D’Prince has long been an underachiever. For what seemed like eons, the Mavin Records artiste couldn’t rap to save his own life, couldn’t carry a tune and spent his time creeping around in the shadows of ‘greater’ men: (D’banj), Wande Coal and Dr. SID. Call that his wilderness experience.
It’s 2013. Mo’Hits is all but forgotten, K-Switch has gotten the semblance of a life and Burna Boy is making hits like peanut butter sandwiches. It’s clearly a new age and Don Jazzy’s human porterage has finally paid off: he has lifted D’Prince, the least talented of the talents in his care, to a new level of musicianship. For the first time ever, there’s a purpose to the Take Banana singer’s formerly cringe-worthy ‘art’; a function to his form; a meaning to his musical existence. All of that is summed up in his latest single, Birthday.
Far from being a ground-breaking effort in isolation, Birthday carries the well-known sonic trademark of the 21st century Nigerian music laboratory: mindless audio fun, and can be easily dismissed as just another wannabe club hit. In isolation. The big picture is altogether different. Birthday is for D’Prince what Gobe is for Davido’s nascent career: proof that there can be a more, a rising above one’s self, the near-flawless sucker punch that reclaims the advantage in the final minutes of a bloody fight.
Thank Don Jazzy, again and again. With the Mavin Records honcho’s devilishly infectious instrumental providing a glittering backdrop, D’Prince’s vanilla vocals are smack in the middle of the spotlight on a stage that is as familiar to him as a Grammy is to R. Kelly. The Don is the kingmaker, and while D’Prince may not be royalty, this is the closest he has ever come to wearing a crown. Close, but not there yet. Still, you might want to play that back.