ALBUM: Show Dem Camp – “Palmwine Music Vol. 3”

With a career spanning over a decade, Show Dem Camp have established themselves as Nigerian rap monarchs by deftly gliding between moods, eras, and soundscapes with the ease and panache of skilled curators. The Clone Wars series, populated by gritty, forthright reflections on life, politics, religion, and tribalism has served as a repository for the bulk of their most candid and explosive work—while the more sonorous, hiplife-influenced Palmwine Music series opened a new chapter for SDC, providing an outlet for the duo’s more carefree reflections and rambunctious desires as well as housing some of their most catchy, radio-friendly output.

Billed as the final leg of the trilogy that began in 2017, Palmwine Music 3 is another languid showcase of SDC’s flawless rap techniques and pristine storytelling bound together by their joie de vivre. Importantly, the duo want to close this era out with love. “I think it is important that we end it with love,” Tec tells Apple Music. “If this is where it ends, it’s important that this project is about love. I think it might open a realistic take on love and relationships. At the end of the day, love and relationships, whether of family or love of friends or love of partner or love of children, I think it’s very important. I think what we were able to do with Palmwine Music is create a community where other artists come to shine, feel safe, and feel there’s a spotlight on them, and we grew it out together.”

Played out across 14 songs and three skits, Palmwine Music 3 is uplifted by a roll call of guests like Oxlade, Bellah, and MannyWellz. With the experience of running their pandemic-era Instagram Live show, Palmwine Radio, Palmwine Music 3 is crafted in similar style and the skits–sequenced after Lagos radio station phone-ins–offer a chaotic yet truthful approximation of the highs and lows of love and romance in Nigeria. Read on as Ghost and Tec talk us through key tracks from the album.

Head Over Heels [Show Dem Camp & Victony]
Ghost: “We had done this one a while ago, and it’s one that I gravitated to immediately. Spax created the hook and Victony did a madness on the chords. It has that original Palmwine sound, but it also features a new artist that we haven’t worked with before. We did that song with Victony before lockdown, before he had a lot of life-changing moments. I even feel super blessed, based on how his story has developed that we’re even able to have him here, to put out this song with him. I think it’s really a blessing.”

Live Life [Show Dem Camp & Tems]
Tec: “There’s a funny story to this because every time we’re in the studio with Tems and Spax, she always says to Spax–whether for her own songs or for our songs, but especially for her own songs–she says, “Why do you keep giving me soft beats? Give me something that Show Dem Camp could rap on. I want hard beats.” For herself, not even for us. In that particular session, Spax gave her another soft beat and she was trying to write to it, but she’s like, “No, I want something different.” She jumped on it because she actually likes hip-hop. Obviously, we’d done some tracks with Tems previously. She’s now an official Palmwine tapper.”

First Time Caller (Skit)
Ghost: “That’s Ebiye Victor. He’s literally natural and so funny. We told him the idea about this Palmwine radio and him being a feature in some of the commentary. He came up with some amazing skits. Folu Storms is someone that we’re tight with, so, she came along also. I think Ebiye is actually one of the funniest people in real life, and on Instagram, that I’ve ever seen. Folu Storms as well, she’s been on the radio for a while, but she’s actually also a master at her work. It just felt so easy and seamless.”

Mine Alone [Show Dem Camp & Oxlade]
Tec: “This is the actual last song that we recorded for the project. Oxlade had been hitting us up like, ‘This is one of the things I need to do in my career” be on a Palmwine album’.. He delivered a crazy hook; it’s a crazy song.”

Wyw [Show Dem Camp & Bellah]
Tec: “I feel like a lot of people would really be able to relate to this one. When you break up with someone, everybody says, “I wish you the best and I hope you find love,” but we don’t really mean that. Especially if a person breaks up with you. I think Bellah is such an amazing writer. When we got into the studio, she just had such a unique perspective. She decided to attack it from [the] angle, ‘I don’t want to wish you good. Let me tell you how we really feel when you guys do your nonsense, and choose to leave. Let me tell you how we really feel, because we were not happy seeing you.’ We laughed so much in our session because it was such a real thing.”

Your Love [Show Dem Camp & Lojay]
Ghost: “When we did this one, we thought it was going to be like our ‘Tropicana.’ or ‘Do Me Nice’. I think it’s a very radio-friendly record but in terms of lyrics, it’s also raw. Lojay is a very dope vocalist and artist, and when it comes to the studio, Lojay is actually a beast. He actually came and said, ‘Put three beats on’; he selected three beats and he basically bloodied all three. He was like, ‘One of these three is going to make this project’. The rate at which he recorded those melodies, the way he found words for everything, I’ve never really seen anything like that before, to be honest. So, shout out to Lojay.”

Bad Design [Show Dem Camp, WurlD & M.anifest]
Tec: “With M.anifest, that’s my guy. Beyond the music, even if we had never done this song, whenever I come to Ghana that’s one of the people I check in with. Ghost and WurlD had been talking about doing a song. I think we sent something out to WurldD, he sent it to Ghost, Ghost sent it to him, and WurlD sent it back.Then when he sent it to me, I was like, ‘You know, it’s random but I hear M.anifest on this’. I’ve been trying to get Ghost to put a verse down, but he says there are three dope verses on it already.”

Bad Breakup (Skit)
Tec: “Sometimes you drive in traffic in Lagos and put on the radio and tune in to stations like Wazobia and there are people calling in. Some of the things they say are just outrageous or funny. We felt like there was no way we were going to do a Naija radio or Palmwine Radio and not have that element of people calling in and giving their agony tales.”

Apollo [Show Dem Camp & Tay Iwar]
Tec: “Tay is someone that I’ve been a huge fan of for a long time. A lot of people call us alte OGs and we definitely realise our place in the alternative and hip-hop scene, but Tay is someone that I don’t think gets enough credits for his part. I remember his first few projects on SoundCloud really started the SoundCloud generation of Nigerian artists. I think he’s definitely one of the four flagbearers of alte music as it’s known in Nigeria. ‘Apollo’ was one of the first songs that we did for this project because Tay’s music was what I was listening to at that time, and he killed it. Even for me as a rapper that’s probably one of my favourite verses on the project as well. I really love that song.”

If It’s Love [Show Dem Camp & Twelve XII]
Tec: “Funny enough, Tay Iwar introduced me to Twelve. Tay sent me some music they had done together and I realised the kid was amazing. For us, a lot of the time when we’re doing features, people are like, ‘You can’t feature this guy, he’s not big enough or whatever’, but it’s about quality music with us and us probably being the first to use our platform to shine the light on this guy’s music. It’s very important for us. When he sent us that, I called Ghost up and I was like, ‘Yo, one young kid from Abuja has sent us a crazy jam’.”

No Regrets [Show Dem Camp & Moelogo]
Ghost: “That’s another palm wine tapper. We joke around and say when we want to make a classic Palmwine tape with certain elements, Moelogo always comes with something special. Every song we’ve done with him on this series has been special and, on this one, it came with a very spiritual essence. The message was that we walk on a path and live with it. There’s just something so spiritual about Moelogo when he’s singing in Yoruba, and I was so glad that he was able to able to bless what might be a closer to an amazing trilogy. If the trilogy is to be closed out by Palmwine Music 3, there’s no more beautiful way to close it out.”

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