Best New Music: On “Sote,” DanDizzy & Falz Merge Their Colourful Vision for Rap

A thrilling performance from two of the most accessible lyricists around

Nowadays, the conversation about the state of Nigerian rap is expected everyday. Never mind that these discussions hardly call upon the nuance required, the popular consensus is that rap has had better days in the country. While that might be true, especially when considered from a cultural standpoint, the possibilities for our rapping still taps from a rich well of influences, which is ostensibly derived from the “incredibly exciting and abysmally frustrating” (word to Chinua Achebe) nature of our collective experiences, living through this particular period. 

Emerging from the socially-conscious city of Port Harcourt, the rapper DanDizzy has been one to colour his music with expressive and realistic takes. He’s been around since 2017 and while his early music—the likes of “Egweji” and “Uncle Shuga Daddy”—flirted with touches of popular music, it was the verve behind DanDizzy’s bars which marked him out as a rapper to watch. Some few years ago, he entered into his second arc, utilising his freestyle skills to build an online fanbase and community around his music. He’s been in the popular conversation since then, mostly for his social commentary more than his rapping, but when he gets into his bag DanDizzy can leave a memorable impression. 

“Sote” belongs in the top tier of anything he’s created thus far. Oftentimes, the limiting factor behind DanDizzy is his lack of a sonic vision, which has seen him spit head-bumping bars but not enough musicality to demand repeated listens. Here those concerns are inexistent because DanDizzy enlists the masterful hands of Duktor Sett, a producer whose stellar work was announced on the Basketmouth cult classic ‘Yabasi’. His trademark style of Highlife-toned percussion are present here, creating the assured soundscape that DanDizzy and Falz floats over. 

Bars aside, one reason why “Sote” sounds so pristine is its interpolation of the Pulse classic of the same title. Peeling into the chorus, it’s a touch of affectation in a song suffused with humorous but heartfelt contemplation. The background vocals exacerbate the emotions of longing, while both artists come in from distinct lyrical angles. Starting off the rapping after DanDizzy’s brief but evocative intro, Falz uses his trademark charisma to follow up on the theme. “Sote dey go ask me whether na Jazz, Like say dem kidnap me/ I con dey scarce,” he raps towards the end of his verse, each lyric delivered with charming verve. 


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DanDizzy raps from the other side of Falz’s admission, rather than giving into love, he underlines the reasons why love isn’t the ideal situation for him. “Omo serious wahala for who dey plan love/Get the kind lines wey I no plan cross,” he raps in his opening lines, the language lean but quite distinct, the kind you’ll hear from around the urban areas of southern Nigeria. On a micro level, “Sote” might seem to fall into the category of Nigerian rap songs which push hot-button topics, but on further listen it’s actually a multilayered look at the currency of relationships, especially with contemporary society’s propensity for serving “breakfasts,” that popular term which was made even more popular by Burna Boy’s “Last Last”

It’s no surprise that DanDizzy and Burna Boy share Port-Harcourt as their origin. From Ajebo Hustlers to Omah Lay, artists who take the oil-rich city as touchstones for artistic inspiration seem to have a colourful grasp on language. On his part, Falz has long represented conscious ideals in Nigerian rap music, and by uniting his vision with that of DanDizzy, both rappers create a sterling record which ranks among the best realised Hip-Hop has witnessed this year.