Best New Music: BOJ’s “Foreigner” is a testament to his dazzling decade long career
Best New Music: BOJ’s “Foreigner” is a testament to his dazzling decade long career

Best New Music: BOJ’s “Foreigner” is a testament to his dazzling decade long career

The self-assured opener to 'Gbagada Express Vol 2: Moving Mad' 

2022 was undeniably an exceptional year for Afropop. The flag bearers of the domineering genre continued to witness inexplicable success, expanding the scope well beyond its borders with jaw dropping collaborations within and outside Africa. One of such artists credited with this huge feat was BOJ. With ‘Gbagada Express,’ he presented a staggering roster of twenty guest features including stars like Amaarae, Wizkid, Fireboy DML, Tiwa Savage, Davido and more.

The 16-tracker housed a series of feel-good anthems and party hits paired with warm melodies from Boj’s instantly recognisable vocals, charged to almost a decade in the game. As the year drew to a close, the sought-after collaborator and serial hitmaker ensured his listeners the new year would be even better.

Last Friday, BOJ lived up to that promise with the release of a generous, 9-track extended play dubbed ‘Gbagada Express Vol 2: Moving Mad.’ Prior to the sequel release, the Alté pioneer opened up the year with “2 Bad,” displaying his lover boy persona reminiscent of his iconic hit single with Ajebutter, “Tungba.” Beyond the lyrics which showcase Boj’s smitten yet witty penmanship, the instrumentals hold noticeable similarities in the heart-thumping drum patterns, this time paired with more upbeat and lush keys. “2 Bad” unapologetically speaks in awe of the artist’s love interest as he is mesmerised when he repetitively sings on the scintillating hook, “My girlfriend is too bad.” At the end of the intoxicating single, we’re further transported to Cloud 9 with Boj as he holds the momentum with Ayra Starr-assisted “Line of Fire.”

On a more vulnerable note, BOJ takes a mellow approach to confesses the lengths he will go to for his love interest, “I’m crying for you, I’m dying for you/Go anywhere for you, I’m wild for you,” closed off by the promise of a lifetime commitment. “Line of Fire,” undeniably a passionate celebration of love was very well within Boj’s realm of sounds, unlike the third and final pre-release assisted by Odumodublvck. For “No Option,” we’re reintroduced to BOJ’s rapper side as he enlists the Abuja-born rapper for a sleek delivery of breezy vocals and electric bars. More than a gleaming record with charming flute chords, the track effortlessly reiterated Boj’s versatilely and ability to make room for artists while holding his own on a beat.


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Gathered together, the aforementioned tracks formed part of ‘Gbagada Express Vol 2: Moving Mad’ but a clear standout from the newly released project is “Foreigner.” The groovy opener led in with a sharp echo of local drums, an instantly infectious, head-bopping beat produced by BOJ’s trusted collaborators, Genio and Lemav. The song slowly builds up momentum and sets the mood for the project as we await Boj’s breezy vocals. When they eventually land, it is nothing short of perfect and heart warming as a result of the mellow piano chord embellishments that accompany them. The subtly clashing cymbal reawakens the listener from the otherwise calming introduction and cues Boj in for a soothing first verse.

As the hook kicks in, the mood picks up as BOJ ecstatically brags of his riches after claiming control over his life: “Foreigner with my dollar o, see as I’m counting comma o.” He goes on to subtly flex of how his talent and accomplishments over the years have successfully translated into monetary rewards. According to BOJ, this is crystal clear and evident in his physical appearance. In subsequent lines, he reaffirms that he continues to carve a lane for himself as he is only interested in achieving success on his own terms seeing as it has worked thus far. He follows up by generously offering to share his tips for success as he soulfully croons, “Ask me I’ll share the code, dey here dey make my dough/Jeje day make my dough.” Closing out the track, he swiftly reiterates the pre-hook in the same tuneful tone as the introduction.

Without a doubt, BOJ is a pioneer who has secured his acclaim triggered by his incredible music and unwavering personality as pillar of the culture and “Foreigner” is a testament to that. Looking back at his “Cruella” or “OMO Pastor” in the early 2010’s , Boj has served as an influential act at the forefront of the Alté movement in Nigerian pop. With a body of work as perfectly curated as ‘Gbagada Express Vol 2: Moving Mad,’ Boj is set up for an even bigger year than the last and we’re enthusiastically poised for what more genre-defying soundscapes he would lead us into.

Featured Image Credits/The NATIVE