Mr P’s ‘The Prodigal’ debut solo album arrives amidst fanfare

… but was it worth it?

Peter Okoye, under the stage name Mr P, has launched his debut album as a solo artist under One Management with the title “The Prodigal“. While this is his first major project as Mr P, Okoye is far from being a newbie to the game.

As the other half of the now-defunct P Square group, Peter Okoye has been making music since the early 2000s. Their debut album “Last Nite” came in 2003 and they dominated the Nigerian music industry for more than a decade.

However, as a solo artist, he is just testing familiar waters with what appears to be new legs. Ironically mistaken for being just ‘the dancer’ (and less of a singer) for the group he had formed with his twin brother, he has since outgrown that stereotype.

With “Cool It Down” and “For My Head” in 2017, Mr P has proven that he has the vocals to succeed in the Afropop industry. It took him only one year to win his first award as a solo artist, the Best International Male Artiste award at the International Achievement Recognition Awards (IARA) 2018.

Backed by years of making numerous hits with his brother, Peter Okoye understands his audience and he pulled all the stops in making his album a success.

The Prodigal album early announcement

Mr P announced that “The Prodigal” album was coming on 11 November 2020 after its initial June 2020 date failing due to his family contracting COVID-19. When the November date also proved impossible to meet up with, he had to move it to the following year.

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Within the first few days of March, Okoye released the album’s cover art and its 16 tracks listing that showed guest artists like Singah, Tiwa Savage, Mohombi, Simi, Teni, Tamar Braxton, DJ Switch, OvieKelz and Wande Coal.

The cover art showed Mr P with half of his face transformed into the likeness of a machine. He later explained that the intention was to show fans that while he is the same artist they had fallen in love with, he added something to make himself stronger. “Still old me but now added a stronger me! Cyborg,” Mr P explained in a tweet.

Additional information from the March 2021 announcement revealed that he produced two of the tracks himself, reminiscent of the fact that he was first a sound engineer before he even started singing. Goldswarm, ShugaVibez, Sarmy Fire, DaiHardBeats, and KealzBeats are the other producers that worked on the project.

Pre-released works and awareness

“The Prodigal” features some pre-released songs that have already done their work and may or may not be worth another listen. One such song is “Follow My Lead” featuring Nigerian Afropop icon Wande Coal which Mr P released back in December 2020.

There are also “Paloma” featuring new Nigerian artist Singah and “Just like that” featuring Congolese-Swedish musician Mohombi, both of which came out in March 2021 touting the album’s cover art.

To further create awareness for the project, Mr P engaged with fans in a question and answers session with the hashtag #TheProdigalQandA. It was during this that he explained the reason behind the name of his album:

“I know what you are thinking. I am not a Prodigal son and never would be. I am The Prodigal who has [a] son and he is so successful and independent,” the singer told a fan who said the title confused them.”

He further clarified the motivation behind the name, “I had to redefine it. The meaning of the prodigal is some one who chooses to live his own life with his own hard earned resources freely! [sic]”

But he was not done with the awareness that will precede the release of “The Prodigal”. On 1 April 2021, Mr P hosted a virtual concert for the project’s release featuring all the artists that were part of the work.

Mr P The Prodigal album release

With the stage set for the album to drop, Mr P took to Twitter to announce “The Prodigal” album release on 2 April 2021. He tweeted:

Here is “The Prodigal” complete tracklist:

  1. Odo
  2. Paloma ft. Singah
  3. I do ft. Tiwa Savage
  4. Boyfriend
  5. Just like that ft. Mohombi
  6. I love you ft. Simi, Teni & Tamar Braxton
  7. I no like Trouble
  8. Prodigal ft. DJ Switch
  9. Smooth Criminal
  10. Blessed
  11. Lola Diego ft. Singah
  12. Grow old ft. OvieKelz
  13. Eh lo
  14. Nobody
  15. Fly way
  16. Follow My Lead ft. Wande Coal

The album dropped under One Management, a talent management company that oversees Mr P’s affairs. The company also has actress Theresa Edem Isemin, former BBNaija housemate Rico Swavey, and TV present and producer Ajifa Atuluku signed under it.

Featured artists

The most recurring early criticism that “The Prodigal” album faced was that Mr P had not featured the big-name male artists who currently dominate the Nigerian music scene. Some mentioned that names like Wizkid, Davido, Burna Boy, Olamide, Rema, Omah Lay, or even Laycon would have made the album more attractive.

Considering that these artists have some of the biggest fanbases among their peers gives credence to these points raised. However, the artists that Mr P featured on his album are also not without large followings.

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Singah is the exception, and his appearance on two tracks is likely a way for Peter Okoye to promote him as he is signed under his record label P Classic records.

Tiwa Savage arguably has the largest number of fans among Nigerian female singers and both Simi and Teni can pull stream numbers as well. There is also American vocalist and TV personality Tamar Braxton as well as internationally successful Mohombi Moupondo.

DJ Switch has also become a force to reckon with after her contribution to the EndSARS struggle in 2020, which Mr P was also a part of. OviKelz is also a strong feature and while he may not be able to match others in popularity, some believe in his talent and ability.

Of course, not to forget that Wande Coal is one of the most respected Nigerian male vocalists and has attained legendary status. Thus, looking at the features overall, Mr P managed to pull a strong team for his album.

And, the most important thing is that his fans are enjoying it as the first reactions to the album are showing:

https://twitter.com/JessyProdigy/status/1377882272280555523?s=20

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About The Author

Obinna

Obinna is a fiction writer from Lagos, Nigeria, and grew up loving comic book characters and superheroes. He watches lots of action films and writes entertainment and technology articles. He is also interested in science and how things work.

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