Modern Griots Review: Tunde Olaniran’s “The Second Transgression”

“Kill or Be Killed”

Singer Tunde Olaniran continues his disorientation from the norm through his hybridizing of sounds, styles (ex. electronic, rock, afro-beat, house, hip-hop, pop), identities and thoughts in his The Second Transgression.  The five-track EP presents a dark, dramatic soundscape that lends well to fantasy visual, as in his video above for “Kill or Be Killed.” The appropriately titled first-track “2.0,” which features Flobots rapper Jonny 5, has a flipbookish quick-changing beats and synth with Olaniran melodically flowing within the mix. The song gives an impression of the singer searching through the different pieces of himself to create a new seamless self. “Autonomous” with its distorted guitars and heavy beats describes the battle of trying to forget feelings for a lost love as if programmed to be automatic in his system despite his refusal.

In “Sun Goes Down”, the edgier distortion of sounds complements the kind of horror “werewolf” or “Dr. Jeklyll and Mr. Hyde” double-identity theme of the lyrics: “Don’t point over there/it’s because you never like what you see in the mirror/you’re missing your crown/in the day you’re just a man/ but when the sun goes down.” “Kill or Be Killed,” with its pulsating electro-bass and drums, expresses a painful love (“love kills”) that is teetering on the edge towards complete destruction. Finally, the first-released single, “Brown Boy,” is a detour from the other tracks on the EP, a celebration of being proud of who you are even as you are on the margins. Sampling singing Chinese school children and a police chief’s retirement speech, it is a victory song and crown to top off the ritualistic struggles embedded in the other tracks.

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