Asa’s eponymous album was released over a decade ago, it was smash hit. A star was born, a sonic maverick showed her prowess to the world with strings of singles all aided by guitar.
A year before the release of Asha by Asa, an album was churn out by her then record label, Question mark record, it was titled The Captivator, a 12 tracks album. A careful listener would observe the gritty Asa who was suffering from identity crisis, she was fumbling with some sounds, one particular one comes to mind, imagine Asa on an Afrobeat sound? It was embarrassing but it all part of the self-discovery she was going through, only two tracks off The Captivator made the final cut for Asha.
Jailer was a coded message to the Question mark record label owner, the line are sad and resigning like we are all in this together. “You don’t care about my point of view”, if I die, another will work for you”. Those lines are glaring, 360 explored conflict resolution, the lyrics inviting, drop your gun, let embrace peace.
Asha always have her share of the other side of love, she became too hard on her self via Bibanke, at some point, she called herself fool for trusting the guy too much, losing herself in the process of wining him back, on the outro, she laid her problem to God, no doubt she loved this guy but it a one way traffic, she has been living in folly.
If Asa was sad on Bibanke, it multiplied on Awe, now we know the name of the boyfriend, his name is Waheed pronounced as Waheeedi, the son of Sekinh, Muina, Muhammed. Awe explored the concept of DNA, sugar mummy, a lot of questions are left unanswered on this tune, I think it one of Asa’s way of letting the audience deduce the message of her song, she is not preachy, she leads you on. Awe was the convergence point of Folklore and soul.
Heartbreaks birth distrust, we take the other people for granted, we live in out shell, peeping out at will, Subway can be likened to an open epistle to a toaster, I am not interested she softly says, Fire on the mountain is dark but Asa makes it light with her lines, two years after the release of this ditty, her country Nigeria began it unending battle with the dreaded terrorist group Boko Haram, don’t you think Asa is a prophet. No doubt, there is fire on the mountain, we are still waiting for the right time to run or we might not even run at all.
In 2008, Adaba FM start their morning transmission beth with this song, damn, it was also my early morning starter, Asa curated a song for everyone, it a prayer, a solemn one. A spiritual undertaking with the God, the guitar are soft, she strings while she sing along, in retrospection, she was praying.
No One Knows questioned a lot of life choices, the war, the poverty, the fight between the have and the have not and like she rightly posit, tomorrow get belle, nobody know it. The track has some political undertone and reassesses Asa’s legacy. She cares about the so much.
Peace is the antithesis of fire on the Mountain, Asa’s once recounted the emotional and psychological abuse her mum suffered from her father, this was one of the element that formed the story on this song ” Nitori Omo, Ojiya nile oko”. Asa ended the journey with a trip to church via Iba. Iba is a Yoruba word for homage.
Backed by Orchestra and a pristine production from Cobhams Asuquo, there is no doubt that Asa’s debut album will always be a reference point in Nigeria music, unlike the hurriedly put together album by her former record label, on this project Asa stayed on her lane, becoming a Nina Simone stunner with some Yoruba folkloric tweak.
The stories are steeped in deep introspection, this album was recorded while she was 23 years old but she was no doubt ahead of her peers in the ways she sings, the flow of sequential arrangement of the story in each track.
Asha by Asa is a diary by a troubled child who see music as an escape route, the tracks were arranged in a way you can find the response to a track on another track if you listen carefully. On some of track, Waheedi was her inspiration, the story of how that guy run her street formed about four tracks on this album.