Our first impressions of Show Dem Camp’s ‘Palmwine Music 3’

Initial thoughts on the final entry in the 'Palmwine Music' trilogy

It took four years for Show Dem Camp to turn a marquee moment into the commercial pillar of their rap career. Released over five years ago, ‘Palmwine Music’ organically extended the highlife-indented influence and high-spirited feel of their biggest song till then—and maybe even till now—into a colourful, captivating and uniquely groovy body of work. The mini-album quickly drove up the rap duo’s profile, improving their appeal amongst older fans and newer listeners, serving as the foundation to their Palmwine Festival shows in Lagos and London, as well as a recent multi-city tour in the U.S.

These days, in addition to their reputation as barn-burning lyricists via the ‘Clone Wars’ series, the duo of Ghost and Tec are regarded as two of the most dynamic rap artists in Nigerian rap history, and that’s because of the wide appeal of the ‘Palwine Music’ series—and its 2019 offshoot, ‘The Palmwine Express’. For nearly a year, Show Dem Camp has been teasing the third edition of the project series, only making it tangible with a release date earlier this month.

Marked as the final entry in a trilogy, ‘Palmwine Music 3’ carries the hallmarks of its predecessors, in that it’s entirely produced by Spax and it’s loaded with an army of features. Clocking in at nearly an hour, the new project is the lengthiest in the series. Joining Show Dem Camp is a star-studded list of guests, including Tems, M.anifest, Tay Iwar, Oxlade, alongside Palmwine regulars BOJ, Ladipoe and Moelogo, newer voices like Bellah and Twelve XII, and more.

Being one of the most anticipated releases of the last few months, there’s bound to be instant verdicts of ‘Palmwine Music 3’ floating across timelines. From best song to best feature, here’s ours—The NATIVE editorial team’s first impression of the new Show Dem Camp project.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Show Dem Camp (@showdemcamp)

Best Song

Wonu: This one is actually very tough right now. I don’t think I have a favourite song but I’m leaning towards “Head Over Heels” and “Live Life” with Victony and Tems, respectively. Tems’ delivery on “Live Life” is easily one of her best performances I’ve seen in a while, coupled with the SDC’s standout performance and the message of the record which speaks on living a soft and easy life, this will have to be my current favourite right now.

Israel: To be honest, the entire project is an excellent body of work and I can’t bring myself to decide on a favourite but I’m torn between “Freaky”, “Apollo”, “Mine Alone” and  “WYW”. The features on those tracks were the standout performances on the entire album besides SDC, in my opinion.

Cynthia: For what it’s worth, this album is superb and makes it difficult to pick a best song or songs. Maybe in the future I would have a best song on the playlist.

What feature impressed you the most?

Emmanuel: Yo, every feature on here really does a great job. I think it’s no exaggeration to say that this is the most purposeful feature list on a Palmwine Music album. With that said, I was very impressed with the trio of Mannywellz, Oxlade and ToBi—especially the American-based Nigerian act ToBi who absolutely owned the “Rolling” song. Like everyone else’s, his rich vocals were focused on the theme of the record while flexing his own distinct strengths. Whereas the other features were unmistakably working towards the direction of SDC, the man ToBi resides at the record’s centre, and in a good way, in a way that exposes the intentionality behind every song of the album. You also have to credit Folu Storms and her charming, hilarious handling of the Palmwine Radio, which successfully embeds a conceptual thread onto the project. 

Dennis: 1billion.1FM is my pick here. OG Show Dem Camp fans know the humorous significance of the fictional radio station to the ‘Clone Wars’ series, especially the second volume, and while it appeared very briefly on the first Palmwine tape, it’s a delight to hear it as an integral part of ‘Palmwine Music 3’. I hope SDC send Folu Storms a couple of palmwine gourds, and I’m super grateful that there’s an album in 2022 purposefully incorporating skits into its overall concept. More skits in Nigerian music, please!

Did any of the features surprise you?

Uzoma: I won’t lie, when I saw the tracklist, it was the names Oxlade, Victony, Lojay and Tay Iwar that caught my attention. Being their first outing on a ‘Palmwine Music’ project, I was excited about what they would bring to the table. After listening to the project, they didn’t disappoint. But it’s “WYW” with Bellah that surprised me the most, in a positive way. When I heard the chorus, I sat up immediately. She and Show Dem Camp synced on this track about the blame game that follows a broken relationship. Ghost’s verse, especially, is humorous yet thoughtful. This feature is one of the standouts of the project, in my opinion.

Moore: In the most positive way, several of the features surprised me. Every artist was clearly carefully selected to best go with the overall vibe of each song. The most surprising might have to be Victony on “Head Over Heels”, the first proper track on the project. His sections feel so integral to the DNA of the song that it feels strange to refer to him just as a featuring artist.

