Arts & Culture

‘GoodBye’: DAP ’16 enters rap prominence

New Dolapo Akinkugbe mixtape beautifully combines varied genres, coming-of-age lyrics

By
Contributing Writer
Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Ranging from commentary on the political state of Nigeria on “Corruption” to the party anthem “King,” DAP’s new mixtape has something for everyone.

Multifaceted and vibrant, “GoodBye For Never,” Dolapo Akinkugbe’s ’16 newest mixtape, produced under his rap name, DAP, is a richly woven tapestry of stylistic elements. The fusion of genres — the album draws on neo-soul, gospel, jazz and blues — makes each song dynamic and interesting and offers something for everyone.

Akinkugbe, who began playing piano as a four-year-old and producing at 14, has been a musician for most of his life. Two years after branching into rap, at age 19, he released his first mixtape, “GoodBye For Now,” which precedes his recent release “GoodBye For Never.”

The confluence of inspirations was an intentional move, one that is culturally and personally important to Akinkugbe. His Nigerian heritage stimulated his desire to make music that people of all ages can enjoy, he said.

Akinkugbe’s 17-year background on the piano beautifully shines through in the jazzy riffs that anchor the first two tracks, “GoodBye” and “It’s Alright.” Meanwhile, “Please Come Home,” with gravelly and raucous vocalization from Clyde Lawrence ’15 and a recognizable bluesy guitar riff, is almost as much a blues song as it is a rap one. Still, the harmonic vocals and organ-esque tone of the keyboard on the interlude, “Would You,” suggest a gospel feel. On top of these inflences, neo-soul and R&B vibes recur throughout the album in vocal hooks and background harmonies.

Individual songs also refuse containment by a single category. On multiple tracks, there is an unexpected and dramatic switch from a slower, more relaxed beat to one that is livelier and accompanied by punchier lyricism. By keeping his listeners guessing, Akinkugbe keeps them engaged.

Akinkugbe’s call for inspiration from Kanye West is evidenced in the album’s experimental production, most clearly on display in “Hey Love, Hey Love / Lust Love” and “Would You / Would I,” in which vocal distortion layers over spacious and echoing electronic sounds to effect a futuristic vibe. While the mixtape is primarily sonically driven, many of the lyrics tell a coming-of-age story, a search for independence and broader horizons. With Akinkugbe now 21 and on the cusp of “real” adulthood, lyrics like, “Don’t need advisers man I’m over school / don’t need a visor see the future 20/22” exemplify the spirit of a big dreamer that is, in many ways, the spirit of the mixtape itself.

Two tracks stand out from the rest to show just how well Akinkugbe can handle drastically different material. “King” is bawdy, braggadocious and unapologetically raw with lyrics like, “Even got thousand-dollar drawers just to hold my balls.” The track begs to be danced to while blasted from speakers with red solo cups balanced on top of them. Conversely, “Corruption” takes a look at the political situation in Akinkugbe’s home country of Nigeria. A harsh condemnation of Nigeria’s violently anti-gay practices, the track effectively uses music as a vehicle for message.

Through its assortment of varied yet harmonious styles and influences, “GoodBye For Never” offers a wide range of emotional veins to follow. But it is the consistently raw power of the mixtape that compounds its versatility, promising to linger with listeners long after the final track fades out.

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