In this week’s Pulse Afrobeats throwback, we’ll be revisiting Flavor’s masterpiece ‘Blessed’ to celebrate its 10th anniversary.
After enjoying commercial success with their previous album ‘high’Flavor was one body of work away from being the biggest star to emerge from the mainstream Southeastern scene, and to do so he created the 18-track album he called ‘Blessed’.
The album blended Igbo Highlife with mainstream pop, R&B and Caribbean sonic elements to create an exceptional body of work that shattered any glass ceiling for Igbo-speaking artists in mainstream Nigeria.
As for the hits‘Blessed’ has the evergreen’Ada Ada’ which is a Highlife record on which he deftly showcased his singing prowess and ability to mold the melody to deliver a smooth record that continues to play at marriage ceremonies ten years after its release.
The album had ‘Shake off’ Y “Baby Oku (Dance)” where Flavor delivered a party jam over a lively beat and heady melody that made light work of language barriers. after deliver ‘Ashawo’ two years earlier, Flavor needed to prove he wasn’t a one-hit wonder and with ‘Shake off’, was able to prove this. The song also highlighted Flavour’s proven ability to deliver vulgar and lewd content in such an engaging manner that it is said to have drawn the Irk of a famous Catholic priest. Father Mbaka while based in Enugu.
In ‘Oku baby’ offered himself to a larger audience in a party anthem delivered in English and pidgin with a sprinkling of a few Yoruba lines. The song was a chart success, as there was P-squareThe famous delivery of pop rap with the melody of his previous hits assembled on a fast BPM common with the hit songs of the time.
There’s also ‘I don’t mind’ the tingling jam featuring the popular Igbo Pop star Wizard whose bachelor ‘owusagi’ and ‘Screen saver’ was very successful in the east and also reached other parts of Nigeria.
Flavor intended to build on the commercial success he had found with ‘high’ and I needed songs that connected with a broader demographic to do that. An example of such a song is ‘chinny baby’ the R&B love album where he sings in English.
Haven had international success in francophone countries and in South Africa with ‘Ashewo’Flavor built on this crossover success with ‘Kwarikwa’ which has francophone power Fally Ipupa.
With ‘Blessed’, Flavor has something for everyone and was able to tap into different listener bases as he set out to become a star. Union of flavors with talented producer masterkraft he delivered an album that took with him his first fans, brought him new ones and also expanded his base beyond Nigeria, which is unprecedented in mainstream Igbo music.
In terms of immediate success, songs like ‘Shake’, ‘Ada Ada’, Y “Baby Oku (Dance)” They were instant hits.
The album was nominated for Best R&B/POP Album and Best Album at the 2013 Headies Awards, while Flavor was also nominated for Artist of the Year. And it remains a mystery how ‘Ada Ada’ didn’t get a Song of the Year nomination.
In terms of impact, ‘Blessed’ It elevated Flavor to star status and shattered every glass ceiling an Igbo-speaking artist might have had to deal with in Nigeria’s mainstream market.
The album has aged well, as several tracks on the album are still relevant and the project is still fondly remembered. Ten years later, ‘Blessed’ it has achieved classic status and critics agree it is Flavour’s masterpiece.