Essentials: Kaptain Proves Pop Credentials On ‘Beyond Any Reasonable Doubt’
Essentials: Kaptain Proves Pop Credentials On ‘Beyond Any Reasonable Doubt’

Essentials: Kaptain Proves Pop Credentials On ‘Beyond Any Reasonable Doubt’

A confident move into the arena of rap-inspired pop acts

Nigeria’s southside constantly pours great musicians into the stream of mainstream pop. A few years ago, Kaptain was the latest star addition to a galaxy that’s included Erigga and Ajebo Hustlers over the years, notable acts who’ve parlayed street-influenced credos with pronounced beats. Kaptain’s flirtation with pop was even evident in the early stages, allowing him to move between characters with ease.


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Until now, Kaptain had taken the backseat in 2022, releasing “Non Stop”, a collaboration with Teni which sees both musicians lifting motions of praise into the power of a supernatural force, set by Mikaba’s bubbly production. The record was considerably received, but more importantly, it showed the musician born Favour Etuk in a vulnerable lens, placing the weight of his success and what it means for him into perspective.

When musicians begin to feel this way, it’s inevitable that they will create a project that reflects their new position in life. Even more urgent when you’re operating in the fast shifting space of Nigerian music, where you make your mark or go home. Kaptain understands the assignment. The title of ‘Beyond Any Reasonable Doubt’ already hints at his in-your-face awareness, but the music isn’t as obvious, possessed of sonic nuances and able to deliver sweet doses of a flagrant style Kaptain employs throughout the album.

His evolution is unmistakable right from the opening song “Bard”. The mood is lush, backended by soft percussion and stirring string elements. Kaptain’s delivery follows the mood but speaks its truth, each bar moving with narrative purpose. Moonlight Afriqa’s hook is spiritually enriched with a quaint Reggae flavour. “Less was shown than magnified/ There is more for you and I/ Them dey show us open eye/ They shall live and one day die”, he sings with exquisite groove, setting Kaptain up for a chest-thumping performance. “You love me or you hate me, my pocket nothing remove,” he raps, before proceeding to end that verse with chants of his own name.

Elsewhere he’s caught in the tangles of love, going from passionate lover (“Kapachino”) to disillusioned one (“On My Own”), pouring into each record his colourful language. The production does a fine job of stitching the disparate motivations, building their way into the inner stories of the songs. As he’s shown on previous tapes ‘Kapacity’ and ‘Love Ship’, he’s quite comfortable around these subjects, simply due to the fact he’s lived and seen what is possible in the streets where anything—most especially love—can become a fierce battle.

On the project’s last trio of songs, Kaptain offers his voice into the more poignant tussle of navigating the changes of existence. “For Mummy, For Daddy” follows an aspirational direction, underlining the familial motivations which form the backbone for many of our persistent trials to be successful. “Free” is a hair-down song about wanting to live freely without being responded to in a stereotypical manner. Closing out the album is “Give Thanks”, following in the direction of the Teni-assisted single, recognises God as the ultimate propeller behind his dreams.

It’s a fitting end to a project which moves Kaptain into the arena of rap-inspired pop acts, freely charting the trajectory from street poet to mainstream darling. He sometimes falters when some songs are too similar in sonic and lyrical direction, but those never run into too much trouble. He’s always able to enter the album’s crux with renewed vim and with its twelve songs running short of forty minutes, ‘Beyond Any Reasonable Doubt’ has the reward of having incredible replay value.