Best New Music: Shalom Dubas Reflects On Life’s Uncertainty With New Single, “Gold.”
Best New Music: Shalom Dubas Reflects On Life’s Uncertainty With New Single, “Gold.”

Best New Music: Shalom Dubas Reflects On Life’s Uncertainty With New Single, “Gold.”

a sensitive record lined with exotic guitar licks

Shalom Dubas has lived a life marked by movement. Born to Nigerian parents in Seattle, US, she later moved to Florida where she found the serenity necessary to create art. In recent years, Dubas has increasingly embraced her Nigerian roots, using collaborations with artists like Toyin Ores and Tim Lyre to construct an enviable bridge between the sounds of her diverse sensibilities. Slick wordplay and ability to frame complex narratives about life and relationships has long been a glittering part of her skillset as an MC, but Dubas wields even more prospect as a music-maker. 

A number of Nigerians got to immerse themselves in her craft when she contributed one of the best verses on Show Dem Camp’s Clone Wars 5: The Algorhythm. Showing up alongside such accomplished purveyors of rap isn’t a small feat, but Dubas took the moment with the assurance of one who has prepared all their lives for it. Every word she rapped was perfectly in-sync with the beat’s count, each metaphor beautifully tied to the project’s established vision of cheeky but poignant sociopolitical commentary. Her hook also provided the record’s title, reiterating the high level of artistic promise Dubas has shown over the years.


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Having made the return home to Lagos and recorded these wins, Shalom Dubas has had a relatively lowkey 2022. Up until September, she didn’t put out new music rather opting to release two in quick succession. Don’t Leave came towards the end of that month, an emotive record suffused in Dubas’ signature flourishes. With luscious keys and Trap-esque drums inspiring the weary gaze she adopts, the song’s sensitivity was in alignment with the ethos she’s embodied. It’s ultimately an affirmative record which recognises her need for self-love as a remedy for the gaping hole one feels when familiar moments and people become distant, and the heart grapples for some security. 

“Gold.” draws from those same inspirations. Released over the weekend, it’s a rather punchy immersion into the MC side of Dubas. The listener barely gets a feel of the lush guitar progression before the artist launches into an introspective groove, unfurling intricate rhymes with the fierceful grace of a panther’s attack. Her lyrics aren’t trained on a specific theme; rather she embraces a freestyle-like dance around subjects, employing her technical strengths to combine their distinct colours. 

Starting off with the admission that Shalom Dubas has “no material to write about,” she goes on to state the high standards by which she holds herself. Autobiographical details such as her age (twenty four, by the way) are used to set up an hazy path to more external imagery and by the time she settles into the verse, the POV changes shape. She’s then charting the progression of a relationship rocked by the demands of conventionality, adapting the fluidity of her stateside cadence to form internal rhymes which sweetly laps up against the elegant strings. 

The weight of relationship is again considered, the bridge and subsequent parts folding with the sensitivity Dubas has always shown when she sings. “Please don’t leave, don’t do that thing where you disappear,” she pleads with intimate longing, before unpacking more details of her person on the second verse. She’s even fiercer then, hitting precisely a number of subject points before returning to singing in the song’s closing parts. Reminiscent of Lauryn Hill, “Gold.” also showcases the side of Dubas that got into songwriting by listening to 2Face Idibia. 

Guitars have also been an essential part of her artistry after learning to play them years before she went professional. “Gold.” sees her then in familiar territory, saying a lot in such little time. When artists say that much, there’s usually a project around the corner and with Shalom’s slow output much this year, this record is surely a golden way to keep fans in the loop with the details of her expansive mind. 

Featured image credits/Instagram: Shalom Dubas

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