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I believe in the complexity of the human story and that there’s no way you can tell that story in one way and say, This is it. Always there will be someone who can tell it differently depending on where they are standing; the same person telling the story will tell it differently. I think of that masquerade in Igbo festivals that dances in the public arena. The Igbo people say, If you want to see it well, you must not stand in one place. The masquerade is moving through this big arena. Dancing. If you’re rooted to a spot, you miss a lot of the grace. So you keep moving, and this is the way I think the world’s stories should be told –  from many different perspectives.
         Chinua Achebe

Caleb Hanson Iboro, as someone earlier conjectured, is more than a rapper. He’s,  as Achebe said, a masquerade. His career is a metaphor for his world.

But because the usual distance of a metaphor is absent from Paybac’s work, a listen to him gives you the impression you’ve known him all his life. From his earlier tapes, he has transcended shapes and colors, broken out of boxes meant to hold the purpose of a rapper.

What is he doing, telling continuously of his depression? Isn’t Nigeria a depressing song already? In one of his many songs about depression, a female voice, presumably a close friend tells him to be happy. It’s a state he has tinkered with over time but like sinking sand, they only seem to hold him for a while, just before he sinks again.

As someone who’s been depressed, I know the satisfaction that seeking cheap highs can bring. It’s a distraction, but like distractions always are, soon or enough you’ll be forced to face the truth of your story. Has Paybac faced his truth in Autopilot, or is his new found happiness just another distraction?


The first song, Gas, featuring OCD brings this to mind. Paybac sounds elated here but it is rather natural, he doesn’t possess that duo of emotional energy which wants to dip back into the dark.

Flight Mode is bouncy and energetic, his lyrics succumb to the trap production and there’s a brag about his name, and some ten seconds later, he’s having a go at patois. His joys are leading him to unexplored terrain and the experiment is paying off. Chris Arie is a character conjured by his own positivity. By choosing to focus on the brighter side, he comes to see himself as a celebrity, even. It might pass around his closest friends as a funny moment but there are certainly people who would cry at the sight of Paybac. This song is him feeling like that and oh, he likes to smoke weed at weddings.

N.C.B.T features a You’re Like Melody esque hook from friend of the house JazzZ who references Achebe’s classic, as things fall apart when Paybac talks his talk. With his words as rake, he digs under green grasses and in between exercising himself of these, he makes a brag about making fire before the emoji. Talk about talking that talk! I’m of the opinion this song would inspire a dope video, contrary to popular opinion.

The duo of songs before the closing track are Ground Up and Long Kiss Goodnight with both, as we predicted, a brief glint of darkness, as Paybac takes the time to deal with his demons. The two songs in general, are of him getting in touch with his selfishness, what he calls taking more than he needs in the latter. In the second verse of the same song, he raps about picking up the bottle and never putting it down. Irrespective of how perfectly his voice conveys the emotions, and in present tense, you feel he’s rapping in retrospect – a knowledge the first five songs contribute to.

All thoughts of the dark are done away with from his first four lines on the last track: “I have seen the light oh/ energy for life oh/Yesterday I died oh/but today I feel alive oh.” The pockets of space in the beat forces mental imprint of a choir, clad in uniform, doing the shaku shaku. It is such a song, a triumphant defeat of depression which requires bravery in equal measure.

This project is Paybac’s joyful dance, probably his most colorful effort yet and it’s all thanks to CHx. In The Biggest Tree, whereas he was grappling with the dance steps of his demons, he has broken free here, as he promised. He’s fine now; his happiness is beautiful to behold. You can see progress, Paybac is a little less depressed on #AutoPilot, Thanks to CHx

CHx is on a very good run and his experimentation is nice to behold, You can’t help but feel happy for a man who’s rapped the words: I get paid to make beats that end up like a flash in a pan. Now, with the early success of his duo of produced EPs, the music – asides being the masquerade's dance in a bid to preserve the culture of self – is finally receiving better attention, Hopefully, This is just the beginning.

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