Is Catch Me If You Can album Adekunle Gold’s magnum opus or can he pull another rabbit out of his hat?

A Gem For Your Soul - Jamil Ad
A Gem For Your Soul - Jamil Ad

Will Adekunle Gold ever be able to repeat his Catch Me If You Can album feat, or has he peaked already with this far-reaching project?

When Adekunle Gold debuted onto the music scene in 2015 with “Sade,” a cover of One Direction’s 2013 hit “Story of My Life,” his sound and music style was labeled alternative. At the time, he sounded very different from other mainstream Nigerian acts. However, moving on from 2015, he experimented with the Yoruba highlife genre. Come 2019, the singer’s style of music took a different trajectory entirely.

The making of AG Baby

In general, 2019 was a very big year for Nigeria music. During this period, the country’s mainstream sound, often referred to as Afrobeats, went international, with artists like Burna Boy emerging as the first Nigerian to bag a Grammy Nomination with his highly acclaimed 2019 album African GiantThat year Gold chose a different path, settling to carve out a career as an Afropop artist. He not only stuck to this Afrobeat sub-genre, but he was also reinventing his sense of personal style. He leaned into an aesthetically appealing and retro fashion style.

Then, in 2020, he introduced us to AG Baby — a new moniker that ushered in the release of his third album Afropop Vol.1. As the title suggested, the 10-track body of work was a coalition of pop songs spiced with one or two highlife tracks.

It was the genesis of the singer’s maverick and unconventional sound, and we should have seen the signs as it paved the way for what will likely be known as his magnum opus.

In 2021, he started the rollout of Catch Me If You Can with the release of “It Is What It Is” back in April before following it with collaborations with American singer Lucky Daye and fellow Nigerian act Davido. All these led to the album that was majorly produced by Blaise Beatz, with credit of minor production from Timi ‘TMXO’ Aladeloba, Pheelz, Tay Iwar, and Grammy-nominated Niyi ‘Synematik’ Adelekan.

Catch Me If You Can album review

The body of work revolves around the theme of love, growth, self-love, and determination. On the opening track, “Born Again,” which enlists Malian Singer and actress Fatoumata Diawara, the singer reflects on hitting the 30+ age bracket and the self-realization that came with it. The thirties are his crucial and most confident years yet, and on the next track, “Win,” the singer reminisced about his past with the line “suffer suffer see my throwback.” He also cites his mother, fans, and friends as instruments that guided him along the way to fame and success.

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As the album progresses, we witness the singer offer an orison against failure, provocation, and temptation on “Mase Mi.” He preaches and echoes his commitment for monogamy on “One Woman,” featuring American-Singer Ty Dolla Sign. We must praise his choice of partnership here because Ty is unlike his many other American rapping colleagues as he has managed to avoid the several baby mamas drama. Next, he sings self-praises while demanding clarity on what’s real and what’s not on the Simi and Blaise Beatz co-produced “Mercy.”

Adekunle Gold then goes on to show vulnerability for love on the highlife infused “More than Enough” and “Sinner” with lyrics from the two last tracks referencing his relationship with his wife, Simi. The two aforementioned track brings the album to the end of its first seven tracks.

As the project diverts into the second part, it gets more cohesive and delivers most of the best tracks. First, it opens with the Stefflon Don featured track “FYE,” where he and his guest get explicit and dirty. The track contains clever innuendos sung in patois and pidgin English. The Tay Iwar written and produced track “Sleep” is one of the best songs on the Catch Me If You Can album, in my opinion. It is sung over a dreamy beat, and its lyrics hint at an unusual kind of love.

With Fousheé on “Dior, Dior, Dior,” the chemistry between the two singers is obvious as they both delivered a slow, sugary performance coupled with the right amount of synergy. This collaboration marks one of his best collabs so far since he took a leap into remodeling his sound.

Adekunle Gold Catch Me If You Can album review

As the album comes to a close, Adekunle Gold delivers one of the most introspective lyrics on “It Is What It Is.” When this album opens, we glimpse how the singer is on the journey to live his best life yet as he embraces being in his thirties. With “It Is What It is,” he unveils layers to a few influential things in this new chapter of life. Prioritizing his peace, he sings, “If e go cost my peace, den I go take my leave.” He also appears to have put himself first, a decision that is inevitable as one grows in life.

On “Selah,” the main theme of love that he explored right from the beginning of the album takes a different approach. Here, he must let go of what is supposedly a toxic relationship in a failed love story. The album closes with a bold Adekunle Gold embodying himself as the man of the moment and dares onlookers to catch up with him, his personality, and his artistry. The closing track features Simi, King Sunny Ade, and Nicholas Wole Emmanuel’s writing contributions. The track outro praises the singer’s effort on the 14 tracked project.

There’s something about hitting the 30 age bracket. Artists like Olamide, Burnaboy, and Wizkid are some of the musicians that have released some of their career-defining albums in their thirties as well. Burnaboy released two of his best and critically acclaimed albums, African Giant and Twice As Tall, around that time. Olamide settled for a calmer, laid-back, and sonically appealing sound with 2020 Carpe Diem and 2021 UY Scuti in his early 30’s too. Adekunle follows suit with this body of work. In this ‘alleged’ magnum opus, Adekunle Gold oozes braggadocios conjoined with self-complacency in addition to a sublime production. Gone are the days of his underwhelming sound while under Olamide’s YBNL record.

Now he has come full circle, and as that outro on the last track said, “AG is on the mother f_cking move.” Can it get any better for him?

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About The Author

Bolaji Akinwande

Bolaji Akinwande is a Music and Culture writer based in Lagos. Nigeria.

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