Review: Exposit Deluxe Album
Publisher: Beige and Crow Nigeria
I remember the first time I read a book, the memory remains fresh in mind, as if it has just happened a few minutes ago but in actual fact, that was sometime in the early new 2000s. The book: “The Lion and the Jewel” written by the revered theatric and playwright --Professor Wole Soyinka, was one coloured with a refreshing stint of hilarity, mastered use of languages and at the same time, a pragmatic reflection of the society at the time of the writing.
Exactly 17 years down the lane, I am exposed to a similar experience. This time, an audio form of literature, from a school of wordsmiths who vocalizes his deep-seated contention and conviction as Spoken Word Poetry. Spoken Word most times uses the magic of music as an alibi.
This Audio work is a book and a city-criers LP, perhaps a way to reach out to more people beyond the small mass of the converted literati. This collection of Audio poems brings our minds to current realities reassert itself in our daily living. Each track is appreciated depending on the level of influences and imagination but leaving none with something to engage and enjoy.
The author/ artiste of the Exposit Album is REZthaPoet, a Nigerian poet whose influences cut across the Yoruba folk, Jazz, Fuji, and Highlife. His Exposit album also echoes Nigerian bards like Niyi Osundare and Wole Soyinka. Adebola Afolabi, tells stories within his poems and his craft gradually garners an Afrocentric feel with all the Jazz, the Pidgin and the English usage rather than an abstruse form of expression that is becoming the order in contemporary times. At some point, he employs the use of the Yoruba dialect without losing the sweetened bud of brilliantly crafted puns, idioms, and morals for all.
The introductory sounds are reminiscent of RnB beats of late 80s to the mid 90s, then Rezthapoet’s flips the sound in ‘AWOOF’. The Spoken Word piece is a listener’s delight. The poet takes a lash at gluttons, as bemoans the excess and its flatulent repercussions. ‘Awoof dey run belle’, he insists. Using the metaphor of gluttony, he condemns the overarching desire for material wealth, and extends the conversation to women of easy virtues who play chess with their flesh on the board of life. A young man rips off his brother who lives in the Diaspora in order to party and feel big, on the notification of his brother’s return, he slumps into confusion. REZ explores the greed of governments and cyber criminals into a fusion of a national idiom—‘Awoof dey run Belle’.
GERMANE maintains the same progression as AWOOF but conveys an abstractness that speaks randomly of life, the rage of love and the fantasy of money. The audio-chapter features Adol, a singer who serenades the romantic piece. The poet pleads with his lady;
Jowo ma doju timi
(oh love, don’t refuse my hearted call)
Iwo ni Mo Fe fi saya
(I have chosen you as my heartthrob).
Bliss is an interlude to the poem. ‘The Future’ which challenges young people to take their destinies into their own hands. While the poet ponders on the definition of poetry in the realm of social construct, the poet is clear about the fact that young people should begin to create their own futures.
‘The Future that beckons is you’
‘Because the future that reckons is you’.
The downside of Rezthapoet’s album is that it critical engagement is knocked off by his satire. My fear is that the work may merely be enjoyed without being employed as a tool for social reconstruction. Although the last two poems exhibited the dignified command of their stances, other left this listener wondering whether his comic jibes have a place in hitting the conscience of the people.
Lloffa verges towards folklore more than any of the pieces in the album. It’s verse that is deep and suggests several codes from the Yoruba wars to present National crisis. Only the initiates of poetry can venture into Llofa and this I suspect is deliberate of the poet. His ‘One and the Same’ aided by an ad lib from the legendary Fuji maestro- Ayinde Barrister is clear and vehement as he talks of national historical phases, religious differences, and reechoes the warning of the Fuji Maestro in its 2003 Album, Omo Nigeria. Barrister’s voice will lead one into a nostalgia of great artistes gone, and a reflection on the urgencies that Nigeria has long ignored.
I am is a self-praise, an Oriki of the performer and poet. This is in tradition of the bards where there is the poet reveals him in a semi-autobiography after he had allowed his craft to go before his name.REZthaPoet’s I AM reveals so much about him and his sense of the world; especially his regard for tradition and culture despite the inclusion of Jazz. REZthaPoet’s Oriki is modern without discarding the old, therefore forming an accessible lore.
REZthaPoet is a Spoken Word Poet and Wordmeastro to watch, his verses are profound but he is unafraid to experiment. However, there is still a lot to learn from generational poets of the page to emerge in the pantheon of legends and poets. He is on his way, nonetheless.
Babatunde Odubanwo is a poet, writer and arts-curator-in-the making. He works at a corporate communication firm but finds joy in the expression of the arts in all genres.