It’s no secret that Skales is working on a new album aptly titled The Never Say Never Guy – the singer’s resilience and refusal to give up in the face of innumerable adversity is probably the reason for the album title.
It saddens me to see that Skales, an artist whom we once took serious when he shared his Grammy ambitions, has become the butt of jokes in the Nigerian internet space.
When it comes to greatness, that’s the one I don’t miss
Like a girl that ain’t married yet, the Grammy’s is what I’m trying to get
Banky W (ft. Skales) – “Can’t Stop Me”
It may be hard to believe now but there was a time when Banky W lined up Skales and Wizkid as his lieutenants at Empire Mates Entertainment, the two artists weren’t equal in any way but at least they were comparable. After failing to live up to expectations on Empire Mates, Skales left the label in 2014 after 4 fruitless years.
After toiling for a couple of more years, he signed a deal with Baseline Records and the song “Shake Body” came in and changed his life for the better. But that was over 2 years ago, these days when Skales’ name does trend it’s usually because Twitter has gotten on his case for a misstep rather than his exploits in music. The soft-spoken singer has taken a lot of L’s in his career but in recent months, he has been blessed with a number of strong W’s and it’s hard not to root for him going into this new project.
The new album, The Never Say Never Guy, will be out soon and Skales embodies its very spirit by stubbornly refusing to be counted out. After a very public falling out with Baseline Records, and eventual reconciling with the label, Skales poured out all of his frustrations into his pen and reacquainted with his former boss Banky W on the triumphant comeback single “Nobody’s Business”. That’s the definition of reality music. The song was important because it stopped the bleeding and changed the narrative decisively from Skales being a punching bag to Skales being a fighter.
But “Nobody’s Business” didn’t set the charts on fire, that responsibility was given to “Temper (Remix)” featuring Burna Boy. The mid-tempo, anti-rage crusade became a street anthem, particularly early in the year. Sadly, just when we thought Skales was finally about to catch a break, the video for the song was blocked on YouTube after a complaint by the Fela estate – there were were reportedly issues around sampling Fela’s catalog without permission. But after clearing things up with the estate, the video was unblocked and Skales has apparently been given the green light to place it on his sophomore album. The “Temper (Remix)” moment is important too because the record has become Skales’ biggest hit since the monstrous smash “Shake Body”.
But that’s not even all for the Never Say Never Guy, late last year, he celebrated the achievement of buying his mother a house – being able to take care of his mom is a desire he expresses often in his music. Early in 2017, Skales also launched his own record label OHK Entertainment and signed a young rapper, Santos, to the roster, as he began the tough transition from artist to label owner. Even more recently, Major Lazer recruited him Yung L and Chopstix for the Afro-remix of their hit single “Run Up”. The original version of the song featured superstars Partyextdoor and Nicki Minaj and peaked at number 66 on the US Billboard Hot 100. He couldn’t be in better company than this, watch below:
What a difference a few months and some strategic planning can make. Skales has had a remarkable turnaround in the last 12 months and hopefully this upcoming album will help him put all of that ugliness behind him once and for all, especially since his debut album Man Of The Year was a massive letdown. Skales has truly given himself a second chance and we can’t wait to see what else he’ll do with it.
The singer held a listening session for the album in London last night and the feedback, so far, has been encouraging. Unlike his crowded debut, this album has 16 tracks and 3 bonus tracks and features collaborations with artists like Wande Coal, Phyno, Timaya, Rotimi and Lil Kesh, Davido and Tekno are on the bonus tracks. Peep the album cover and track list below:
Arguably the biggest steal was in getting Maroon 5 singer PJ Morton on the project. PJ has been with the superstar band since 2010 and is one of the keyboardists. He also has a solo career away from the band as a singer/songwriter and his presence raises expectations about the musicality of the Never Say Never Guy album, as well as anticipation for its release.