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Rapper, Q-DEE Crosses Rap and Afrobeats on Black Sheep EP


Q-Dee’s initial offering titled Black Sheep (Love and Reality Edition) brings an energetic cornucopia that parkours from rapping over grimy hard and snappy hip-hop beats to mellow crooning over melodious amapiano and afrobeats. The entire 16-minute run time of Black Sheep is a diverse spread of dense production with several delicious servings of Q-Dee’s Yoruba and English—rapping and singing, alongside colorful sides of occasional features that accentuate the flavor of the songs on the EP. 


However, a general sense of cohesion seems amiss, and for an album titled love and reality, there’s barely any mention or mood of it. In a recent interview, Q-Dee stated that he had been influenced by the works of Shaggy, JaRule, DMX and Nelly via a cousin who lived in the US, and more recently “new era hip hop guys like Kendrick Lamar, Drake and Kanye West..” and after initial listening to the project he might mean that in the way of him being a rapper, or his ability to slide on various beats and versatility on the records. 


Sonically, he sounds closer to hometown heroes like Olamide, Lil Kesh, Zlatan and Qdot, especially in the way he interpolates Yoruba into the lyrics and the style and cadence he uses to tackle his more afrobeat-sounding records, which take up most of the time on the EP.


The opener track titled “LOWO” may be the closest to his DMX and JaRule influences but take that with a pinch of salt. The production is dark and heavy with radiator-threatening kick drums, modulated strings, and trumpets that sound like synths or the other way around. Here, his rapping is heavy and in your face, the lyrics take on the form of street lessons about getting your money right. “Expectation high/ hustle kowo multiply, So I grind everyday/ color future gbodo bright” Q-Dee raps, each bar is motivational, advice or about the dangers of living life broke or all three, all of which is relatable and on-time, snapped and sealed tightly over the instrumental like Lego pieces.


There are several and I mean several references to money (acquisition, spending or a lack thereof) throughout the EP. When asked about how he would describe his music, Q-Dee stated that his music was an expression, “a therapeutic idea that people need to approach life” but on Black Sheep, it seems like this “idea” is money/the hustle. Whether this is an allusion to the “reality” part on the EP is a separate question entirely, but there are moments where Q-Dee tries to deliver imagery using his rap skill and ends up watering the picture down with his reference to money. 


On “OLUCHI”, the second song, a bright afrobeat record with intimate saxophone playing, he recruits the help of co-star Ezzie Wonder in serenading a lover into being his and in typical afrobeat manner there is— “..Kalo shopping..” and “I got money in the bank, just tell me what you want” and “..Mole gbe e losi germany…”. Long time fans of afrobeats music may not find anything new or surprising here, after all there’s little you can say in afrobeat romance after Wizkid says “Oya take all my money put am for your head o” or Davido’s “When I look into your eyes all I see is waist”. 


Nevertheless, the song stands out in its own light. Between its pop production, Ezzie Wonder’s “I’m coming, I’m coming for you, please don’t go far” crooning and the monopoly-like acquisition of assets and properties, it makes for a great afrobeats tune about love that many are sure to enjoy. 


“WHISPER” is the elephant in the room, it opens with singing that’s reminiscent of the hook from Amaarae’s SAD GIRLZ LUV MONEY and is the main course in the buffet that is the “Black Sheep” EP. Q-Dee assembles an elite team comprising of Extremebeatz, Easykeys and Bami, for a masterclass on how to make Amapiano songs, the latter who sings at the start and the chorus comes through with sultry and seductive, smooth as silk vocals, after which Q-Dee lays quick witty bars as log drums and shakers go this way and that. 


“So the idea of this work is to celebrate love, depict love and express life in a music fashion” was the response Q-Dee gave when asked about the inspiration behind this EP. While the love section seems to move around like the points on a scatter graph, the expression of life, as a function of money as stated earlier is well fleshed out at the halfway point of the project. 


On the song “LIFE” he’s accompanied by “Stranger” singer Dante who opens up with “Me I just dey enjoy this life” and on here, Q-Dee tries to find rest via enjoyment as he delivers an honest performance about his trials and tribulations, about how he’s hustled to make it to where he is and is deserving of a good time, the soft vocals of both artists bounce over afrobeat kick drums and a seductive guitar riff. The song plays like a celebration, like people in the club or at a party somewhere having fun, while confetti and champagne spray in slow motion.


“JARA” plays out like a meld of old Olamide and Oladips. Sheezy Jimmat punctuates the hustler message anthem with her hooks as Q-Dee attempts to ginger you into a wake up call. His voice is urgent and rapid and controlled to the dance hall like beat of the record as he skates across topics of betrayal, desires, being insulted, hustling and balling. “Emi mo bile se ri, mo ma’n hustle everyday/ kosi off day ni zone mi even though na Saturday” Q-Dee raps.


It is clear that there is something special within Q-Dee. Rapping and singing in one dialect or language is already difficult, and Q-Dee goes the extra mile in making it enjoyable for mass consumption. His composition, smart features and ear for good production and an ability to flow effortlessly on afrobeats show that he’s a force to be reckoned with. 

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Oyedele is passionate about culture and arts. Engage on instagram and twitter, @omoalokan