Ric Hassani is an artist who loves to wear his heart on his sleeve.
Whether he’s rolling out the superlatives in romantic expressions or declaring anathema on a lover who spurned his love, Ric Hassani makes music straight from the heart.
The R&B star has been on the front line of propelling R&B in a pop-dominated market and his talent has won him fans at home and abroad where many Nigerians might be surprised at the huge popularity of his music in Southern America.
On his third album Afro Love, Ric Hassani domesticates R&B to tell an enjoyable African love story that draws from his vulnerabilities while also encouraging Black men to explore their emotions.
Deploying different Nigerian indigenous genres including Folk, Highlife, Afrobeats, and even the South African Amapiano, Ric Hassani crafts an album that appeals to the sensitivity of Nigerians and rolls back the years on the R&B music that shaped the Afrobeats soundscape in the early 2000s.
Across 15 songs, Ric Hassani offers love anthems that help those lacking the words to express their feelings and those swimming in love to soundtrack the moment.
With the beauty of love and the positivity it offers as the album’s defining theme, Ric Hassani takes listeners on a musical journey that starts with the soothing I.G.D.T with Bayyani where they deploy Folk and quintessential wordings from the Nigerian love dictionary.
A good part of the album is delivered in Pidgin and a blend of indigenous languages as Ric Hassani makes a decisive effort to craft the album for the average Nigerian consumer. His decision to feature Bella Shmurda, an artist whose music connects with the Street, is a testament to Ric Hassani’s efforts.
His writing across the album is straightforward and easily comprehensible. This heightens the emotional connection the track offers and also makes it easily digestible for listeners as is popular with Afrobeats.
While the album is driven by captivating R&B cuts like Ngozi, For You, and Oshe Mama where he adds a sensual touch, and his exciting cover of Paul Play’s Angel Of My Life offers nostalgia, the album also carries a well-balanced touch of Pop elements.
After the punctuation by the nostalgic Angel of My Life, the songs pick up the pace and step into Pop territory starting with I Love You. Kaku – Late see Ric Hasaani deliver smooth melodies and street lamba over speaker rattling Amapiano production on a track that suggests some Wande Coal influences.
Ric Hassani deploys simplistic Afrobeats writing and production on Amina and Ayiba, and on Confidence where he channels some Mr. Eazi-type melodies. These records combined with his Amapiano exploration on Kaku-Late and his fusion of Log drums and subtle electronic elements on Call On Me to create was his mainstream-leaning album yet.
While the use of orchestra is now a mainstream staple, Ric Hassani explores it from a gospel music angel in what showcases his church influences. This gospel influence shines in Love Again and on I’m Falling In Love where he showcases his breathtaking vocals.
Overall, Afro Love is crafted with everyday Nigerian listeners in mind, and the album was able to satisfy their sensibilities through an impressive domestication of R&B.
Ric Hassani is a shining light in Nigerian R&B and while he’s yet to enjoy the mainstream recognition his success deserves, with easily enjoyable music like he delivered in Afro Love, it’s only a matter of time before he gets his dues.
• 0-1.9: Flop
• 2.0-3.9: Near fall
• 4.0-5.9: Average
• 6.0-7.9: Victory
• 8.0-10: Champion
Pulse Rating: /10
Album Sequencing: 1.6/2
Songwriting, Themes, and Delivery: 1.6/2
Enjoyability and Satisfaction: 1.5/2
TOTAL – 7.9 – Victory