Davido, who was born in Atlanta but educated in Nigeria, understands the core properties of both rap and afrobeats. On “Pere,” a new collaboration with Rae Sremmurd and Young Thug, he closes the gap between the genres. In DJ Mustard and Rae Sremmurd’s Swae Lee, Davido finds ideal partners: Mustard is at home making beats for Afropop stars while Swae is more than comfortable navigating the same terrain. Even though Mustard’s minimalist beats aren’t polyrhythmic or even as drum heavy as most Afropop, his beats are just as buoyant and powered by the same neon synths. Davido and Swae’s glossy croons are enhanced by this high-definition backdrop. The outliers are Young Thug and Slim Jxmmi, who deliver pedestrian rap verses by their standards and dull the song’s charm. It isn’t that they’re out of their element; it’s the clear contrast in pep: they’re less animated, almost fading. Their verses are achromatic disruptions in a parade of colours.
But Davido manages to keep everything moving, despite their interruptions, with an infectious hook and his magnetic presence. He’s not as vocally polished as his peer Wizkid (who has soaked up much of the spotlight stateside thanks to a Drake co-sign), but his harmonies are richer and more balanced, and “Pere” showcases that. Swae follows his lead, filling up all the space whenever he has an opening, and his snappy four-bar verse steals the show: “I been smokin’ loud, yeah/ I wanna hear you, yeah/ I ain’t got no etiquette, I cannot eat you yet.” In full, “Pere” is an intercontinental jam capable of livening clubs from Atlanta to Lagos.