Show Dem Camp created a special moment on “Feel Alright”, their most popular single to date and one that showed a different side to them. 4 years on, the beloved hip-hop group has now turned that moment into a full-fledged body of work titled Palmwine Music.
On “Compose”, off the new EP, when rapping about the attributes of a goddess he admires, Ghost inadvertently describes the palmwine sound: ‘soul, hip-hop, Afrobeat swag, mixed with some highlife’. The result is music that’s as native to us as the drink it got its name from, but is also sophisticated, with a breeze and vibrancy akin to listening to live music in the tropical outdoors.
The third installment of the Clone Wars series was released just six months ago and bar-for-bar, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a harder hip-hop project released in Nigeria between 2016 and 2017. But rapping takes a backseat on this new project, instrumentation and melody are more important to the way SDC want to make you feel this time around. Time will tell if, this too, gets made into a lengthy series but with a sound that’s easier on the ear than the lyric-driven and mind-juggling Clone Wars, Palmwine Music has every chance to be even more successful.
Juls produced “Feel Alright” and deserves kudos for providing the fabric for the original palmwine sound, just as he was in creating the template for Mr. Eazi’s mid-tempo banku music. The Ghanaian producer isn’t present on this project though, instead SDC worked exclusively with Spax to stretch out the palmwine vibe from a concept on one song into an entire 7-song conceptual EP.
Poe and Boj were guests on “Feel Alright” and they dust their feet on Palmwine Music’s welcome mat as well. The two are part of SDC’s extended family of creatives who share the crew’s upper middle-class appeal and high music IQ, even though they ultimately bring different things to the table musically. Boj brought his raspiness to the earlier mentioned “Compose” to add a bit of gruff, while Poe smoothens out the playful and suggestive “She Wants More”.
Boj takes up chorus duties again on “Popping”, the one song that wasn’t about women, Palmwine Music’s other fascination. With Ghost absent, Tec took the time to compare what success meant to them back when they were ‘Dreamers’ on the come up and what it means to them right now.
Fresh, those times were the best
That year, we just wanted our respect
Whole crew fly, we were thinking we were next
So many steps up the ladder of success
Odunsi substitutes Ghost on “Popping” and raves about how much being on the same song with artists he used to look up to means to him. It’s one of Palmwine Music’s most powerful and sincere moments.
SDC have never been afraid to embrace new talent like this but they seem to pick their collaborators very carefully. The same thread that runs through their extended music family seems to run here too. For instance, in addition to Odunsi, the supremely talented Tomi Thomas is another young artist that makes an appearance. He gives “What You Want” a cloudy, South African house vibe.
Other members of SDC’s extended family that make appearances are Ajebutter22 and Funbi. Ajebutter22’s trademark off-key singing elevates “Independent Ladies” to the status of potential next single but it is Funbi’s antithetically smooth vocal performance on “Up To You”, the EP’s opener, that actually sets the tone for the entire project.
Palmwine Music might be SDC’s project but it was, no doubt, heavily influenced by the input of its young collaborators. Together, they’ve helped to open up an exciting new lane for the forward-thinking rap duo who’ve refused to stand still and stop innovating.