If you know music and you give the music a chance, this is largely good music with Vector doing some of his best bits of rap.
Amongst Nigerian Hip-Hop lovers, Vector’s discography is a subject of intense polarizing discussion. Most people feel Vector has no good albums, but his stans will have your head for even mooting the thought.
Four years after his third album, Lafiaji, he releases the 10-track VIBES Before T.E.S.L.I.M: The Journey To Self-Discovery. It is a precursor to his fifth album, T.E.S.L.I.M. The album was released on November 29, 2019 – two months after it was initially set to drop as an EP.
Topically, it is the most introspective, cohesive and balanced work Vector has released yet. Now 35, the man born Olanrewaju Ogunmefun uses the music as a Dictaphone and becomes a sensei. He is a voice of reason, he is a big brother and he is a rapper with a soul of substance.
When it comes down to it, the album’s major faults are a lack of potential groundbreaking songs and the necessary, yet flawed pursuit of a pop hit at the expense of resonant substance.
Ordinarily, the album would have been fine without groundbreaking songs, but as Vector attempts pop records with ‘hit’ potential, the metrics to judge this album switch. Once you attempt radio-friendly records on a project that would be perfect without any, you’re susceptible to be judged by those pop records.
The album comes in four forms; Vector, the sensei, Vector, Mr. Introspective, Vector, The Petty and Vector, Mr. Pop.
Vector, The Sensei
‘Mind Games’ is the best song on this project. Its beat sounds like something from Eminem’s Shady Records in the early 2000s. Vector rips into it with hungry savagery that’s drenched in substantial topics and dripping with killer cadences. The song seems a critique of millennial obsession with publicity. This is the Vector this writer wants to see more.
‘Man With A Gun’ features Bris B of LOS and it’s a socio-political chatter which critiques religion, vices and bad choices from the eye of tragedy. It feels like Vector questions the necessity of religion in a bad world where anything can end people at anytime.
Vector, Mr. Introspective
‘Vector’s Vibe’ is an adulation of a woman’s body towards the inevitable conclusion of sex.
Vector, The Petty
As the song draws to a close, it seems Vector takes fresh shots at MI Abaga. Was this necessary? Probably not.
The self-produced ‘Never Scared’ is the final track on this journey. With it, Vector is boisterous and aggressive. He even takes shots at music fans for underrating him. It is a good song built on honest rap, but…
Vector, Mr. Pop
Vector’s previous albums were destroyed by a scatterbrained approach to music. The rapper would try to do too much and end up saturating his albums. Even worse, the songs will feel hastily done or undercooked. This time, he’s calmer and more methodical.
Like MI Abaga’s 2018 album, The Self Evaluation of Yxng Dxnzl, some people will call Vibes Before T.E.S.L.I.M corny. But if you know music and you give the music a chance, this is largely good music with Vector doing some of his best bits of rap.
• 0-1.9: Flop
• 2.0-3.9: Near fall
• 6.0-7.9: Victory
• 8.0-10: Champion
Pulse Rating: /10
Content and Themes: 1.5/2
Enjoyability and Satisfaction: 1.4/2
7.0 – Victory