Peruzzi, over the times, has proven to be a most resilient artiste. For an artiste barely four years into the game, he has two projects. The first of those, Heartwork was a curious probing into relationships. The songs were sadly overlooked, with the exception of “Majesty” which became a sensation after a sensationalist Nigerian audience took it up and gulped it with a dose of Cee-c. Reviewing Heartwork, I had this to say: “Heartwork is not a bad project, but neither is it an adequate representation of Peruzzi’s potential.” Enter Huncho Vibez.
Whereas he had the grace of turning in a rather average first project, with his extended stay in the game, he is expected to better that. The vibe, as Peruzzi is known for embodying, is melodies, carried on the wings of his songwriting and his serenading vocals. In some quarters, Peruzzi’s music has been “accused” of being too much of an ear candy. At the expense of being formulaic did Peruzzi introduce himself; nowadays, he is a household name, and there are greater levels of artistic freedom unlocked to him. How fiercely would he wield this power?
The opener “Destiny” promises depth, as a sage-like voice narrating a tale of birth and glory emerges. A prince today, yes, but a king tomorrow for sure. Huncho is introduced amidst a sequence of ominous sounding music. Peruzzi comes into the song as sure as a MF. His delivery is pristine, the beat bangs. There isn’t much singing to hold on to, as he suitably sets a kind of utopian vibe – “Destiny” lends perspective to the album artwork. I thought it below par, but here is a Lion King-esque narration, and boisterous production plucked from Afrobeats finer qualities. The next song, “Show Me Love,” is bubbly and warm; a grateful Peruzzi thanks God for his success, asking where he would have been, were it not for divine intervention. “Bounce” takes a drastic turn – thematically, that is – as he adulates a lady’s body. Mid-tempo, the song trails the deliberate path of Peruzzi when singing of love, lust, or longing. “Come and roll one if you really not scared of heights” is a bar.
Love has always been Peruzzi’s favored topic, and here, he very well explores it. But rather than express its nuances with the dexterity of, say, an Asa, he relies on The Vibe, a musical experience gotten from the Pon Pon sound; Peruzzi’s music in this sense, due to his romantic tendencies, can be seen through the lens of an hybrid genre which flits between Afro Pop and R & B. On most of the songs off Huncho Vibez, we get this: the Davido-assisted “Sunshine” is a standout, with its heartfelt lyrics playing well into the rolling drums that frequent its production; “Only One” is another win, a potential hit. Lyric-wise, Peruzzi flaunts his skill with the pen, returning to a theme he explored on “Did You,” a song off Heartwork. I can imagine “Your leg work e pass Zanku” being a caption for some heartbroken dude on Instagram. “Gerrout” still plays on this righteous anger, with Peruzzi singing rather passionately of a girl he’s wooing.
The trio of “Gumbody,” “Nana,” and “Mauriello” presents one of the finest three song stretch on any Nigerian tape this year. The first, a romantic number which plays on intimacy, Peruzzi’s singing floating majestically over the ballad-esque production. “Nana,” as the listeners and critics conjecture, is a pure vibe, an ear candy which thrives in the recognition of the creator’s better qualities. “Mauriello” is a heart-warming song of longing, with Peruzzi favoring the creation of a mood – the song features just a verse, but like true artistes are expected to do, the minimalism still wraps this listener, and in that pop culture phrasing, gives him the feels.
Huncho Vibez ends with “No Be Mistake,” a declaration of love, and in typical money-is-ultimate culture, Peruzzi drops one of the album’s more memorable lines: “Before you know, girl you dun get the alert o/ Confirm my love no be for mouth o.” The Speroach production, like most on this tape, settles comfortably in a relaxed mood, a perfect vehicle for the similarly-styled singing of Peruzzi.
As expected, Peruzzi’s album is full of love-related songs, with the exception of “Destiny,” the opener which tends to be deceptive —the narrative concept begins and ends there. The album also suffers from a lack of dynamism: most of the songs pander too easily to a defined sound and while this could be good for individual streams (on their own, the songs are well worthy of your data) and all, it diminishes this work in respect to the tag of an “album.” A look at some of the better albums in any generation reveals a sort of robustness in sound and theme. Huncho Vibez, for all its charm, lacks this essentiality. Although an upgrade on Heartwork, it hurts to know that this album could have easily been better.