The African Gentleman (Deluxe Edition)
After his breakout single “Gentleman” garnered him both AFRIMA and Headies Awards nominations, singer-songwriter Ric Hassani released his debut album The African Gentleman in 2017. A sonic manifestation of his suave aesthetic, this offering incorporated resonant West African percussion, Southern African melodies and Lusophone rhythms into Hassani’s guitar-driven style. This largely acoustic, mellow iteration of Afro-soul borrowed from R&B, highlife and pop while pairing romantic storytelling with explorations of Africa’s regional sounds. The resultant collaborations with compatriots Johnny Drille and M.I Abaga were accompanied by contributions from Angola’s Cabo Snoop, Zambia’s Mumba Yachi and Malawi’s Songezo and Tay Grin. The main anchor of this project was, however, the honeyed voice of the artist christened Ikechukwu Eric Ahiauzu, whose effortless traversal of the maternal (“Sweet Mother”), matrimonial (“Number One” & “Marry You”) and passionate (“Oge Na Ga”) provided soundtracks for moments of appreciation, courtship and joy.