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JahBahlee: Jaywon’s New Album is A Riveting Spin

This album looks set to win Jaywon more fans from other African countries and the Caribbean

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Artists want classic records, however, only a small fraction of them get a chance to have such in their discography. 

While others have just one song to call classic, Oluwajuwonlo Iledare who performs as Jaywon has two of his songs to refer to as a classic. Year in, year out, they stand the test of time, they rake in numbers, and are an embodiment of beautiful spin for the fans. His December, 2012 tune “This Year,” and the 2019 monster hit “Aje,” remain Jaywon’s classic tunes.

An indigene of Egbe in Kogi State, Jaywon was born in 1986. He spent most of his childhood in that state, a product of the prestigious Bida Polytechnic, Niger State.  A year after graduation, he relocated to Lagos to pursue his interest in music. In 2009, his performance at the then revered Kennis Music Easter Fiesta caught the attention of Kenny Ogunbe and Dayo Adeyeye (Keke and D1), he was later signed into the label months after. He joined the likes of 2face, Olu Maintain, and Eedris Abdulkareem as a member of Kennis Music.

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Thirteen years later, Jaywon has made his mark. Experienced the ups and down of the music industry. While he might not have been popping like 2009/2011, he is still around, he drops jam now and then. This might be attributed to his desire to keep himself in the mind of the listeners.

On May, 6, 2022, Jaywon released his fourth studio album “Jahbahlee, a follow-up to his 2020 “Aje The Mixtape.

From his debut single “Filebe,” “ Gbon Gbon,” “Catch Me If You Can,” and “Madatin,” Jaywon has explored a myriad of topics. His pen game has never been in doubt, and neither has his ability to create melodious tunes. For an artist who seems to be in a semi-retired state, surely, Jaywon had more to say or simply put millions of ways of putting out the expression to birth songs. 

“Jahbahlee,” is a Swahili word that means strong rock or strong as a rock.  In this 41 minutes long and fourteen-track album, Jaywon takes the listeners through his state of mind, his predicament with love, his mistrust, and also his earnest supplication. 

One of the edges this album has over the previously released three other projects is the Pan Africanism which is enmeshed. The sound is more diverse, on “Albarka” Jaywon with help from Namenj takes this gospel to the north as he uses the Hausa language to offer benediction to God while he inspires the listeners with his grass to grace story.

Jaywon shows his vulnerable traits on this album, right from the album opener “Remember,” which details his becoming story, his battle with poverty, naysayers, and others. While it’s a reflective track, the track ends on a positive note as Jaywon boosts his new status “When we enter the club, and we dey ball, you won try us, omo a loss”. The album opener gives off a choral-like feeling, the backup singers were all on hand to add more spark to Jaywon’s melodious tune. “Don’t Leave,” and “City Love” are just one track from one another, however, both tracks pay homage to Dancehall, the former features Raybekan, a delicate and pensive cry for love from a partner to his almost gone partner. Lyrically, the song explores a relationship on the brink of the breakup, while Raybekan doesn’t want Jaywon to leave her, it remains to be known if he accedes to her plea. 

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“City Love,” finds veteran Nigerian artiste, Timaya, in familiar terrain–Timaya’s music is built on Reggae and Dancehall. City Love flits through these two genres, it’s an uptempo romantic tune. The stand-out single “Sugar,” features Star of the moment Jaywillz. Jaywon’s lyrics come off flat on this tune, nevertheless, Jaywillz’s chorus saved the day. 

The bouncy, dancehall engrained bass on “Caribbean Queen,” is a beautiful sound infusion. “So in Love,” detour to Ghana as Jaywon alludes to the Ghanian highlife vibe to draft a song that might be tailored to the West African country.

Fatigue set in by the time the album reached its midpoint, most of the track became a spin-off, and the featured artists were able to command more sonic relevance than Jaywon. On songs like the motivating “Last Last,” Seyi Vibez had a better grasp of the theme than Jaywon, he went all in. “So in Love and,” and “Kati” are spin-offs, they both lack the finesse that Jaywon is known for.

Jahbahlee would have been a more awesome album if it was four-track shorter, while Jaywon deliberately keeps the track shorter, the themes overlap, and at some point, it failed to elicit much excitement. This album looks set to win Jaywon more fans from other African countries and the Caribbean if the content and collaboration are anything to go by. Jahbahlee might not have a hit single like Aje, however, with the right promotion, tracks like “Sugar,” and “City Love” are bound to crack the hit record code.

© 2022 Emmanuel Daraloye

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