Editors Pick

The Painter and the Music (Art X Review)

Music and art are forever entwined from album covers to the execution of music videos, set designs, and stage performances etc. Altogether creating a bigger picture through inspiration.

BOJ FT SKEPTA AND TEEZEE – LIKE TO PARTY REVIEW

Boj has had a solid run in 2018, from his collaborative EP with Ajebutter Make e no cause fight to being a Jameson brand ambassador.

He recently announced via Twitter that he’ll be dropping his new record with Skepta and fellow DRB mate Teezee.

Fever – Wizkid

On Independence Day, Wizkid dropped two hit songs Master Groove and Fever amid all the recent drama.  They were the Pop star’s first official releases this year as teasers off his upcoming album Made In Lagos.

 The singer has been in the headlines a lot this final quarter of the year for both good and bad reasons, most recently defending his Best Male West Africa title and winning the Video of The Year (for Soco) award at the recently concluded AFRIMMA. The singer had also recently been called out on social media by the mother of his first child for being a “social media dad” and the just-released Meji Alabi-directed video for his single Fever is sure to stir up more controversy. The video for the up-tempo Afro-Pop track is colorful and stars Tiwa Savage as Star Boy’s love interest (sparking up more interest in their relationship: a PR stunt, a statement or both?) creating a very sexy vibe. Since its release this morning, the video has received a myriad of reactions with most fans trolling Wizkid (with his less-than-stellar fatherhood) and Tiwa’s ex-husband Teebillz (for his relationships with Wiz and Tiwa) and others comparing the video to Davido’s Assurance

Tiwa’s appearance in this particular video at this time was definitely intentional; Wizkid and Tiwa have been attacked a lot on social media this year for an alleged love affair (particularly since Wiz posted pictures of Tiwa on his Instagram page on her birthday in February). Her appearance may just be a publicity stunt – which fans will find hard to believe because the pheromones literally jump at you as you watch the video – but it definitely makes a bold statement akin to throwing the middle finger. The video is very sexy and in this writer’s opinion is in no way a ripoff of Assurance (with or without the controversy surrounding it), as it is a less stiff interpretation of when money enter, love is sweeter.

With Fever, Wizkid and Meji Alabi masterfully pulled a Kardashian and created a hit video with just enough controversy to keep tongues wagging. You should see it.

(Review) – MO’ Believe – Ariwo Eko

Ariwo Eko tells MO’s version of events in Lagos. His ideas and production are strong and aligned in an interesting manner, for someone in his early 20s MO takes on a big role on this project and delivers…

#PGM: GRL PWR – Wavy the Creator

Wavy the Creator first came to limelight in 2016 with her androgynous style. An accomplished fashion designer, producer, filmmaker, photographer and now a musician, Wavy is one artist that defies the jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none logic; owning two fashion brands (AZIF and Very Rare Vibes) and a production house (Wavy Films), this young woman has continually demolished boundaries.

Wavy was invited to Nigeria in 2016 after a meeting with rapper Olamide and she has not looked back since: ‘I lived in Houston and I met Olamide when he was on tour, was filming for a friend who was touring. He liked my work and wanted to fly me to Nigeria to work, from there I met other people in the industry’  as she told More Branches.

 

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Wavy the Creator has demolished the notion of a “norm” with her unique style

Wavy shook the creative scene in 2016 with her androgyny and unique style, putting her imprint on every art form from modeling to film, photography and visual art. The artist had everybody guessing ‘is Wavy a boy or a girl?’. She tells Pulse NGI think it is the one thing that is intriguing about me when you see me or see me walk by. I like it because I don’t like to be figured out all the way. So I think it adds to whatever brand I am trying to create“. In a society where many expectations are set by virtue of one’s gender, Wavy the Creator has done a lot to kill gender constructs just by being. Her gender neutrality is one that proves to young women and girls that they can be anything. Her controversial editorial BFFs for magazine A Nasty Boy (which was also featured internationally in Dazed) did its part in destroying the constructs of what masculinity should look like.

