Conflicted is the aptly titled Debut EP from Emmanuel B. The Nigerian-born, Canadian-based rapper is determined to express knowledge through rap, even as he confronts his demons and encourages listeners to do the same. Conflicted explores the artist’s Christian background, highlighting the struggles between choosing the right path, or taking the easier but ultimately less rewarding path. Loaded with introspective lyrics and poetic bars, Conflicted is the perfect introduction into the artist’s world. A well-constructed tape that showcases his talent and artistry alike, and ultimately a piece of himself.
The project’s first track, Pressure, is a cutting and carefully crafted reflection on the challenges of making one’s way in the modern world as a young man. The track showcases his evolution, both in his music and personal life. Emmanuel B’s confidence comes across clearly on the track as he discusses his come-up and his determination to build wealth even as the world seems to be against him. He is here to “secure the bag” no matter the challenges involved.
On The Firmament, Emmanuel B enlists Abuja-native Charles III. Both artists trade verses over a heavily gospel-influenced track using Biblical anecdotes and metaphors, alongside clever rhyme schemes. The track talks about the present state, after successfully manoeuvring the pressures of life. He looks to God as his source of protection, although he’s been able to secure the bag, he needs God’s help to help him keep the bag secured. Also, with the bag comes the question of loyalty amongst friends and family, this is later addressed in detailed in upcoming track Aisha Jones.
Terror Freestyle features fellow Winnipeg Artist Kozii, and could be named as the standout track of the project. The background track is reminiscent of early 90s rap, featuring few elements but making an unforgettable impression. Similarly, Kozii and Emmanuel B adopt the same aggressive and self-assured cadence of the rappers of that time period, although their flow and bars are completely original; menacing yet profound lyrics that stick with listeners long after the song has ended.
Aisha Jones adopts a slower tempo than the rest of the songs on the project, allowing listeners to focus more on the artist’s words as he explores themes of love and loyalty. The track is somewhat futuristic as he questions the loyalty of the people around him. He fears that his partner might one day switch up on him and tell his secrets to another man. The hook showcases a different side to the artist as he sings over the beat in a passionate appeal to listeners; “I hope that you understand, all your kin-folk ain’t your friends”.
The final song on the project, Beauty, is noteworthy for its peaceful melodies. The background track is heavy on the strings which act as the perfect outro to the project. Emmanuel B raps about the beauty and sanctity of life, highlighting the importance of appreciating every little moment as life is a gift. Trying to appreciate life as it is now, not worrying about the past or the future, he has determined to trust God through it all. It ends with a thank you note to the listeners for taking this journey with him and to God for his many blessings.