Bella Alubo has released a new single ‘Agbani‘. The celebratory record is titled after Agbani Darego who won the Miss World in 2001, making her the first native African to do so.

This is Bella’s third single in about a month, after releasing ‘Your Way‘ with Fasina and teaming up with Lady Donli on ‘Unavailable‘ which dropped just a week ago.

Produced by TUC, ‘Agbani‘ finds a jolly Bella hopping on the Zanku wave. Happy birthday Bella!

Lady Donli Releases Debut Album “Enjoy Your Life”

Ladies and gentlemen, the time has come to enjoy your life! About five years after dropping her first project, “Love or War,” Lady Donli has finally released her highly anticipated debut album, “Enjoy Your Life.”

In the last few weeks, President Donli has been appointing enjoyment ministers and reporters for the Federal Republic of Enjoyment and now its time for time to fully deliver.

This album which has been in the works for two years is a 15 track album, in which Lady Donli brings along a team of supremely gifted new-gen acts including Tems, Benjiflow, Somadina, Amaarae, Vanjess, Tomi Thomas, Solis and of course the Cavemen who executive produced the album alongside Donli. The engineering of the album is mainly handled by the grandmaster GMK, save for ‘Around‘ which was mixed by Tay Iwar.

Lady Donli

Tracklist for “Enjoy Your Life” (Twitter/LadyDonli)

Enjoy Your Life, is about spreading the message of happiness and love in the way that it should be, could be-and about treating people better,” she says in an interview with Indie Mag.

The album, however, comes with a caveat. “Please do not shuffle. Listen from start to bottom or don’t listen at all” she wrote in all caps in her final declaration before the release of the album.

Lady Donli Has One Last Message For Us As She Unveils Savoury Tracklist For “Enjoy Your Life”

With just a few hours remaining to “Enjoy Your Life,” Lady Donli has unveiled the tracklist for her highly anticipated debut album. This comes with an accompanying declaration that sets the mental tone for the album scheduled for release tomorrow.

For the 15-track project, Lady Donli brings along a super team of Tems, Benjiflow, Somadina, Amaarae, Vanjess, Tomi Thomas, Solis and the Cavemen.

Forget all you knew about me” she warns in the accompanying declaration. She further revealed that the Donli we are going to be hearing on this tape is a reformed one that has been shaped by her experiences, feelings and a genuine desire to understand and perfect her craft.

“Enjoy Your Life” is, therefore, presenting a new Donli, one that is fueled by her desire to create a timeless piece that reflects herself and her culture.

Executive produced by herself and The Cavemen, the album is singlehandedly engineered by the grandmaster GMK, save for ‘Around‘ which was mixed by Tay Iwar.

One last thing. If you must listen to the album, enjoy it from start to bottom. In Lady Donli’s exact words, “DO NOT SHUFFLE!

Lady Donli Reveals “Enjoy Your Life” Release Date In Grand Style

The wait is finally over and the countdown has officially begun! The long-awaited and highly anticipated debut album from Lady Donli -the alte queen herself – is set to be released on Friday, August 9. Titled “Enjoy Your Life,” this album would be her first body of work since her 6-track long “Letter to Her” EP released to good reviews in 2017.

The soon-to-be-released album is led by pre-released singles ‘Cash’ and the recently released ‘Suffer Suffer‘ although the official tracklist for the album is still under wraps.

About an hour ago, the singer took to her Twitter to announce the release date of the album with a beautiful accompanying video. It opens with Lady Donli jaywalking with a piece of distorted music in the background. It then quickly switches to a brilliant spoken word by SETinubu, over several clips of Lady Donli performing live on her tour and ending with a bold inscription of the album title and its release date.

No doubt, this thrilling video is a topping to the unconventional but brilliant rollout of this project and has further heightened the anticipation for its release.

In a recent interview with Indie Mag, she revealed that “the new album, Enjoy Your Life, is about spreading the message of happiness and love in the way that it should be, could be-and about treating people better.”

Watch the video for ‘Cash’ one of the lead singles off the album below.

Lady Donli Chases Away Hardship In New Single ‘Suffer Suffer’

After the 10-day countdown led by Lady Donli herself, the second single off her highly anticipated album, “Enjoy Your Life” is finally here! This new single titled ‘Suffer Suffer‘ is one she refers to as her most “special record to date” and it comes just a couple of weeks after her last nostalgic release, ‘Comforter‘. Although the single isn’t a part of the album rollout. Therefore, ‘Suffer Suffer‘ picks up where ‘Cash‘ left off in the release cycle of the coming project.

