Music is a composite venture, with usually more than one component involved, hence the need for the inclusion of other parties. On the audio side, every artist needs the producer(s) to create a perfect soundscape. There are artists who produce their own music, but the number of those that need a help on the side of the mic vastly outweighs them.
It is almost impossible to overstate how important the quality of production is to the music, especially in what is a largely beat-driven musical landscape. But in what is a yin-yang relationship at the conception stages, the producers are usually the ones with the tendency to end up with the short end of the stick upon completion.
Some producers double down and add being vocalists to their repertoire in a bid to hold a longer length. While some producers enlist the talents of other singers/rappers on their own songs – better to be the glaring name in neon lights than being a footnote on the artwork or in the list of credits.
While a producer’s composition can be very expressive on its own, adding the vocal talents of one or more artists adds to the accessibility and appeal of a record. Both characteristics which are on full display on Kid Konnect’s recently released debut album, Secure Your Happiness.
This isn’t Kid Konnect’s first venture into tapping artists to make a body of work, with two solo EPs to his name – the first two installments of his aptly titled Small Chops series. He was also an integral part of the communal project, The Collectiv3 LP, one of the best albums to come out of Nigeria in recent times.
Secure Your Happiness is released under the moniker, ‘SONIKK’, because of Konnect’s love for the Sonic hedgehog game, replacing the final letter with the initials of his stage name. SYH is an open ended album filled with songs touching on various themes, with the most recurring being happiness. The album features fairly known but supremely talented artists like Tomi Thomas, Mojeed, Funbi, Ruckus, Ugovinna and many more. Nneka, Vector and Poe being the more popular artists on parade.
Due to the high number of featured artists on SYH, there is an immense diversity to the album that is colorfully pleasing. The combinations are tastefully done and the dynamic nature of these combos range from song to song, just like the artwork for each song also varies. Testament to the importance to detail while the album was being crafted, both big and small.
Small Chops 2 major collaborator, Pires Pameh is integral to SYH, being one of two artists (asides Konnect) with multiple features, 7 in total. “It’s okay to be happy, it’s okay to be you”, Pires sings persuasively over the percussion-driven, swaying afro-pop production of the intro, ‘It’s Ok‘. A song which preaches finding and sustaining happiness even in the face of daunting conditions.
‘It’s Ok‘ follows the sentiments of the first few words uttered at its beginning, “True happiness is when you’re content with the full spectrum of emotions you experience”. Kid Konnect further reinforces this path of contentedness on the final track, ‘Drink‘. Driven by high octane production and multiple beat switches, the sung lyrics on ‘Drink‘ are bathed in canal thoughts of drinking, smoking and casual sex. In an oxymoronic manner Kid Konnect relates spoken bit pieces in between about the flailing emotions that come from vapid highs, using examples from his experiences. The final message being; “you can be who you want to be, it just starts with a decision.”
The only other artist to be featured more than once is Tomi Thomas, he appears on two tracks. One of them is the tribal soul cut, ‘Boy From Wasteland’, an inspirational song about starting from the bottom and pushing on. ‘Boy‘ is much like ‘In The Ghetto‘ featuring Pires which also has the same thematic concept.
The other Tomi featured song is standout record, ‘Summer Love‘ which also features D-Truce and is co-produced by Ikon. The theme of the song spirals out of its title, picturing an ideal time together with a lover during summer weather conditions. The feel and catchiness of the ‘Summer Love‘ is encapsulated in its production, with disco-funk guitar riffs surrounded by boisterous drums that hit with the playful fervor of a pillow fight.
The songs with rapped deliveries on SYH also smack with accessibility, with varying degrees of seriousness attached to different tracks. The soul drenched canvas of ‘Beautiful Lie‘ is the most introspective of them, with Ruckus, Sola Soul and Beastie pushing out thoughtful bars on bad record contracts and racial injustice. Pires’ plaintively crooned hook holds together all three verses on ‘Beautiful Lie’ and he does the same with quirky hook on the revving ‘Lift Off‘ which features jamrock speed verses drooling with dexterity by Blaqbonez and Poe. AT slows things down eerily, with a grim-reaper-esque verse.
On the playful rap side, ‘Why You Lying‘ addresses dodgy debtors with a standout quicksilver verse by Mojeed. Vector also shows up to bring fun on ‘Claro‘, an airy ode to smoking weed and getting high. With the help of Tipsy Faya’s background adlibs, Vector sings with an impressive mild falsetto for most of the track, adding cheeky wordplay that come across as both eye widening and head scratching.
The major curse of curating a project that houses over a dozen guest features is stitching together the unique talents on array while managing to keep it compact. Kid Konnect pulls off both, putting together a controlled and compact album in Secure Your Happiness. What the album lacks in a total cohesion, it makes up for in being a colorful collage of ideas. Ensuring that anyone can walk in, pick what’s best suited for them and also listen from top to bottom.
Words by Dennis, aka SONIDD, aka @ayo_dennis.