Sarkodie’s “No Pressure” is “Highest” 2.0 [Pulse Album Review]

It’s the 7th, and that number is spesh, but “No Pressure” is just an upgrade of his 5th studio project "Highest" and leaves a run-of-the-mill impression.

Sarkodie's No Pressure album cover

After weeks of massive social media hype and separate listening sessions amid postponement of the project, Sarkodie’s 7th studio collection “No Pressure” is finally with us. The album spent months in the lab due to fine-tuning but most importantly and technically, to achieve a phoenix package. It’s a 16-track project (lasting 53 minutes) and features top local and international stars. American rappers; Vic Mensa and Wale, U.K rapper Giggs, South African rapper Cassper Nyovest, Tanzanian singer Harmonize, Nigerian singers Moelogo and Oxlade, and Ghanaian stars Medikal, Kwesi Arthur and Darkovibes appear on the album.

“No Pressure” explores different subjects but can be assorted into three: brags, love and praise.

The two-time BET Award-winner is confident in his brand and arts, intrepid and sees no competition in his domain. The opening track, “Rollies & Cigars,” reaffirms his place on the market, lays out his new agenda (zero tolerance to fake friends) and sets the tone for the album. “24/7 we put in the work overtime but we try to keep down on the low/uncountable records I leave on the streams/me ho mpre me to get back on the road/you go fit skip all the moments in music but the Sarkodie story de3 it gotta be told/the only n*gga wey show you the way, over decade but still aa I be cold,” Sarkodie reaffirms. He is done with fake friends. “Wo te dam tw3n manna. Oh saa, bra Charles/Se sei no fake friends, only Rollies and cigars,” he makes his intention known.

Sarkodie endeavours to maintain his 'throne' with “Vibration” (feat. Vic Mensa) and “Married to the Game” (feat. Cassper Nyovest) and makes fashion statements with “No Fugazy.” “Got a lot of manners in my heart I’ve got to let out/Real n*gga kakra bi na deserve me shout out/yeah, they don’t wanna give what I deserve/after nea may3 nyinaa you people got the nerves,” he fires on “Married to the Game.”

Despite his confidence and influence, Sarkodie is a bit jittery. He feels threatened by the new crop of rappers. His effort on “Anything” and “Round 2” (feat. Giggs) says it all. “When I see y’all trying to compare me to these boys e dey make I feel offended,” he fires on “Round 2,” “Like n*gga got hits on hits, got a BET and I did it independent/my people dey criticize me but 3ba no war front aa I’m highly recommended.”

In all these, the Tema-native has a big heart for women. It’s evident on his last three albums. On “Coachella” (feat. Kwesi Arthur), “Fireworks” (feat. Wale & Moelogo), “Non-Living Thing” (feat. Oxlade), “I Wanna Love You” (feat. Harmonize), “Jaara” (feat. Medikal) and “Whipped” (feat. Darkovibes), Sarkodie demonstrates how much he can invest in love. To make the entire section for love a flawless one, he taps the best singers out there on the African market. While Harmonize brings the Bongo Flava vibes on “I Wanna Love You,” Benerl, Moelogo and Oxlade blend the Naija-GH vibes to produce aesthetically enthralling and soul-soothing sounds. The Nigerian stars flow brilliantly in Twi and leave no stone unturned on their respective features.

Sarkodie might sound domineering sometimes and may possess a ‘godly’ nature, still, the rapper acknowledges the Almighty. He recognizes the Superior Being and believes he would fail without him. “Every time I feel like I’m going down/he’s gonna lift me up/Thank you for turning my life around,” Sarkodie is full of praise on “I’ll Be There for You” (feat. MOG Music).

“No Pressure” is well packaged, with tracks that hit different nerves and play with emotions, however, just like the “Highest” collection, Sarkodie leaves no room for politics, social issues or activism. He could have explored more pressing subjects and bring to bear the realities on the streets (which is what the millennials and generation-z are dying to consume). The songs on the album share a striking resemblance with “Highest,” but stands out due to distinguished production input and contemporary lyrics. It’s the 7th, and that number is spesh, but “No Pressure” is just an upgrade of his 5th studio project "Highest" and leaves a run-of-the-mill impression.

RATING

2 out of 5

DETAILS

Album: No Pressure

No. of Tracks: 16

Label: Eagle/SarkCess Music

Stream the full album below.

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