Odunsi－ The Esotericism Of Alté, The Gates, And The Light
“Besides, this is not the time for the alté artistes to remain equivocal with criticism, but a period to make more arts, push it to the extreme fortes, stay relevant with the brand of music they have mold from a place of separation, to recognition”.
Looking at the image above, which is the album art work of ‘Rare’, the title of Odunsi’s debut album, the artiste which is signed to Universal Music Group seats on a couch in the middle of two ladies standing side by side to him wearing ivories of white clothing’s, and a guy dressed partially unclad with same colour seating on another couch on his far left, with another lady, who wears a blonde hair, isolated at his far right. The picture depicted is totally out of the coeval, simple to the eyes, unique in its interaction, but powerfully interjecting the alté formula and magic, which Odunsi is championing.
The observed interpretation is that there is a palpable acoustic kingship or throne-like message being conveyed and expounded, and on the summary, the black coloured outfits put on by Odunsi in-between the dominant white colour shares the ambience of rareness, arriving at the precedent of defining the album title which is “Rare”, creatively directing the alté sounds emergence in the middle of the popping Nigerian sounds.
Why choose such a simple picture for your first album?
The clarity is inscribed and inked with the details of the message that; I am different. My music is different, I am alté, even my art cover is alté. Having interest to listen to the 13-track album, my review is simple, the record has no misplacement but a completeness of overriding the norm to do what you love which is the expressive Odunsi.
On the mundane and medieval, Odunsi plays the card of a new king leading a small state with few constituencies. A small gathering of Whiz-kids, who just want to be heard, expressively with music. They have been on the organic road of crossing many broken bridges, to the green land of being heard. Odunsi, Nonso Amadi, Santi, Zamir, Tar Iwar, Lady Donli, Maka, and few others have been the primary pushers of the new age vibes.
From posing esoterically, creating a unique style of fashion and hairstyle, to the days of being tagged the ‘SoundCloud artistes’, which defines their genesis, to the journey, the consistency, the risen, the growth, and now the discussion, Odunsi and his statesmen have built a nucleolus with a big mitochondria powerful enough to form a support system to their ecosystem that carried them through, even with the struggle to attend mainstream, which they have fought and beats like cancer by refusing not to be cowed to water their beloved brand of alté sound to what is obtainable in the main stream.
Besides, Odunsi has had an amazing run for the year 2018. His contributions to MI’s projects of Rendezvous, and Yung DenzL cannot be over-emphasized. These also set the spring-board for him to leap on before finally blowing the horn of his ‘Rare’ album.
The Esotericism of the Alté sound:
The mainstream Nigerian sound has been controlled by pop singers,－the likes of Davido and Wizkid. These gang leaders of Afrobeat and AfroPop singers, have been on the hay and peak of their artistic contributions for a while now. For as long as they can churn out feel good lyrical ideas on danceable beats, they remain relevant on the Nigerian music scene. The close call of a sound getting near but subjugated to a certain level is the Nigerian HipHop. Even the core rappers have shy away from the tune, choosing dance music to the debate of rap music for relevance and survival, only a couple of acts like MI, Jesse Jags, AQ, and few others have stayed true to the genre.
Pushing the genre alté and riding on the back of Afrofusion as Odunsi defines his sound, is to sonically give off music ideas differently, and these have to be steamed from a different pot of delivery. Hence, the esoteric behavior of the new age alté artistes.
Staying true to the non conforming sound, dressing differently with a unique fashion style and hairstyle, moving in a cluster, is to create an imagery perception, such that the media and music enthusiasts will always pencil them with rarity and in deviance to what is obtained by the touchstone of the Nigerian music sphere, with the soul aim of making music. So, how far can the perception take them?
Odunsi, some days ago posted a rare picture where he and his clique of alté artistes were in a room, dressed in all black, with white candles burning, while hugging each other shoulder to shoulder with what was perceived as an occulter gathering, paved way for a round of debates.
rapid day 🏹 pic.twitter.com/jclikKcRow
— Odunsi † (@odunsitheengine) November 23, 2018
Whether the aim was to generate a PR to push for his album, or it was to show and consolidates what the new age artistes stand for which they portray by always behaving and acting different, the atonement brought out a brawl of emotions, gathered by Nigerians over time on the alté artistes.
Odunsi was singled out, and a good number of slights were rendered on him in extension to his alté crew.
No matter how we create arts in Nigeria, the view points will always be bridled with our societal norms and religion. For Odunsi and his constituents, they are daring to be different, but for some Nigerians, they are forming woke with some occult moves. This is where the gates and narrative to their mainstream image formation might be based. I guess, it might be tilted positively.
Lets borrow a leaf from Burna Boy’s public perception. He is versatile, one of the most gifted Nigerian artistes, enjoying world-wide attention at the moment, making statements on every song he puts his voice on whether his own, or the one he is being featured, delivering impeccably, and doing the most, but one thing is sure; the image he has posed with his bad boy and I don’t care attitude forms the major demon eating him up from within. He gets to the very top, some Nigerians drag him down with the low of him always doing the worse through his public perception.
Juxtaposing this with the recent angles and bearings taken by the debaters who ostracized Odunsi, based on the perception of him and his alté crew with a push off on the cliff of public perception, one can assume that an early generalization has been formed, and these might generate the core belief to what Nigerians may perceive the alté music artistes to be.
Do they need to adjust immediately? the answer from me is No!
Do they need to continue? this one is left for them to answer.
Is the image and perception good for their attention? I will say yes.
My afterthoughts to Odunsi’s criticism is simple, the alté guys are throwing the right pebbles into the castle. It might sound like no one is paying attention to them, but to be sincere, they are doing enough to be recognised and discussed about, more than being tagged the “the SoundCloud” artistes. These are good times to their existence. The rests of the genre leaders have to ride on the gains of Odunsi’s progress to make musical noise that can be heard.
Besides, this is not the time for the alté artistes to remain equivocal with criticism, but a period to make more arts, push it to the extreme fortes, stay relevant with the brand of music they have mold from a place of separation, to recognition.
Listen to Odunsi’s album “Rare” HERE