In ‘Suffer Suffer‘, Donli outrightly rejects hardship, poverty and suffering, and as the title of her album implies, she wants to enjoy her life to the fullest just like almost everyone else. Through the record, Donli invites the listener to her life journey and goals, particularly narrating her hustle story of how she left the warmth and comfort of her home in Abuja to come to make a good life for her self while doing what she loves best in Lagos.

The tune follows the thematic Afrocentric sound of the imminent project, and it is heavily inspired by Fela Anikulapo Kuti‘s afrobeat particularly in the delivery of the chorus and the ensuing chants right after.

In a recent interview with Indie Mag, Donli reveals that the album is about “spreading the message of happiness and love in the way that it should be, could be-and about treating people better,” and both ‘Cash’ and ‘Suffer Suffer‘ are definitely testaments to that end.

Enjoy the record and join Lady Donli in chasing suffering away.

Lady Donli Teases New Single ‘Suffer Suffer’

Looks like Lady Donli‘s debut album, “Enjoy Your Life” is almost upon us. The singer took to her Twitter yesterday to confirm that the long-awaited project is ready and also promised a big announcement today. In respect of that promise, Lady Donli revealed earlier today that the next single off “Enjoy Your Life” is due for release in just ten days. Just a few days ago, the singer treated us to a nostalgic R&B release ‘Comforter’, although according to her, the record isn’t a part of the expected project.

The promised new single titled ‘Suffer Suffer‘ is expected to be released next Friday, July 12 . This is set to pick up where ‘Cash‘ left off in the album release cycle for her debut L.P, thus making it the second official single off the project. She describes this very record is one like no other, one she describes as her “most special record to date.”

In a recent interview, Donli reveals that her debut album “Enjoy Your Life” is about “spreading the message of happiness and love in the way that it should be, could be-and about treating people better.” And after listening to the record ‘Cash‘, she seems to be on track with her goal for the project, one we expect this new single to further.

Remember, just ten days!!

Lady Donli Reveals She Was Broke And Frustrated When She Recorded ‘Cash’

Ever since Lady Donli released ‘Cash‘ in March, many of us haven’t been able to get enough of the record. Despite the fact that it might have not clinched mainstream commercial success, the highly relatable record has generated so much buzz online that some have even dubbed it their summer anthem of 2019. Even Donli herself seems to be so much in love with the record.

However, she revealed in a recent interview that, ironically, she wasn’t going through the best of times emotionally and financially when she crafted the record with The Cavemen. To the surprise of many, the positive-energy spurring cut was borne of a time when Donli was broke, frustrated and stressed.

When asked how she came about the song in the interview with Indie Mag, Lady Donli replied “It actually came from a really stressful place; I’d graduated from university, I left my home in England and went back to Nigeria. I was staying at my dad’s house and travelling back and forth to Lagos, because that’s where most of the music is. One weekend I decided not to come back. I was sleeping anywhere, in a studio, on a sofa.

Me and my band were in the beginning stages, still getting used to each other. We were jamming, and I was like ‘guys I’m so frustrated, and I’m so broke!’ We decided to make a song about money and the quest for having cash. The song came from a place of frustration, but it makes me so happy to see people vibing to it.”

In the interview, she also discussed her debut album set for release later this year. According to her, “the new album, Enjoy Your Life, is about spreading the message of happiness and love-in the way that it should be, could be-and about treating people better.”

She also discussed her career journey, her influences, her relationship with other new wave Nigerian acts and more in the interview. By next month, she is expected to continue the roll-out for the album with the release of the next single in July. A song which she describes as her most special number to date.

Enjoy ‘Cash’ below.

Lady Donli Releases New Single ‘Comforter’

Lady Donli is full album mode. Officially kicking off her album release cycle with ‘Cash‘ in April which has been generating positive reviews on social media, Lady Donli is following this up with yet another single. She had teased this single in a video clip on Twitter over a month ago, which left fans with stretched hands to be blessed by the new single. And now, the single titled ‘Comforter‘  is finally here and its produced and engineered by JMS.

This new single sadly didn’t make the cut for her debut album “Enjoy Your Life” scheduled for release later this year. According to her, this is an appreciative record dedicated to fans and well-wishers for their love and unflinching support over the years. The infectious record is one that would take you on a trip down memory lane its production and songwriting are reminiscent of Nigerian R&B in the very early 2000s.

This record is expected to hold us down till the continuation of the roll-out of the album with the second single set to be released next month.


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