 

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Wavy is destroying gender constructs just by being

Coming to Nigeria in 2016, Wavy was supposed to spend just a month, but the richness of the Nigerian creative scene holds her back as she told Pulse NG “When I came, the vibe and everything was just like lovely so I just decided like why not and stay a little bit longer. For the longest time, I didn’t want to come back. Just because of that fear of ‘I don’t want to come and it’s just like one way’ and people just trying to follow all of these rules…I felt like me being here is the right moment, it is the right time. For anyone doing stuff in the creative world, it is the right time to be here. There is so much happening right now“.

After stimulating visual senses in 2016, Wavy poured all her mastery of the arts releasing her debut single H.I.G.H (Her In Greater Heights). That wasn’t the first time in the booth though; In 2015, the artist recorded a song called Purple Dank, though we don’t know if it was released, we do know that that encounter gave Jennifer Ejoke the name ‘Wavy’. The release of H.I.G.H in 2016 declared crowned Wavy Nigeria’s new House sensation. The H.O.D-produced track samples no prior music and the incredible sound of the 90s feel-good song was created from scratch and the visual for the song was no less impressive, with its psychedelic vibes; we were introduced to the alien enigma that is Wavy the Creator.

 

BellaNaija - New Music: Wavy (The Creator) - H.I.G.H.

Wavy’s official debut single samples no prior music. This young woman’s creativity is beastly.

Wavy is a creative with a bank of age-old inspiration. The singer cites Michael Jackson as her one celebrity inspiration for the love of the Pop King’s expressiveness and artistic genius and the rest of her inspiration she says is gotten from friends. Wavy didn’t sing in the church choir either; of her sojourn into music, the artist tells MTV BaseWhen I was ready for music, it found me and I followed“. Wavy the Creator is a rule breaker with a cool that is genuine. Her perspective on art and her refreshingly shameless expression of self has seen her earn a quite a reputation in such a short time: “All of my art is an extension of myself. If I was filming, recording or making an artwork it’s all influenced by anything I’m experiencing at that moment“. The artist is big on vibes and has repeatedly said she doesn’t ‘write’ her music as she lets the vibe lead her to create.

 

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Wavy the Creator continually proves that unbridled self-expression is the purest art form

Since releasing H.I.G.H, Wavy has performed at the 90s Baby Soundoff, The Basement Gig, The Lemon Curd 2.0, OLIC and a bunch of other note-worthy shows in Nigeria and Ghana and was featured on rapper AQ’s Lekki Expressway. She released her second single Stay late last year, introducing her audience to her more vulnerable side and this year, she’s featured on Fresh L’s EP See You Next Summer (on the song Sweet Talk), given her own unique vibe to the shaku-shaku movement with the Le Mav-produced track Shaku and recently released the self-directed and edited Stay visuals.

Wavy the Creator’s short stint so far on the Nigerian creative scene has seen the opening to many conversations concerning self-expression and as this artist continues to break rules and destroy boundaries, we will continue to enjoy her deliciously diverse creativity.

Illusions by Leriq & Tomi Thomas (Review)

Love is a beautiful thing, with the right partner love conquers all, so they say.

Every generation of artists usually take on the topic of Love & Heartbreak, Love is the theme in RnB, there’s a song to help prepare you for your first dates, for the serenading nights, for the memories to be made.

A wise man once said ‘All good things must come to an end’

If love is fuel that takes a couple to cloud nine and beyond then Heartbreak is the failed engine causing the plane to crash.

Love coexists with heartbreak, as long as there are people in love, there will always be heartbreak lurking in the shadows waiting to come to light and in turn creating a place for artists to pour their hearts out and an audience waiting to connect with the artists to help them feel better. Most times the audience carry their heartbreaks on their sleeves while some choose to play it cool.

This is where I am with Illusions an EP by Leriq and Tomi Thomas. An album fueled by love, lust, heartbreak and more.

