ALBUM REVIEW: Mayorkun - "Back In Office"

11 months ago

Nigerian singer and song-writer, Adewale Mayowa Emmanuel who is best known as Mayorkun drops his sophomore album tagged "Back in Office"

On his long-overdue sophomore album, Mayorkun blends influences from across Africa’s regions into a coherent body of work. From the East African lyrics on “Nakupenda” to the Southern African rhythms of the title track, he varies his sonics with an accomplished dexterity. “I wanted to play around with different sounds but with Afro fused in it,” Mayorkun tells Apple Music. “I still do Yoruba and local Naija wordplay, but I was going for Afrofusion.” Along with its varied aural framework, the album incorporates a range of moods and themes. “I’m heavily influenced by my environment,” he says. “I feel like I had to master peace to make this. I had to be OK before I made this album.” Covering affirmation, catharsis, social commentary, and gratitude, Mayorkun (Adewale Mayowa Emmanuel) talks us through the album, track by track.

“I made this song for myself. At that point, I had some things going on and was going through the most. I needed to talk to myself. I think, with the kind of person I am, most people don’t see when I’m sad. Everybody thinks I’m incapable of sadness and I’m having fun every day. Sometimes sadness makes you forget who you really are. I just reminded myself that I have my family, mum, and dad around me to let me know that it’s gonna be OK. I needed this song to remind me of that.”

“When I made these songs, I needed them to make a statement and let people know The Mayor is back—kinda bragging. This was one of the last songs I recorded on the album. Africans like to dance, and I think that’s why Nigerians love amapiano. The heavy drums and percussion are what we like over here.”

“I think, with this new album, I tried to change people’s perceptions about my music a little. People think I make fun music for people to just dance to. If you listen to songs like ‘Freedom,’ I’m really in my renaissance bag, feeling like I was in slave times. I’m talking about feeling like a Black man in bondage trying to get free. When it’s freedom have to do whatever you have to do.”

“Fun fact: This song is about three years old. For some reason, my manager loves this song so much, so we added it to the album.”

“Gyakie has that song ‘Forever,’ which I’m a big fan of. When I was recording, I found out she was in Lagos, and I was working on this particular song. We did, like, two or three songs and I really liked this one.”

“This song is just a Lagos club anthem...I’m just talking about everything that goes down in the clubs!”

“Victony is very talented, and he came up with this idea. I felt like he was talking to a girl, and it sounded like he was likening her to God in a way. Like, how you surrender—that’s what you do to God. So, I just tried to play around with that on my verses and flip it.”

“This song is an East African jam, and I spoke Swahili in it. I worked with Napji, who also produced ‘FEM’ for Davido. He actually helped me with the Swahili...I don’t know how he knows it! I had to call a South African producer to touch it up when we were done. It had a very Afropop sound, and I needed the log drums.”

“I’ve been wanting to do a song with Flavor for the longest time and never got the perfect tune. I’m saying, ‘If you don’t like this song, I don’t care because people in Liberia and Ghana are gonna love this song.’”

  • “Piece of Mind”

“It took me about three months to get this title, ’cause I made the song and was just pouring my mind out. There was a period where I was very sad and really in a bad space. For artists, when we can’t drop music, it’s like you’ve just cut off our legs, ’cause that’s what we like to do. I figured that I was giving out a piece of my mind.”

“‘Jay Jay’ is a great song produced by and featuring Maphorisa. Big shout-out to him. It was recorded in South Africa, where I linked up with Maphorisa and the song just happened. When I got to his apartment, he was already working on the beat. I got in, vibed, and he loved it. If you listen to the beat, you’ll understand why it had to be on the album.”

“I wrote this song during the End SARS protest [in late 2020]. We were on the ground, and I could see that people are really suffering. We don’t say anything because of who we are, but people are actually suffering. I had a point of reflection again at that time to give thanks for what I have. I’m giving thanks, appreciating my current situation, even if it’s also not the best.”


Lyrics - 3/5

Production - 3/5

Performance - 4/5


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