Asake’s first commercial releases may have gone unnoticed, but with the release of his 30-minute album, “Mr. Money With The Vibe”, in September 2022, the Nigerian singer and rapper has risen to global reckoning, thrilling audiences with his broad range of music styles, voices and attitudes.
Asake’s music is characterized by his tongue-in-cheek delivery, jocular persona and self-deprecating rhymes with hip-hop influenced consumerist themes. He effortlessly blends different styles, from Afrobeats to R&B, hip-hop, and Jamaican dub, to create a unique sound.
His music also includes Yoruba street lingo, fuji, and amapiano, a South African house music subgenre, which he’s been embracing lately.
Born Ahmed Ololade, Asake is a highly inventive student of Nigeria’s Yoruba language, which he uses to create slang fresh from the streets, coupled with expressions popularized by fuji and the entire Isale Eko (downtown Lagos) army of street-dwelling miscreants. He brazenly embraces urban “hood” culture and its seductive promise of social rebellion, yet at the same time, he’s also endowed with a winning comic gift and a bad-boy-on-the-mend sort of aura.
Asake’s debut album is an exquisite piece of sonic art. His mastery of different styles, pacing, and sequencing is impeccable. The album’s blistering pace is one of its most distinctive features, followed by its seamless splicing (editing). He’s able to convert gospel-sounding ditties into profane and rabble-rousing secular anthems, which is one of the secrets of the album’s somewhat unexpected artistic success.
Most of Asake’s videos off the album are shot by TG Omori, a leading West African music video director who captures the frenetic pace and layering of the songs. They are eclectic and quirky, shot in different locations from Arizona to Lagos.
Asake’s free-wheeling sonic eclecticism is the key to his meteoric success. His joyous choral singing, ebullient fuji trimmings, repurposed iconic R&B grooves, street patois, good-natured urban hooliganism, immediacy, and openness make him difficult to categorize.
South African amapiano stars such as DBN Gogo and Major League DJz have expressed their awe and admiration for Asake’s album, stating that he’s amapiano. However, Asake is not just amapiano; he is a multi-talented Afrobeats star shaking up the music scene with his unique blend of music styles, attitude, and talent.