Dennis: Man, I don’t know how Tems manages to surprise me every single time she’s on a song with someone else. Ideally, I’d say Bellah, because I’ve only heard two songs from her via a friend’s loudspeaker, and her performance on “Wyw” is not only a delightful surprise, it’s a flat-out album highlight. But the way Tems just sounds casually authoritative on “Live Life” is absolutely gobsmacking. I thought I knew what to expect, but it turned out to be even much better.

What song(s) off ‘PM3’ do you think would become commercially huge?

Daniel: “Your Love” is the obvious track. A classic love song that has Lojay delivering his sonorous vocals. Everyone who’s ever loved will be in their feelings, connecting to the longing for an ultimate lover.

Maria: Easy. “Live Life” takes the cake for this. I say this because social media is currently crazy about the “soft life” and this song is centred around it. The guitar strings and mid tempo bass on it evoke a relaxing feeling, strong enough to make you put your feet up, head straight to the beach or book an impulsive flight to an island overseas. With lyrics like “Live life, no time,” a couple of lines are certain to start circling Instagram as captions on posts and I can already see people using the song for vlogs (me included lol). Asides from this, it also features Afropop’s IT girl, Tems. Her feature will boost its commercial run, as she has a cult-like following with fans who pay close attention and immediately listen to anything she features on. I see this doing extremely well, after all, we’re all yearning for a good, soft life.

Damilola: ‘Palmwine Music 3’ by Show Dem Camp is such a relaxing album and has so many interesting features that’s helping boost its popularity already. Show Dem Camp are already loved by the youth so this album is going to be played for a very long time. Although I have a lot of favourites off the album, the song that I believe will become commercially huge is “Mine Alone” featuring Oxlade. My reason is a bit funny but the song gives this “Radio check” vibe more than the others. By radio check, I mean the song that the radio would preferably pick to play for their listeners. I also feel the song appeals to the taste of many Africans and just can’t be called a mid song. Asides that, Oxlade is becoming a huge name in global Afropop chatter and his feature on the song will help in selling the song tremendously.

Thoughts on Spax’s production?

Wonu: Spax is THAT guy, honestly, and I believe he works extremely well with Show Dem Camp. Spax continues to outdo himself one project at a time. The all round production on the project can stand the test of time and this is thanks to Spax and his evergreen and vibrant production. The body of work ‘PalmWine Music 3’ will be on rotation for a while and not just for me, but for many others. Someone give Spax his flowers already.

Emmanuel: If you noticed, the production of ‘Clone Wars 5’ had the most colourful beats Spax had delivered for the duo on a ‘CW’ tape. On this one, he continues that ethos by significantly taking the sonic direction into the broader lens of the Palmwine sound. It’s a very chill vibe, a bit ‘Made In Lagos’-esque, which inspires really beautiful performances from the musicians. There’s no doubt Spax counts among the most ingenious producers working today and, for the lush beauty on display here, the man deserves every flower he’ll get when that conversation eventually comes up.

How would you rate ‘PM3’ as the trilogy closer of such a highly-regarded project series?

Tami: Everyone knows that good things come in threes. Destiny’s Childs, The Holy Trinity, and of course, ‘Palmwine Music’. For me, ‘Palmwine Music 3’ is a welcome closer to the musical trilogy, as the project is replete with stellar penmanship, enviable flows from Tec and Ghost, clever wordplay from their talented spate of close friends and collaborators, and alluring highlife melodies from one of the most prolific beatsmiths in the game, Spax. It’s clear that their time away has Show Dem Camp itching to display new tricks and offer intriguing variations to now-familiar themes without erasing what we’ve come to love from the Rap duo. With a deeper emotional palette than ever before, ‘PM3’ sounds like Show Dem Camp have learned that superstardom comes with the ability to set their own agenda. I’m welcoming this next phase in their well-oiled machine, both in front of, and behind the scenes.

Dennis: ‘Palmwine Music 3’ is a great closer, in terms of what it wants to achieve. Previous Palmwine projects were thrilling rollercoaster rides, more focused on the visceral effect of the groove and the brain-holding quality of the guest hooks. Not to say Tec and Ghost verses were only placeholders, but this project seems to slightly embolden the thematic nuances and technical ticks of their lyricism. It makes sense since this is the “last” entry into this series, Show Dem Camp would want to leave listeners with enough substance to muse while sipping that palmwine. In addition to all that thematic substance, the grooves are still there and the guest hooks are still wonderful.

Uzoma: In my piece that traced Show Dem Camp’s journey with the ‘Palmwine Music’ series, I wondered what direction they would head in with the project, most especially sonically. I have my answer now. Again, Show Dem Camp have proved that they are attuned to the sounds and artists of the present time and that is what ‘PM3’ captures. I also feel it’s closer to ‘The Palmwine Express’ sonically than the other projects in the series. Although ‘PM3’ is the series finale, I believe it’s not the end of Show Dem Camp’s experimentation with Afrobeats. There’s more palmwine music from where these came from—just won’t be housed under that name.

Listen to ‘Palmwine Music 3’ here.