Over the last couple of years, Leriq has been one of the most brilliant producers coming out of Nigeria, Africa.  His production work with Burna boy, Mojeed, Pucado, Ozone’s project speaks volume. However that same volume has failed to be present in his last 2 solo projects on the other is Tomi Thomas who has been a star to watch out for since his secondary days with boyband LOS, his versatility sets him apart, with each project Tomi takes on different challenges, different genres.

Tomi is best described as the artist with the soul of an old Kanye West song and the energy of a prime Rooney. If plot 49 was the perception that Tomi Thomas could be one of the most versatile artists to be reckoned with, Illusions is Tomi Thomas using his vocals as the focal point to connect to the audience. Leriq’s ability to infuse various genres together and make the production simple yet classy.

The EP places Tomi’s vocals at the center of it all and Leriq’s production at the backseat providing support.

‘I never thought you could be so cold, and my nights got darker even since you gone’

The EP starts off disgruntled, Tomi expresses his frustration for his partner’s departure on Thru the Fire. His vocal and energetic patois delivery is what strings the track, Tomi’s ability to switch from one mood to another is what makes him a robust artist, when the tempo is set, he allows himself to sink deep into the lines, he has the ability to make every line sound like he’s reliving the burden, taking the listeners through the emotions this is evident on All for Love, Breaking it off.

Tomi’s reggae delivery on Hammer was pleasing to the ears. Tomi’s real feat is his voice control, the ability to go high swiftly, and downtempo.

I love Tomi’s versatility, his ability to switch up the genre is brilliant but in the process of showing off his versatility It’s easy for one to get lost in the process, he bounces from lust to love to heartbreak, too much of everything is indeed an overkill.

This EP showcases Tomi Thomas’s hunger for exploration, while always experimenting various sounds to test his limits.

 

Essential Tracks: Hammer, All for Love, #Instachewies

#PGM: GRL PWR – Lady Donli

If you’re still of the school of thought that Alternative music is not for Nigeria, you should pay more attention to Lady Donli.

Blink – Art over Hype (Review)

Blink’s Art over Hype…

It’s 2013 and I’m searching for new Nigerian emcees to prove to my friend that Hip-Hop is alive in Nigeria.

I stumble on the name blink, I was introduced to different blink, blink the businessman and blink the rapper. He was signed to syndicate records.

By 2015, the name blink was starting to fade away. I soon started to ask where’s blink and the music? These questions transitioned to the rest of the label mates until I stopped asking and stopped researching.

It’s 2 pm on Friday, Douglas sends an email with a link to blink’s New EP

Art Over Hype

The title had brought back a bit of nostalgia and curiosity, will I get introduced to blink the artist or blink the businessman? Why has he been away for so long? I plug a borrowed headset and press play.

 

  1. Better Part Of Me ft. Prince Jericho – I like the intro, an unfamiliar voice opens the song, I like the passion and sadness in his voice.  “You haven’t seen the better part of me, wait till you see the better part of me”

I like his honesty. In rap, we talk about ego’s but what about self-esteem? what happens when due to the outside world, you frustrated (explain this)?   Well, it birthed a good record. This is the most important moment of his Project and I’m excited to hear what’s next.

  1. Dedication: I like this intro, Spax nailed this production,

“The two options are to win or win” a good bar.  Maka comes in and I love this, Blink’s on a roll.

  1. Jigg – The buildup has me excited. This is Blink’s summer theme music, play this song every time he walks into the building. Blink is 3 of 3, I like what I’m hearing.
  2. How You Dey – This is the first track I’m not keen on, I like the production, I like the lyricism, but they do not captivate me, rather unimpressed me.
  3. Vanity – A tale of Lagos, I like the storytelling of Lagos, the fake life and more, however, I don’t see myself coming back to press play on this again, it sounds like I’ve heard it all before despite this being my first listen.
  4. Shake your body – Hip Hop and House music, blink starts the song with ‘2018’ but with slang “for Africa’ makes me question the authenticity of the release date. Hip Hop and House music production compliments each other, however, I’m waiting on something to happen, it’s not convincing enough. I do not like the mixing.
  5. Feel am die – the song starts with Rockie Fresh’s Thick bixch sample, This just brought back nostalgia.

