2 Face may not have matched the excellent Face 2 Face but he’s still doing the legend thing anyway

Wearing his heart on his sleeves and holding up a philanthropic torch for anyone who cares to look

Though 2 Face has been fairly active as an artist and a label owner since his 2004 solo debut with Face 2 Facea follow up classic has failed to materialize. His pleasant enough releases have been obscured by his inability to separate his often scandalous lifestyle from his music with songs alluding to personal strife. The introspection on songs like “Implication” may have worked in hip-hop’s down-to-earth soundscape but for a party driven pop song, it listens like a clumsy hybrid.

Straddling the political and the personal into music is probably the most obvious hack to earn the seemingly prestigious tag as a conscious artist. But by ditching the sonic signifiers that made him popular in favour of something thicker and more complex, 2 Face diluted his charm and all the while raising the standard expected of him. And not to knock his ambition, but he never managed to execute well enough to reach his goals—stunts like marketing his Unstoppable album for international audience was a classic case of flying too close to the sun and getting burned.

After releasing a string of forgettable singles this year before finally scoring a sleeper-hit with “Gaga Shuffle”, the thought of 2 Face as a legend seems absurd. The freshness in his vocals and the honesty in his lyrics that helped him explode in 2004 has slowly fizzled enough to warrant a reappraisal. Especially when the pseudo-conscious lyrics on “For Instance” plays against the backdrop of his failed anti-government protest. His otherwise good intentioned artistry has been left in theatrical shambles and made it difficult to defend his legend.

Sure, he’s still big enough to crush a prime festival slot and perhaps even send an album to a big first week of public frenzy, but he’s not really pushing the dial on popular culture anymore. But rather than find comfort in this space, 2 Face is still trying—really hard if I may add—to leave a mark. For his latest singles, “Hold My Hand” and “Unconditional Love” he is relying on sentiments.

“Unconditional Love” is a heartwarming love song laced with bass guitar riffs and soaring piano harmonies for the mid-tempo single dedicated to mothers’ love. With lyrics like “Sweet Mama/ No One Compares To You, I Swear”, the touching ballad is sure to have fans and mothers swooning; it might even cause a few waterworks. And while his sentiment is charming enough, he keeps at it on his second release, a video for his UNHCR inspired “Hold My Hand” single.

His compassion for the victims of the Boko-haram attacks in the North-East region of Nigeria is highlighted on the humanitarian song where he advocates for a unified Nigeria and solicits for a spirit of compadre. The video shows 2 Face’s appearance at the musical concert organised by the Nigerian Army at the Maimalari Cantonment in Maidugur. He is seen performing the song in front of adoring fans before going to the schools.

The video for “Hold My Hand” makes a grand statement similar to Michael Jackson’s “Heal The World” but the impact is light years apart. 2 Face is either playing preacher for the umpteenth time or he’s getting weary and pulling back from the edge of darkness by clinging to the concepts of home and family. 2 Face may never drop another classic again, but he’s back to wearing his heart on his sleeves and focusing on others for anyone who cares to look. After so many years in the industry, maybe that’s as good as it gets.

Watch the video for “Hold My Hand” below.

Featured Image Credits: YouTube/2BabaVEVO

You are meeting Debola at a strange time in his life. He wandered into a dream and lost his way back. Tweet at him @debola_abimbolu

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