First of all production kudos to the up and coming producer Chopstix, Don Jazzy and all other producers that worked on this album. I must give that first kudos to them because from what I can hear on the record, they all obviously tried to bring new beats to the table. Ice Prince sadly kept on dragging them into the same old, same old. I listened to track after track hoping for something different. looking for that rapper that wow'd us all with Oleku, Super Star and the entire "Everybody Loves IcePrince" compilation but this album got more and more disappointing the more I listened on.
"Whiskey" featuring veteran Sunny Nneji could have easily passed for one of the best songs of the album with the high-life rhythm and groove of the song if Ice hadn't confused us with the title, hook and verse of the song. We deserve an explanation for why a song should have such an ambiguous overview. Only Wizkid is allowed such ambiguity and that's because, he is Wizkid. Ice continued with the ambiguity on the track titled "Jambo" at a point I wasn't sure what I was listening to, I just had to hit the next button.
Generally guest artistes on this record did alot to revive the soul of the album, "Gimme Dat" featuring Burna Boy, Olamide & Yung L is probably the best track on this Album. Burna Boy delivered beyond expectations, Olamide and Yung L also came in hard. Another song worthy of mention is "Stars and Lights" featuring Ruby Gyang. Ruby delivered powerful vocals on this song, I wish she had a verse or at least a bridge on the song. This is also one of the few tracks on the album that Ice Prince did not slack on or bore us with unrelating cool stories. Other features on the Album came off as being either disappointingly average or simply boring. One of such tracks is "Komotion" featuring Wizkid. Wizkid being one of those artistes whose voice one to looks out for, I have to categorically say, made zero effort on this song. It sounded like one of Wiz's in-house freestyles that got leaked. I automatically got bored after the hook. Ice Prince' attempt to revive the song just kept dragging the song deeper into the abyss. Compared to their previous collaborations on "Olofofo" and "Hold Yuh (cover)" this is a very disappointing performance. "Kpako" featuring M.I and Ex Choc Boy Jesse Jagz should have been a hit if It didn't sound like I was listening to "More" the remix. M.I is getting more and more watery by the day and seriously that should make us, enthusiasts of Nigerian music worried. Jesse Jagz also came in with his reggae fusion, which I must admit we're bored of already, another average song I must say. Though an all round average song the trio managed to spin a track that will stick to your head with this song. The catchy hook, will remain on mental replay for a long time trust me, kudos to Ice for that.
Ice Prince's international collaborations took the format most International collaborations done by Nigerian artistes take; over produced songs with a sub par performance by the so-called "International" artiste, FOZ didn't do any different from that norm. Wale sounded like he was unexpectedly booted into the studio to record and impress his "people back home". We know you're Nigerian Wale, you don't have anything to prove to us, now give us a world-class verse not a cheap freestyle-look-alike, knock-off version! "Mercy" featuring U.K based rapper chip offered nothing to the LP, the song was so average that you probably wouldn't believe there was a foreign act on the track unless you're told. Don't even get me started on "I Swear" featuring French Montana. Ice Prince sounded so excited to be on that song, French Montana's drag verse and sloppy punches made the song sound like a soundtrack to a terrible gangster movie starring Jim Ikye and Mr Ibu.
Well, before y'all think I'm another hater, I have to point out some awesome tracks on the album, "Tipsy" featuring Wale and Morell, turned to be better after a few replays. "N-Word" produced by Don Jazzy is also a good song, despite the Rick Ross impersonation, Ice was doing throughout the song, it's pretty awesome when you're driving. Of course tracks like "Aboki", "More" and "Gimme Dat" that already circulated the media before this album release are all awesome tracks in their own accords. "No Die Tomorrow" can also pass for a great song after a lot of replays and alcohol.
In Conclusion I have to admit as much of a Chocolate City empire fan as I am, the label hasn't been living up to expectations in the most recent times, losing two key star artistes and to cap it all, allowing Ice Prince to release this watery album is a big fail on their part. Most of this album sounded like I was listening to a free mix tape and the album i paid for itself will be released soon. The album itself couldn't pass up for the commercialism we all recognize Ice Prince for. There seemed to be no improvement on the standards already set by E.L.I, most of the album sounded like I was listening to E.L.I on new instrumentals, especially with the "Aboki" format Ice has consciously infused into every song. The album didn't sound like what you'd expect from the Ice Prince who has had countless tours in the U.K and The U.S and hence should have gained more exposure. Overall the album was very tiring to listen to and offered very little excitement to the average Afro-Hip Hop enthusiast expecting a banger from his favorite artiste. To make things worse, there was so much reggae infusion into Ice' verses, that lyrically only few songs didn't have evidence of Ice Prince's inner rasta man, for a supposed rap album, it got annoying at a point.
I honestly don't know how Ice came up with the Title "Fire of Zamani", there was clearly no heat or burn from this album that we had not felt already from E.L.I. In fact the albums should switch names as it is clear from the delivery of this album, Ice Prince just took advantage of the love of fans for him to release this watery album. E.L.I definitely had more fire. Grab a copy and review for yourself. Its out in stores nationwide.
Overall Rating : 4.8/10
Written by : @ToyeTrill
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