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B Side, Music

Olamide’s ‘Ikigai’ Honours YBNL’s Roots

Throughout Ikigai, Olamide’s virtuosity is evident, as he navigates the complexities of his craft with ease

  • Melony Akpoghene
  • 27th June 2024
Olamide’s ‘Ikigai’ Honours YBNL’s Roots

In a surprise move, Olamide released Ikigai, his 10th solo project and 15th overall. The 7-track EP, titled after the Japanese concept of “reason for being” or “life’s purpose,” is as much a celebration of Olamide’s illustrious career and why he has become a rap staple in the country as it is a demonstration of the talent incubator that YBNL is.


The opening track, “Metaverse,” bursts in with a clear Afrobeats groove, declaring Olamide’s return with a bubbly tone that carries throughout the EP. “Uptown Disco” with its log-drum heavy rhythm features Fireboy DML and Asake, two of the label’s brightest stars, who season the track with their distinct styles alongside Olamide’s veteran flow.


Olamide Baddo has honed a distinctive flow that embodies the effortless swagger and the confidence of a legend perpetually pushing the boundaries of his artistry not with a sense of urgency or desperation, but with the calm and collected demeanor of a monarch comfortably seated on his throne, his reign unrivaled and his impact undeniable. While Ikigai is a relatively short project, each track packs a punch. On “Makaveli,” he channels his inner rap titan, delivering hard-hitting verses over a  bouncy beat.

The EP also reveals a hitherto rarely explored facet of Olamide’s artistry, as evidenced in “Knockout” with rising star Sabri which takes a sensual turn.  Olamide croons alongside Sabri’s melodic vocals, showcasing a softer side rarely explored.  This versatility continues with “Hello Habibi,” a love song that proudly appropriates Olamide’s Muslim heritage as it incorporates tingly Arabic rhythms.


The closing track, “Synchro System,” is a drill-infused cypher featuring Pheelz, Young Jonn, and Lil Kesh, a triumvirate of artists who, alongside Olamide, have contributed to YBNL’s dominance in the Nigerian music scene. The chemistry between these artists is palpable, creating a thrilling record that reignites the energy of their formative years. Each artist trades verses, reminiscing about the past and how far they have all come.

Throughout Ikigai, Olamide’s virtuosity is evident, as he navigates the complexities of his craft with ease, oscillating between smooth vocals and hard-hitting rap, precipitating a sonic syncretism that shows that his greatness is permanent fixture in the Nigerian music scene.

Stream Ikigai below.

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