Obongjayar — Which Way Is Forward? — EP Review

Image for post
Image for post

Soul | Nu-Jazz

Listen on Spotify | Listen on Apple Music

After having first heard of this exciting artist through his late 2018 single “Never Change”, a few more enjoyable singles which followed, and even a feature on Danny Brown’s newest album, my long overdue prayer for Obongjayar to release a debut album have finally been answered.

Well, sort of that is. The argument as to whether this is an album or an EP is a little blurred. While Spotify and Apple Music both classify Which Way Is Forward? as an album, The mini release video for this record classifies it as an EP, so this is where I’m justifying my classification of this being an EP.

This record is certainly a lot more brief than your typical album, with a runtime of just 23 minutes, and a total of 7 tracks. But with the overall sound of this record, along with the kind of aesthetic which presents to us what this artist is about, I am questioning whether the duration truly matters in this case.

I initially loved the aforementioned “Never Change” for simply being a very atmospheric tracks which has a very authentic feel of modern soul. However, I felt that it was in the year following that Obongjayar really established a style which felt more synonymous with himself. Said style was condensed into his track “Frens”, which was released in march of 2019, and is the earliest track to make an appearance on this EP.

The rest of the teasers to follow continued with this warm and engaging style, which felt more similar to traditional African soul, as oppose to the more urban-soul style of “Never Change”. “Still Sun” was up next, and while it took a while to grow on me, I can now appreciate the track as one of the most uplifing numbers on this new EP.

“Gods Own Children” was the third teaser, and the first I had heard from Obongjayar in the new year. I regarded it as an instant hit, with its upbeat, and almost chant-like aesthetic. “10K” was the final track to tease Which Way Is Forward?. However, I didn’t discover this until the release of the full EP.

If i had to go ahead and pick a weakest track from this EP however, it would unfortunately be “10K”. It really isn’t a bad track at all, I simply just feel indifferent to it at this stage. With that being said, it should paint a picture of how musically pleasing this project is.

Which Way Is Forward? was honestly a project that I had been anticipating for a very long time. And quite frankly, the wait was worth it.

It already feels like Obongjayar has perfected his style. The authenticity of his soulfulness is something that feels extremely rare in modern music. It really does feel like music that comes from the heart and soul of Obongjayar, and this love really does seem to pay off, in what is a generous amount of very uplifting and inspiring tunes.

Favourite Tracks: Dreaming in Transit | Carry Come Carry Go | Frens

Least Favourite Track: 10K

Obongjayar | September Recordings

8/10

Written by

My articles mainly revolve around music reviews and analysis. A bit like Anthony Fantano, but just a decade behind.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store