5 Standout Songs From Idahams’ New Album, ‘Truth, Love & Confessions’
5 Standout Songs From Idahams’ New Album, ‘Truth, Love & Confessions’

5 Standout Songs From Idahams’ New Album, ‘Truth, Love & Confessions’

A noteworthy effort to document the heart's persistent aches

Afropop famously cuts across generations of sound. It is a throbbing presence, one that’s interpreted very distinctly depending on the origins of the artist who explores its terrain. In the sprawling field of Nigerian Pop, the southern hub of Port Harcourt has stood out gloriously for its amorphous-yet-recognisable rhythm. Bold percussions and inventive storytelling have been the trademark of musicians like Duncan Mighty, Burna Boy and Ajebo Hustlers, and another noteworthy musician who has created from that tradition is Idahams.


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The musician and producer operates under Grafton Records, an iconic record label that has cushioned his foray into the world of pop. Verve and skill has been the standing ethos of Idahams, yet climbing his way onto national ubiquity with projects to show. From 2019’s ‘Amayanabo’ to ‘Man on Fire’ the following year, he’s showed a progressive tendency to sharpen the edges of his 2010s Nigerian Pop-indebted sound, a stylistic design audible in the work of revered hitmakers like Tekno and Kizz Daniel. With sparse political undertones, the music of Idahams is heavy on the reactionary potential of music, an urgent need to move some part of the body.

On his newly-released debut album, ‘Truth, Love & Confessions’, he introduces a personal and sensitive edge into that direction. In thirteen songs the musician dips into a familiar well of sounds, from the lush cadences of R&B to the nightlife-inspired zest of Afropop. Contributing to the collection’s brilliance are these five records, these glittering highlights which evoke the project’s essence.


As more artists begin to lean into album releases, the opening record has assumed a deserved importance. In recent years we’ve seen listeners pay special attention to a project’s first track, hoping to get an overview of its sound and subject matter in some well-presented way. On “Gratitude”, Idahams ticks all the boxes; a sparse soundscape is lined with church-like strings as he unfurls the stories of his life. He goes from vulnerable to affirming in equal measure, oscillating between time frames to render an epic feel to the record. A cross between Rema’s “Divine” and Burna Boy’s “Glory”, the choir contribution only heightens the feel, while Idahams sidesteps the temptations of cliche lyricism by being incredibly affecting. An album opener for the books.


The Port Harcourt scene is very heavy on collaboration and this is the necessary PH linkup. For years, Ajebo Hustlers have cemented their names among the most exciting acts in the scene and part reason is because of the duo’s distinct strengths and how they take that into their features. On “Bad Girl,” they’re in familiar territory as they sing about activities of a sensual nature while maintaining technical strength. Piego’s hook is a project highlight, and Knowledge’s verse is brief and powerful, while Idahams plays the graceful host. He’s still present on the record though, providing the post-chorus in moments of high tension. The production is as well stirring, well conditioned with sizzling bass and sombre notes that infuses an extra, soft layer to the record’s brilliance.


At the centre of Idahams’ explorations on ‘TLC’ is love. He’s often rueful of past experiences and welcoming of new ones, giving them the bubbly tone that usually accompanies such feelings. A standout of this category is the Zach Zoya-featuring remix of “Lovina,” a warm record that’s colourfully inflected with Idahams’ vocals. From a purely vocal standpoint, it’s one of the album’s highlights and the verse from Canadian rapper Zach also works, bouncing off the production’s groovy electricity with great emotion. And the finishing touches of Fiokee’s guitar is such a genius choice. Excellent record here. 


The penultimate record of ‘TLC’ is a string-based account of a love affair. “This your beauty bad, e make a man tuale,” Idahams sings on the opening lines of his verse, giving an indication of where the record leads. His lamba is in stellar form, calling up local variations of Pidgin English and metaphors to praise his lover. Of the songs on the album, this is the most lean in production, and his breezy vocals rise to the occasion. It’s also a song that shows Idahams ability to be humorous in his approach, while retaining the focus on the theme. When the sun goes down wherever you are, listen to this record somewhere chill, and you’ll be immediately aware of its beauty. 


It’s perhaps impossible for societal topics to not make their way unto an Afropop album. Whether in the overt style of a Burna or the metaphorical placings of Omah Lay, it’s a tradition well established in the genre’s touchstones. On the closing record of ‘TLC,’ the nuances of South-lying tensions are rendered soulfully by Idahams. “I lost some friends in this struggle, if no be music I for follow,” he sings in the record’s most stark lyrics. Opting for a punchy direction as opposed to melancholy, he leaves the listener with mixed emotions but, surely, an interest in the happenings of the country’s South. He’s most reminiscent of Erigga in such a record, collapsing the result of decades of generational trauma and government interaction into metres of sound, and here Idahams further entrenches his message in Afropop lore by interpolating classic records cut from the same ilk.