On 2nd of November, 2016, Phyno dropped his highly anticipated sophomore album titled after his long time moniker ‘The Playmaker’. The album came two years after his 2014 debut album ‘No Guts, No Glory’ and reveals a great deal about the metamorphosis of one of the best indigenous rap acts in Africa. A lot has changed since ‘No Guts, No Glory’. Phyno’s sound had since gone international and together with Olamide, he made ‘indigenous rap’ appealing to a global audience especially Nigerians in diaspora. Phyno has also distinguished himself in collaborations, outdoing himself song after song.
As he rapped in his break-out single ‘Multiply’, “I dey rap, I dey sing. See, my blessing is divine”, Phyno sang in most of the songs on ‘The Playmaker’, and is already credited with 2015’s most successful pop single, ‘Connect’. His gospel-themed collaboration with Olamide, ‘Fada Fada’ was a monster hit and sets the tone for the rest of the album. Five of the songs on the album were Gospel-themed. ‘E Sure For Me’ produced by Kezyklef had Phyno continuing the winning streak from ‘Fada Fada’. The Tunex-produced ‘Yes I Pray(Nwa Oge Nta) has a unique, fresh feel to it. ‘So Far, So Good’ is a song of praise. ‘Joy Comes In The Morning’ sees Phyno deliver a stellar motivational performance.
‘The Playmaker’ has many amazing songs, primarily due to the efforts of the solid production team and the guest acts. Major Bangs is the only producer from his first album who makes a return in this second one. There are echoes of Phyno’s debut album in this second one as parrallels can be drawn between the two. Both albums feature 20 tracks each. And there is a similarity between ‘Abulo’ and ‘Alobam’. Here, we see Phyno, the rap king, spitting bars. ‘Joy Comes In The Morning’ also resembles ‘Good Die Young’. All four tracks were produced by Major Bangs, whose genius shone throughout the album. He also produced ‘Okpeke ft. 2Baba and Flavour’, ‘Best Rapper’ in which Phyno lays claim to being the best and explained his preference for cash over awards. He also produced ‘Ino Mma’, one of the average songs on the album.
Masterkraft delivered in ‘Fada Fada’, ‘Obiagu’, ‘Link Up’ ft. Burna Boy and MI and ‘Ochie Dike’ ft. Onyeka Onwenu’. The last is a classic song for mothers and the female legend delivered a soul-stirring speech at the end. Benjamz produced the love-themed, Oriental Brothers’ inspired ‘Pino Pino’ which had Phyno go the highlife road again, singing throughout. He also produced ‘Mistakes’ and ‘I am a fan’ ft. Decarlo and Mr. Eazi. Del’B came through with ‘Ezege’ and Chris String produced ‘Financial Woman ft. P-Square’, arguably the twins best collaboration this year. ‘Mkpotu ft. Zoro and Tidinz’ produced by Tunex had the three eminent indigenous rap stars in Eastern Nigeria lay bars on an upbeat track.
In ‘The Playmaker’, Phyno steers the ship like an African Drake, rapping and singing effortlessly, switching between melodies, blending language and art into magic.
The average songs in ‘The Playmaker’ are few and far between. The gems on this album are endless.
After all said and done, ‘The Playmaker’ will go down as one of the best albums of 2016.