VIRAL WRECKAGE (TRANSLUCENT RED LP)
Coloured 12 Inch
Translucent red vinyl.
Bisola Olungbenga was just nine years old when she started writing music. Encouraged by her piano playing mom, she would come home from school and compete with her sister, dreaming up verses and choruses for rewards of candy. Since then, Olungbenga has evolved into Aunty Razyor, one of Nigeria's most vibrant emerging artists - a cross-genre innovator who blends hip-hop, Afrobeat, R&B and experimental sounds into an energetic portrait of contemporary Lagos. "Viral Wreckage" is Olungbenga's debut album, and follows the breakout success of her viral 2021 street anthem 'Kuku Corona'. This time she's assembled a lineup of some of the world's most exciting producers to help realize her vision: Congolese singer, guitarist and producer Titi Bakorta, young Ugandan producer Ill Gee, veteran Japanese innovator Scotch Rolex, Sao Paulo-based baile funk producer DJ Cris Fontedofunk, French beatmaker Debmaster, Nigerian singer and producer Slimcase, and Kenyan avant pop futurist Kabeaushé. 'Stuttrap' is the first blast of sound we hear, and Olungbenga quickly pilots us into her sonic universe, rapping assertively in Yoruba and English over Scotch Rolex's chrome-plated trap backdrop. It's not far removed from the producer's work with Kenyan/Ugandan underground star MC Yallah, but Aunty Rayzor's incendiary, tongue-twisting raps coax listeners into a musical expression that's hard to define and only gets more expansive when we hit 'Doko'. Featuring Slimcase, who's collaborated with Nigerian superstars like Wizkid and Mr Eazi, this track melts together swinging West African rhythms with complex poetics from both Slimcase and Rayzor. Olungbenga slips into a different mode again on 'Bounce' - one of the album's most dancefloor-ready cuts - almost whispering over a corrosive neo-baile shuffle from DJ Cris Fontedofunk. Sao Paulo is responsible for some of the world's most effervescent dance music right now, and with Rayzor on vocals the result is predictably explosive, making connections between vital street music from two separate continents. Recent Nyege Nyege signing Titi Bakorta brings Olungbenga into another different zone on 'Fall Back', linking to vintage Afrobeat with low-slung guitar riffs that perfectly compliment Rayzor's soaring vocals. Bakorta's voice is the perfect foil, centering the track in traditions that stretch back through Nigerian history without sounding nostalgic. Kabeaushe' hits a similarly complimentary note on 'You not worthy of my love', twisting Rayzor's AutoTune-mangled rhymes into fresh-faced avant R&B that sits a few paces from the mainstream without losing its infectious sing-along quality. And that's the key to unravelling "Viral Wreckage" - Olungbenga is able to be eclectic but sharply focused, bringing in sounds from across a wide world of musical innovation without sacrificing her Nigerian identity. It's an album that's almost effortlessly creative, and one that comes straight from the heart of an artist who's deserves a way larger platform.