The evolution of Adekunle Gold has more to it than just facial looks or fashion aesthetics. At the center of it all is a change in sound. The man has strayed far from the shy love crooner who could barely make a proper dab in DJ Enimoney ft. Olamide’s Oya Dab Music video six years ago. His hair was shorter and he was much slimmer. Fast forward to 2022, and you’ll find a father, a husband, and a flamboyant man who seems to be in full control of his thoughts and actions. A man who looks like what he wants, a man who sings what he wants.
When Adekunle Gold released his debut album, titled “Gold,” under the YBNL record label in 2016, he was widely perceived as an Highlife musician. To the public and mainstream media, he was the Ebenezer Obey or King Sunny Ade of the modern era. Songs like Orente, No Forget, and Pick Up will inevitably be viewed as classics for many years to come, mostly as a result of their thought-evoking lyrics on romantic love, endurance, and godliness. The album was also a commercial success. It was positively acclaimed both at home and abroad. Going so far as to debut at number seven on Billboard’s World Album chart.
For his second album, About 30, Adekunle Gold simply picked up where he left off. The sound, as well as the lyrics, were similar to his first. Songs like Ire and Money will be remembered for their soulfulness and gospel-inspired renditions. However, the sixteenth and final song on the album, Call on Me can be singled out for its dancehall, Afrobeat fusion, and the intoxicating high-pitched chants from his wife, Simi. The song will eventually set the tone for the sound and feel of his next and most successful album, Afropop, Vo 1.
Afropop, Vol 1
On Afropop, Vo 1. Adekunle Gold reinvented himself. His new AG Baby persona came alive on the album. His sound became more mainstream, his lyrics more mundane. His fashion style was more appealing. And as the success of songs like “AG Baby” and “Okay” will later reveal, Adekunle Gold has successfully made his way into mainstream Afropop music.
Catch Me If You Can
His new project, Catch Me If You Can, can be described as a continuation of the Afropop, Vol. 1 era. The opening track, Born Again, is a befitting intro to the album. Although just 112 seconds long, the track is filled with impeccable instrumentation, which consists of a refreshing chant by Fatoumata Diawara and an impressive periodical guitar riff. Sinner, It Is What It Is and High were already critically acclaimed singles, released in a 6-month time frame leading to the release of the album.
Songs like Mase Mi and More Than Enough remind us of the proverbial lyricism and highlife-inspired tunes that characterized Adekunle Gold’s first two albums. Apart from Davido, all the features on the Catch Me If You Can project are from the international scene, with about 50% being American. Both Ty Dolla $ign and Stefflon Don made wonderful contributions to their featured tracks, One Woman and FYE.
Although there is the presence of some not-so-great tracks, such as Sleep, on the album, Adekunle Gold’s ability to infuse sweet melodies with Afro-instrumentation, makes the album an impressive body of work that is worthy of good listening. All indications show that Adekunle Gold will continue to reinvent his looks and sound. And we can only wait in anticipation of what the artist will morph into, in the coming years. Whatever the case may be, we expect nothing less than what he has already become. A ground-breaking artistic mastermind.