Next Year is Octopizzo’s fourth studio album, released April 20th 2018, marking Octopizzo’s celebration of 10 years in music business. Its tone, somber yet wavy and mature, reflects on the growth curve and lessons Octo has garnered over the years, making the album a kind of homecoming for him. As a rapper – what sets Octopizzo aside from any other rapper is his passion for making the world a better place and making his listeners better people. Attesting to this, Next Year is heavily conscious. It’s a product of his inspirations from traveling around the globe in the past 12 months.
The old man in “Intro” and first song of the album “We Can” is juxtaposition for how the album sets us back to Octopizzo’s roots. Majority of the album tracks like “Wavy”, Jazzy, “Monopoly” and “BITD” are so wavy and perfect for setting the mood right. Tracks like “Young Puffy”, “Noma Ni” which touches on his recent beef with Khaligraph, and “Make Peace” are classic hip hop tunes and a show off for why Octopizzo still is the punny king of punchlines.
Award-winning international recording artiste from Canada – Nitasha Randhawa is featured on two tracks. Both “Miss Me” and “Past” are perfect R&B / hip hop radio tunes, with the latter more powerful and eclectic, encouraging us to move forward despite all the troubles or challenges because we are still alive. Nitasha is my standout collaborator of the album. Thanks Octopizzo for spreading your wings and introducing us to this songstress with a voice to reckon.
My standout tracks of the album are “Nu Afrika” and “Let’s Get it” featuring Kay Green. The sound and message of “Nu Afrika” redefines Octopizzo’s expression, and hip hop. This is what new Africa is about—versatility, originality and ability to rejuvenate. “Let’s Get it” on the other hand has got the freshest beat akin to the cool rhythmic keys in Camp Mulla songs and Beyonce’s “Party”. This Kenyan Kay Green rapper sounds like the future – if you ask me. Other featured artistes on the album include Taio Tripper and Octopizzo’s daughter Tracy on “EIGHT” – super cute.
The album is inspired by his late mother: Mrs Millicent Ohanga with one of it’s dripping creative album art works being taken from an olden family picture shot at Kibera’s Darajani studio on a Christmas Day. “Next Year is dedicated to “those of us who have always kept trying; those who have managed to break the Stereotypical boundaries and society classism that they were born in and those who will always stay real even when it jeopardizes your society status”- Octopizzo stated.
If you didn’t realize already – the choice of the album title is witty. If you listen to Next Year in its entirety you will understand how complete Octopizzo’s career currently feels to him but then why title his album Next Year while it’s dropping this year? Well, Octo is smart enough to always be ahead of himself so this year’s win is a peek into next year’s. “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. Only a man who has felt ultimate despair is capable of feeling ultimate bliss,” he concluded.
Next Year is by far Octopizzo’s most versatile and radio friendly album. It’s the kind of hip hop for all, going back to the basics. I highly recommend all its 17 tracks—outstanding mood and rhymes from one of the greatest rappers from Kenya: self-proclaimed Kibera’s finest.
BONUS: Get the album on iTunes. The album launch concert will be 4th May in Nairobi at The Alchemist.
I am reviewing 10 African Music Albums in 10 Days, check the list below: