A debut album functions to make a compelling statement on the direction and motivation behind the artist, and with ”Rasaking”, L.A.X impresses in bits but comes short in delivering a cohesive album that can be enjoyed from start to finish.
Across 15 original tracks, some songs jump at you immediately you press play, while others struggle to sustain the excitement that has been built up.
In many ways, Damilola Afolabi, who goes by the stage name, L.A.X, has paid his dues in the music industry. From his days as an affiliate of Wizkid’s Starboy imprint and featuring on records like ‘Caro’, the singer caught the eye of many with his ability to create vibey records, melodic hooks and lover boy anthems.
Over the years, he has however had to continually shed himself as he constantly put out singles that mirrored an artist seeking the direction that he wants to go with his music. Four years down the line and L.A.X sounds like a blossoming artist whose time has come, birthing the release of his debut studio album, ”Rasaking.”
The album opens with a solemn intro (‘Ile Aye’), that talks about his journey, current situation and the vanity of life, as he answers the many questions that his critics have laid before him, ”Them say Rasaki no go blow say him papa get money… them say na one hit wonder na him just sing, ginger…”
Then the album officially enters L.A.X territory on ‘Specially’, which begins with a bouncy feel as he speaks on a topic that is most common in most of his songs, ‘his love for girls’. ‘Say’ has that good and smooth vibe that will have you believing his every words.
Maleek Berry is the album’s first guest on ‘Slow Whine’, which is tailored for the dancefloor, while the Duncan Mighty wave that has hit the industry in recent months rolls a quiet and laidback storm on ‘Wassap’.
— #youngKingRasaki (@izzlax) October 16, 2018
Songs like ‘Mo Lowo’ and ‘Want It’ are easily disposable singles, not to mention the rather unnecessary skit with MC Lively and ‘Same Girl’ with Davido doesn’t exactly live up to the hype that the collaboration suggests, but has enough substance to pass as a radio single.
‘Money’ is assertive in declaring that he has lots to spend, while ‘Saro’ with Timi Boi and sensational talent Barry Jhay and ‘Bad’ featuring Yemi Alade impresses largely with its pleasing beats.
‘So Pe’ is another one that gives the album much more liveliness as he is grateful for God’s mercies, with the album closing with two previously released singles as bonus tracks, ‘Gbefun’ and ‘Panana’, that remain party starters with every play.
One striking feature about ”Rasaking” is that it is unsurprisingly linear in theme and exploration. Most of the songs sound exactly like records you have heard before, bordering on topics like party and girls, with simplistic lyrics and concept.
The album’s strength comes in form of the production on the project, which comes radiant and cogent with beatmakers like ClemzyOnDBeat, Fresh, Minz and Bizzouch all bringing their deft touch.
While the parade of collaborations also help breathe life into the album as a song like ‘Radio’, which is easily the album’s strongest showing featuring Moelogo and rapper, Sneakbo brings a totally different and much-needed deviation in sound to the album.
Even though this is his debut effort, L.A.X is in no way a newbie to the industry and his ability to score a good dance record is one that has kept his name present on the scene this long, but on this project, he needed to offer something more.
At its best moments, ”Rasaking” is moderately enjoyable; inoffensively sliding into your typical feel-good mainstream pop playlist.
Fair to say, L.A.X has found a formula that works for him, but with an over saturation of the pop scene with this type of sound, only time will tell the impact that ”Rasaking” will leave in the mind of listeners.
3-Worth Checking Out