Storytelling is one of the most powerful tools used in art, and successful artists worldwide know the value of storytelling and have begun to harness its potential. With millions of songs released daily, you have to stand out from the crowd to make a mark as an artist. Recently, Nigerian musician Burna Boy made a statement he said, “A lot of people know me for my music; I’m a storyteller first.” Now, this is an artist who understands that storytelling isn’t just a fancy word but a way to connect to listeners. Everyone loves a good story; why do you think Fela’s ‘Water No Get Enemy’ is still popular today? I mean, he told a story about water, and boom! The song was all over the place. Humans naturally love listening to stories, and if you can tell stories well, you have an audience. Back in the day, our parents danced to songs from Ebenezer Obey, Shina Peters, Fela, Osadebe, and many others, and still today, they can still bob their heads to the lyrics of those songs. These artists made songs about stories everyone could relate to, from drinking palm wine to falling in love, fighting bad government or personal experiences, and many more; all the stories embedded in these songs make them popular today. As an artist, one way to make a mark is by having a firm grasp of storytelling. It’s not just about having a dope sound or jumping on a popular beat; if you don’t have a good story to tell, what message are you passing to the listeners? What story are you telling? You have a million stories in you; you have seen different scenarios, smelt things, experienced cold breakfast (Heartbreak), had a crush on someone, fell in love, etc. All these are stories everyone can relate to, so why don’t you tell them through your music?
As new stories emerge, new storytellers emerge in every sphere, from movies to paintings, books, music, etc. One of the budding storytellers in music is singer-songwriter Emmanuel Kainga popularly known as EMK The Genie. The artist, a music producer, sees himself as a storyteller who draws inspiration from his reality mixed with fiction. On his debut EP ‘Before Midnight,’ EMK tells the story of a passionate lover who is intentional about his feelings for his love interest. He makes affectionate promises and tells her what is to come before midnight. Here is a review of the project and final thoughts on the EP.
The opener track, ‘Alive,’ is EMK singing about how his lover is his life source. He sings, “If you ever leave me, girl, I’d die. Baby, I would never let you go.” He passes a message of love in this song and wants his love interest to know that she is always on his mind. “That superficial love ain’t for me,” he sings, promising her the real thing. “Every time you cross my mind. Girl, I feel alive, and if you ever leave me, I’ll die.”
“Come Over” is probably one of the most popular vocabularies in every man’s dictionary. But this artist makes it sound romantic; he tells his lover to come over in the sexiest way and promises to do all her favorite things. He sings, “Light some candles in my room cause my baby likes it like that o. So tell me what you wanna do. Let me put that good in your life, babe.”
AFRICA QUEEN FT TROY VENUS
Almost every artist has a song about African women in their discography, and EMK tapped into the trend in this song. In this song, he collaborates with Troy Venus, and they both give details of what they would do to their lovers in the bedroom with lyrics like “The time is quarter past two, so I tell her make she relax. Lemme show you what these hands can do. Put you on cruise with my African magic.”
In ‘Slow Whine,’ the artist sings about the desire he feels when his lover dances with him. Two lovers dancing with their bodies in sync, each step pulls them closer, and passion starts to spread. EMK sings, “Girl, the rhythm of your waist dey make me go crazy, cause when you slow whine, and if the world is ending, girl, there’s no place I’d rather be but here. Cause when you slow whine. I fit lose my mind. “
TILL THE SUN COME UP
On this track, EMK lets his feelings out, and there are no restrictions to talking about how he loses control because of the effect his lover has on him; he lets it out “So baby we could make love, till the sun come up.”
In this slow tune, he sings about how his lover completes him. If you listen carefully, you will notice that he sang with so much emotion, like sitting in front of the girl and just letting his feelings out. He sings, “Anything that you want I’ll get for you, cause na you dey make my dreams come true Iyoro o.”
OCEAN FT. BUNMI AFRICA
Spoken word artist Bunmi Africa jumps on this track, and it was just magical. Each word, each line told a story, a message passed by a lover who knows what she wants. “Flow into my soul boundless, make love to me in a thousand cities. Moan, my name in a hundred languages. Kiss me till you taste desire through my wetness, lay on me. Skin caressing skin, heartbeats in perfect harmony, till forever is nothing but us.” Now, this might be one of the shortest songs on the EP, but I am marveled by how deep this song feels. Bunmi and EMK told a perfect story from the beginning to the end. A mental picture was painted, and a picture of what happened before midnight, which is very impressive. This song is also a transition to the next music on the project ‘Midnight’ Ft. Tsuni. In this song, they both sing about all the things their lovers do to them with lyrics like “Girl, it’s almost midnight still got you on my mind, omo I no fit move on. I loss inside your ocean.” Tsuni sings, “Will I stay sane? When na your matter I carry for my heart and agbari I wan know.”
On my part, I think EMK The genie did an excellent job on this project, especially with the fact that he produced all the songs. Now, that is quite impressive; he not only pushed himself out there as a singer but also as a talented music producer. However, some songs could have been a bit longer, and the song arrangement was good. Shorter projects are usually considered a prelude to more incredible things to expect. Perhaps, one of the most outstanding features of the project is EMK’s voice; it carries so much emotion. Hopefully, with the release of this project, EMK will continue to push and make more amazing songs. There is still so much to expect from EMK, and we’ll keep our eyes on him; for now, listen to the EP here and let us know what you think about the project.