Kahli Abdu is a Nigerian born hip hop artist currently living in New York City. He was interested in music and wrote rap lyrics from a young age, but Kahli just recently began releasing music and is currently working on a full album project. He is involved in all the musical processes of his songs, from singing to production, and is inspired by traditional Nigerian musicians like Fela Kuti. The song “Festival” shows a great mix of musical styles and shows a promising future for Kahli Abdu.
“Festival” opens with a guitar riff that reminds me of the music in Paul Simon’s African inspired, world beat album Graceland. Then the beat drops, a technique trademarked by electronic music, and you cannot help but to want to dance. The lively, catchy music Kahli Abdu dubbed “Afro Electro” which is extremely fitting with the blend of African and dance club sounds.
While the music and production of the song “Festival” is well thought out and likable, in my opinion, the lyrics of the rap verses are lacking. The verses are not very deep, which is not uncommon for a catchy, dance song, nor are they clever like they lyrics of other popular hip hop songs, for example, the cliche line “My ego is taller than Eiffel.” The hook “Change your style, be like that.” does not make much sense nor is it meaningful.
However, as the rapping get more bland and repetitive, the music gets better with the addition of drums and a breakdown at the end, which is why I overall really like this song. I like the blend of styles Kahli Abdu has achieved and the musicality is relatable to audiences both in Nigeria and the United States.