If this was released in 2011 – 2014 I’d be turning up to this. but this is like wearing baggy jeans to the club.

  1. All Or Nothing ft Jaie Raven – The chemistry on this record between Blink and Jaie Raven has made this song best suited for radio airplay.
  2. Any How ft John Black, Tec – ‘I can’t be living anyhow’ the playful yet hits the nail right on the head. The guest features showed up.
  3. Pray for Me: I like this production, I hear Funbi’s adlibs and blink rapping with a heavy heart, ‘I’m curious but clueless, though I had it all figured out I was foolish’

Blink provides a rare moment of self-reflection. Inspirational Blink is the blink people need.  Funbi comes with the soulful hook that makes you want to stop and call your mother to tell her to pray for you. Blink’s mum comes on and sends a chill down my spine. I like this.

  1. XXX– This sounds outdated. We’re trying to make something out of this but… It’s a poor closing track to end this project.

 

Blink shares his honest tale of his fears, trials. He bares it all on the better tracks. The Beats feel poorly picked, Production isn’t outside of Blink’s comfort zone. But even when he sounds like he’s rapping with the energy of a man with something to prove, it doesn’t feel fresh.

His raps sound stale, there were times he sounded like he was trying to revive a rap style that has evolved and that altered the project’s process, the mixing was subpar. Syndicate boys have been known for their solid mixing and this is not one of them.

Not enough personal moments to make you believe that you know Blink any better than before listening to the project.

Blink’s Art over hype is an idea that’s missing key ingredients to make a brilliant meal. Similar to that of a player who takes a free-kick, instead of scoring, it hits the woodwork. Almost a goal.

An incomplete blueprint for a solid comeback project but somehow lost the ‘IT’ factor. I can’t help but wonder if this would have been my response if the project was released back in 2014-2015.

Best tracks: Better Part Of Me, Jiggin, dedication, pray for me. Radio worthy, All or nothing.

 

Of Mics and Men

Live Music: an integral part of the Nigerian Music Culture that has seen a heartbreaking decline.

In the beginning, all music was performed live; all we had was folk music and the only distinctions were made based on the purpose and maybe the cultures, but one thing was constant; the music was performed live.

At the turn of the 19th century, Nigerian music began to experience heavy influence from Arab and Western cultures. The evolution from folk to contemporary was gradual, but it happened and genres like Juju, Highlife and Apala were born. One could argue that with the evolution of music came technological advancements that removed the tedium of a live performance, easing the life of the artist, but still, just as the folk in our music did not completely fade, the tradition of live performances continued becoming a movement that became particularly vibrant through the 60s and 70s. See, the thing about live music is that it gives the audience a chance to properly understand the feeling of the artist through his/her creative process. From the command of the band to the artist’s energy and even facial expression, live music gives the artist a chance to not just sing but speak to the audience.

While the craft of live music has seen a great depression that has inflicted great wounds, it is impressive to see that not all have succumbed to the ‘Track 1’ illness. Nigeria has produced world-class performers like Asha and Bez who have continued to excel in this field and New Age Nigerian music is refusing to be part of the Track 1 club. It was impressive to see the majority of the Lemon Curd lineup make attempts to perform their music for the audience and it is always heartwarming to see the great performances from the ones that are honing this skill quite well: Maka, Tomi Thomas, Tomi Owo, Lady Donli among others.

While Live Music performances are not a walk in the park, it would be nice to see more artists put in the work and more shows to encourage this skill; I mean, imagine how much fun live Trap Music would be…

TY Bello – COLD (review)

TY Bello releases COLD, a song that serves as a gentle reminder, a subtle nudge, and a quiet wake up call to social and civic responsibility. It carries in its rhythm, the honest pangs of the much-needed political revival the nation needs at the moment simply because we move on too quickly. 

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