ALBUM REVIEW: PHYNO - THE PLAYMAKER
After killing 2016 with the smash hit Fada, Fada, Phyno follows up the buzz with his sophomore album The Playmaker. With a classic debut album under his belt No Guts No Glory (2014) the only way to go is up and Phyno does just that. The album knocks you out without any listening required with its lengthy tracklist. Phyno provides fans with an epic project enlisting the help of a wide range of A-list producers and great features--one of them being a Nigerian music legend. The album production consist of some familiar names such as Masterkraft, TSpize, Major Bangz, and many more. However, it's the heavy bars and features that make you appreciate the album. The Playmaker features 2Baba, Mr. Eazi, Burna Boy, Olamide, and the legendary Onyeka Owenu just to name a few.
Now that we've gone through the specs of the album. Let's jump into the ins and outs of the album
On this album Phyno calls on some regular and not-so regular producers like Masterkraft, TSpize, Major Bangz, Tunex, Benjamz, Chris String, and Del B. Together these producers help him deliver a cohesive sound. Phyno gives the listeners a bit of everything while still sticking to Igbo based sounds as he plays with heavy Highlife and traditional infused tracks. But if the traditional beats don't grab you already--then you're in for a ride with tracks like Best Rapper and Abulo (produced by Major Bangz) that gives a nasty gritty trap vibe.
The Playmaker has an array of guest features from Flavour, 2Baba, M.I., Burna Boy, Mr. Eazi, Declaro, Zoro, Tidniz, P-Square, Olamide, and the legendary Onyeka Owenu. The features all add their equal touch to making this album a solid project. Phyno's selection of artist makes you understand he was very clear on what he was trying to achieve sound wise and where he was trying to take listeners sonically. Phyno wins with the track Ochie Dike (Mama) which features Onyeka Owenu. His ability to get her to appear on the track is epic.
** - Requires listening / * - Requires no description
The Playmaker is filled with a plethora of bangers. Off the bat the hottest tracks on the album have to be
** Abulo - Whatever you do, do not go looking for his trouble. Abulo is the follow up single to Fada, Fada. On this track, Phyno lets folks know he's not to be messed with and he's very capable to doing some things. Hopefully, you get the gist.
** Best Rapper - The intro alone captures you instantaneously with "Aye's and Oh's". Phyno is nothing but honest with this braggadocious trap infused track as he raps about being the best, raps skills so good he can take souls, being considered legendary, and even worthy of signing by Shady/Aftermath Records.
** Ochie Dike (Mama) / (Strong old person) - If you're probably hearing the song and wondering why it sounds familiar. It's because of the original version by the legendary Onyeka Owenu. On this track Phyno pays tribute to his mother where he gives thanks to his mother for providing for him and serving as a strong figure in his life.
** Obiagu / (Lion heart) - Phyno showcases his rap chops as he takes an Igbo masquerade beat with bars packed about being strong and being able to take on anything.
** Yes, I Pray (Nwa Oge Nta) / (With time) - With a Highlife beat Phyno spits bars about his hopefulness that with time everything he has prayed for will or has come to fruition.
** I'm a Fan - Mark my words when I say this guy Decarlo is about to blow. I don't know who Decarlo is or what he looks like but his vocals on this track is everything. Phyno teams with the guy on everyone's radar Mr. Eazi to give a smooth yet slow slightly dancehall-esque tune about a girl he has interest in and would like to get to know. Decarlo steals the song with his verse with a sound quite similar to Tory Lanez or Jeremih. I guarantee you this will be one that most will vibe to.
Decarlo is an artist based out of Brazil. Follow him on Instagram.
** Link Up - This track right here needs a disclaimer. This track can only be played with windows down and with good speakers. Phyno calls upon the help on Jos's very own M.I. and the Don Gorgon himself Burna Boy to give a head bopping track about being on top and not looking to stop grinding anytime soon. I don't know which one is more interesting. Having M.I. on your track, having M.I. spit a bit faster than usual, or being on the track and not getting drowned by M.I.?
If he wasn't on your top 5 or top 10 MC list, Phyno gives you a million and one reasons why he should be with this project. Phyno is without a doubt one of the best if not the best rapper in the game. Phyno finds himself with a gem on his hand with The Playmaker. With 11 features and production from some of the best producers the album is a 4 out of 5. Phyno is mindful of sticking to his style while providing an authentic project suitable for anyone to listen to with exceptional cross-over ability. With an abundance of guest appearances on the album Phyno doesn't get overshadowed. However, it would be great to see Phyno carry a project by himself or with very little features. The album does an amazing job showcasing his phenomenal rap skills. While dabbling into heavy trap beats Phyno finds a nice balance between sounds of trap and traditional beats. His flow on the album is impeccable--he doesn't come off as forced or trying too hard on the beats or lyrics. All in all, the album is definitely an album worth purchasing, listening to, and have on repeat for some time.
★ - Terrible
★★ - Bad
★★★ - Okay
★★★★ - Good
★★★★★ - Perfect