Later this year, 2baba, formerly known as 2face Idibia will be celebrating his 20th anniversary in the industry.
Two glorious decades that has seen him become one of the all-time legends in the game, and even though his personal life comes with headline-grabbing controversies, it is the music that has defined him and that is what we will champion today.
With a catalogue that holds six solo albums, one reloaded project and two group albums, this article will not consider the albums released during his time as a Plantashun Boy but only focus on his solo career that kicked off in 2004, when he released his debut album, ‘‘Face2Face” under the label, Kennis Music.
Here is a ranking of every 2baba album, ranked from Good to Best. [P.S: He does not have any bad album]
6. Ascension 
His last studio album till date fills the last spot not necessarily because it was underwhelming or that terrible, but because it was 2Baba and his standards are quite high and when he delivers anything less than his legacy demands, then it’s bound to cause a mixed reaction.
The album spawns singles like ‘Let Somebody Love You’ and ‘Hate What You Do To Me’. It was an experimental album, one that saw a lot of ‘continental’ sounds, an attempt to appeal to an audience beyond the Nigerian space but somehow most of the songs were lethargic and at best mediocre, failing to make any necessary impact on the scene.
5. The Unstoppable album 
At the time it was released, this was a personal favorite for me. The 19 track project was filled with bop heavy Afropop singles from ‘Enter The Place’, ‘Can’t Do Without You’ featuring Melissa Briggs, the conscious ‘Go Down There’ with UK rapper Sway, the spiritual anthems ‘Free’ and ‘Oh Papa’ with some interesting international collaborations including ‘Flex’ that features R. Kelly.
What was there not to like about this album? But coming from the heavy high of his first two albums, ‘The Unstoppable’ struggled to match the expectations of his fans and failed to fit into the trending era of canned, commercialized music.
For the first time in his career, 2baba’s music was being criticized, his ‘god’ personality was being challenged, and the reviews drove a nail through his heart. But despite the backlash, the album still makes for a fun and exciting listen.
4. Away and Beyond 
Having warned prior to its release that the ”Away and Beyond” album was for matured minds only, 2baba delivered a performance worthy of the MVP Awards on his fifth solo album.
The albums’ opening track is ‘Spiritual Healing’, a song that steers the compass of his growth, maturity and vision. The apologetic single, ‘Rainbow’ is one of the finest love songs ever written by a Nigerian artist while other records like ‘Dance In The Rain,’ ‘Ihe Neme’, ‘Dance Floor,’ and the Terry Tha Rapman assisted, ‘Bother You’ makes this a body of work that breathes.
Stripped down to nothing but the quality of the music, the songwriting and signature sounds, this may arguably be 2baba’s best ever body of work.
3. The Unstoppable International Edition 
Two years after the release of the original edition, which was lukewarmly received, 2baba reissued the album this time cutting it down to 14 tracks with the addition of 7 new songs, placing it at a premium sale price of N1K per copy and the result was fire.
Singles like ‘Implication’ and ‘Only Me’ became anthems in every home, while ‘Rain Drops’ and ‘Be There’ were choice favorites. He had listened to his critics, reworked his vocal arrangements and upped the ante with more lush and elegant sounds.
This was the masterpiece comeback album after being knocked down by the media and critics who swore that he was finished.
2. Grass 2 Grace 
A timeless piece of work, one that made the ‘sophomore jinx’ look like an imagined fairy tale. One that not only set new standards but redefined it.
It’s an album packed with enjoyable, meaningful and depth-laden songs all through. It paraded singles like ‘See Me So’, ‘E Be Like Say’ featuring Soul E, ‘4 Instance,’ ‘If Love Is A Crime,’ and the VIP collaboration, ‘My Love.’ Every song on this album was actually a hit ‘back to back’. Flawless, inspirational and balanced. The album won him numerous awards including the 2007 MOBO award.
1. Face 2 Face 
Flip the first two spots and really, very little people will argue with their positions but the album that ultimately made 2baba who he is today, muted every doubt surrounding his ability to succeed as a solo act and provided the very template upon which he recreated his subsequent albums and even influenced his generation is ”Face2Face,” his first ever solo project.
”I’m coming out straight this time, I’m coming out with the little of my own kind of peace of mind, I’m doing it my way this time, Like I’m not gonna bore you with some flimsy kind of piece of rhymes” [Opening lines from the lead single, ‘Nfana Ibaga’]
While his vocal prowess was never in doubt, there were concerns about his songwriting skills and ability to churn out hits without the support of the boys, but to every question asked, 2baba answered them all with confidence and reinvention.
Lyrically and sonically, ‘Face2Face’ set the genre on a whole new path, ‘African Queen’ is a classic. It broke every record that existed, opening every doors and 15 years after, the song remains a classic.
There were no bad songs or fillers on this album? You probably would have to start from the very top with the lead single, ‘Nfana Ibaga’ [No Problem], an inspirational track that details his journey and convictions as he opens a new chapter in his life, ‘Ole’ [Thief] ft. Freestyle which is a sweet love record, the OJB written ‘Right Here’, the rock-influenced ‘U No Holy Pass’, to the party starter, ‘Keep On Rockin’ and the thought-provoking ‘Odi Ya.’
Everything about the album seemed to flow perfectly, and it will forever be celebrated as his most complete, dynamic and quintessential body of work.