Album Review: On V, Asa Is Leading With Love


I approached Asa’s latest musical offering with a bit of dread.

Asa is the unsung hero of the contemporary Nigerian music scene, upon the release of her self-titled debut classic, ASA was shot into a stratosphere of her own; at the onset of the golden age of Nigerian Music, spearheaded by legends such as Tubaba, Dbanj, Psquare, etc. Asa was different, Asa was timeless, Asa was peerless.

Often criminally left out of conversations where credit is given to artistes who have exported the Nigerian sound to western shores, Asa’s third album ‘Bed of Stone’ pushed continental boundaries and beautifully tailored the African sound to a European audience in such a manner where European and indigenous listeners simultaneously felt the vibe and themes of the album. No better song exemplifies this than the infectious “Satan be Gone”.

Asa New music
Photo from Instagram


However, by the time Asa’s fourth album dropped six years after her previous effort, the public’s perception of her had begun to shift from innovative and different to repetitive, routine, and predictable. This was mainly because at that time and shortly after, the Wurlds of this world (pun intended only if it works) and his alternative music peers had creatively stepped into the vacuum left by Asa by combining soulful music with contemporary afrobeats sounds that seemed more appealing and digestible to the younger audiences.

Any thoughts of Asa’s sound being a relic were quickly dissipated by Mayana, the lead single and first track of the album. Aptly titled Mayana, meaning tomorrow and also a variation of May (a female’s name symbolizing the 5th month) Asa promises to be her lover’s future. My first listen of Ocean transported me to a Wurld universe where the protagonist is certainly always eager to explore the depth of their lover’s emotions; I had to confirm my suspicions of his contributions to the track, and voila he was credited as a songwriter.

WurlD and Asa in a recording session


After his triumphant and braggadocious showing on Burna’s B.D’or, Wizkid played sidekick to Asa on IDG, with P Priime (Song producer) carrying the ultimate shine on the track.

By Nike, Show Me Off and Morning Man, Asa had delicately and expertly navigated the listener through the waters of deceit, need for validation, intimacy, and priority themes new and old lovers can always relate to. Good Times, arguably the best track on the project featured the Omnipresent Cavemen. On this track, Asa explored other forms of love, unconditional platonic love. This song served as a wholesome interlude from the turbulence of romantic love.

The proverbial mumu button was again activated after our brief appreciation of our friends when Asa pulled us back to her love voyage with Believer where she explores the theme of belief, insecurity, and triumph.

Asa and Amaarae’s All I Ever Wanted was the surprise track of the album, the chemistry displayed by the two left me pleasantly surprised. Amaarae’s bold raunchiness perfectly complemented Asa’s coy and timid pleas for love.

Asa closed the album with Love Me Or Give Me Red Wine a resigned plea for an explanation from her lover and a confirmation of her helpless vulnerability to love, all but confirming her availability when her love will be requited.

Asa’s V is a love journey, but looking beyond the themes of the album, Asa’s journey took a different approach to genius, separate from her distinct and somewhat isolationist approach to past albums, Asa embraced contemporary sounds with V; through Wizkid she showed love to the mainstream, with the contributions of Wurld, Asa acknowledged the successors to the lane she pioneered, by tapping Cavemen and Amaarae, Asa gave a nod to the future direction of African music.

Five symbolically represents freedom and exploration, you will be hard-pressed to find an album where Asa expresses more artistic freedom than V.

You can listen to Asa’s V here https://asa.lnk.to/v-the-album.

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