Jamaican artists Stefflon Don, Govana and Projexx all made an appearance on Nigerian Afrobeats star Ruger’s Ru The World album, released last Friday.
The album capitalizes fully on the musical chops of the Jamaican talents, and even sees them stepping outside their comfort zones, as demonstrated by Stefflon Don in Addiction. The fifth track on the album Addiction, gives its surprise away in the title, as the song packages unfettered devotion and commitment into a glowing expression of love, longing and desire.
Stefflon Don flexes her versatility too, effortlessly delivering a melody-rich performance while adding to her growing catalogue of Afrobeats features. Interestingly, in the lines “Controller, controller-ah/I know ya, I know ya-ah” Ruger appears to follow the melody of Drake’s 2016 hit, Controlla.
Govana, in the meantime, is right at home in Likely – a track rooted in Ruger’s unabashed embrace of pleasure and the pursuit of it. With a backing instrumental that paces more closely to the typical Dancehall song, Likely explicitly props up the connection between Jamaican and Nigerian men, as well as that of each country’s women, by finding common ground in how both sexes engage in the art of seduction. Those similarities are further emphasized by both Govana and Ruger throughout the track, as both men take turns colourfully and metaphorically describing their intent to connect with a woman sexually.
The song is ultimately an expression of desire at its purest, especially when the context in which the song’s story unfolds – a chance encounter in a club – takes centerstage.
Projexx and Ruger reunite on Island Girl, the 13th track on the album, and the result feels like a relative – almost a sequel – to their 2022 collaboration, Sidepiece, a remix of Projexx’s popular single of the same name.
Both songs creatively play on the topic of infidelity, but Island Girl takes it up a notch with an audacious admission regarding a treasured extramarital affair – one Ruger has no intention of ending. Projexx, for his part, adds to the song’s already spicy allure by deepening its authenticity, revealing that the affair is with an island girl. The song’s credibility is further validated by Projexx’s delivery, which is in stark contrast Ruger’s slightly more up-tempo crooning.
While both men champion the message that they will not leave their island girls, despite having their wives, the song’s barefaced embrace of infidelity is made palatable as it appears to be less of a literal stance taken, and more so an extreme and ironic expression of commitment.
Ruger, known for his modern twist on Konto music – a hybrid of Dancehall and Afrobeats – tapped the Dancehall artists to good effect, as each song clearly defines itself and its influences amidst a collection of tracks oozing with hedonism and creativity.
The now trailblazing Afrobeats artist first rose to fame with his song Bounce back in 2021 – a single from his just-as-successful Pandemic EP. He later inked a deal with Columbia Records and Sony Music Entertainment, UK division, on which he would go on to release a string of memorable projects.