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Music Reviews

War EP – A Review

War Cover Art

We all know Nonso Amadi and Odunsi caused a shockwave when they dropped this surprise bomb on us a while back. I kinda postponed listening to it for a few weeks after it dropped. I had been having a busy time and I wasn’t going to just have this project in my ears while I was doing something else. I knew I needed to have a free day to lie down, put my headphones on and swim in the wonderful sounds I knew the project would provide.

I’m usually careful not to hype things up in my mind. But considering the calibre of these artists, I didn’t let caution stop me. And these dudes did not disappoint.

The project kicks off with Ocean. Those chords immediately prepare you for the R&B vibe that is cemented when the drums jump in. Halfway into the first verse, I had already added the song to my ‘bedroom’ playlist. From the instrumentation to the poetic lyrics and the sweet melodies of both artistes, Ocean is soaked in sensual vibes.

Next up is Don’t which is my personal favourite. I can’t put my finger on why. Everything about this track has me in awe. I have to take my hat off to Nonso for the beat because wow. It is the perfect vessel for the emotion that the song exudes. And when those 808s come in, it’s like when someone shows you something you never knew you needed until they did. The vocal performances almost bring tears to my eyes, especially with the harmonies near the end of the song. To me, this song is practically perfect.

Don’t bleeds seamlessly into Stay which retains the R&B sensibility but has a harder edge with the instrumentality and the delivery of the verses. It’s a relatively short and is almost like a sort of interlude. Just as smoothly as it transitioned in from Don’t, it flows out into War. 

War is so beautiful. So many other words come to mind but ‘beautiful’ sums it up. Heartfelt, honest, smooth, gentle. It’s the kind of sound that Nonso is no stranger to. I absolutely loved hearing Odunsi come into this style and just own it so effortlessly. The switch up near the end (with the percussions) took me absolutely by surprise and just complete the song for me.

The whole project is a testament to my favourite thing about collaborations; two distinct talents merging to produce something that blends their individual strengths into a wholly original and engaging product. I wish the project was longer because I am curious as to what else they could have made together.

Just like Oliver Twist said, please sirs, I want some more.

https://soundcloud.com/warpart1/sets/war-ep-odunsi-the-engine-and-nonso-amadi

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19 & Over: Reviewing The Cruise

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Yinka Bernie recently dropped his much-anticipated EP, 19 & Over. I got the chance to listen to it while cruising along Third Mainland Bridge. With the sun setting over the Lagos Lagoon, the mood couldn’t have been set any better. Upon completion, I realized just how accurate the hashtag #MaximumCruise is.

The project is inundated with laid back vibes. Everything from the instrumentation and production to the baritone delivery.

Yinka’s growth as a musician is evident right from the (not) intro. His sound is clearly identifiable. His production work is top-notch and he rides the beat with honest, relatable lyrics. And I think that honesty is one of the strongest aspects of the project. There is no illusion of grandeur; Yinka seems to be speaking his mind. The project sounds motivated by personal experience and introspective thought.

He does a tremendous job all over the project and could easily have graced the EP by himself. However, collaborations are always beautiful. All the talent drafted in do an amazing job. The mellow voice of Joyce Olong elevates the smooth jazzy vibes of Subconscious Flashes. interlude. Mav and Higo outdo themselves with the production on Don’t Rush. And the star-studded Palmwine Chills sees Musmah, Lady Donli and BrisB in top form.

I think 19 & Over is an exemplary body of work. The sound is top quality; the vibes are consistent; the writing is relatable and thoughtful. Yinka Bernie is one to watch, and definitely one to listen to.

 

Go ahead and enjoy the project for yourself below.

 

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Princess Okoh Is Back With “Say You”

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Princess Okoh is back! The young upcoming singer offers up the first and lead single from her upcoming Woman EP. Say You comes a year after her last release and it really shows how she has grown as an artiste.

The track is masterfully produced by the savage himself, Remy Baggins. He creates a smooth, percussion-heavy environment for her soft vocals to shine through. As usual of Princess, the song is thoughtful and well-written. It spins the tale of a girl in love struggling to deal with a lover’s infidelities. Sung from her point of view, the song pours out her frustrations in trying to keep him to herself.

As the lead single, it gives a taste of what to expect from the EP that is coming. This project is going to highlight Princess’s growth as a musician and as a woman. If Say You is anything to go by, then I am so so pumped for this tape. It promises to be a moving experience.

Till then, you can listen to the song below and join me in the wait.

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Wambi by Zarion Uti

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Zarion Uti presents “Wambi”, this is his fourth single this year and also a major part of his debut project which is expected to be dropping later this year. This is unlike what you’ve ever heard from him. “I decided to make something you can vibe to in the club and still feel great listening to at home,” says Zarion Uti. With Wambi meaning “Come Here or Come Closer” you should already know it is one for the ladies.

 

The track was produced by Johnson Kelvin (Veen),a Multi Genre Nigerian Producer, it was recorded mixed and mastered in Covington Georgia, U.S. by Marco Stewart, an 18 year old American Sound engineer who Zarion Uti commended to be of the most impressive individuals he has ever worked with.

The song also has a high life feel infused with the up to date “Ghana Bounce” that you can liken to major songs by Mr. Eazi, Dot Man, Maleek Berry and a few others. Zarion Uti has never failed to improve and wow his audience. From his first single The Way to Life of the Party, his musical growth has been duly noticed and appreciated. His records on SoundCloud currently total yo over 50,000 streams worldwide. He also just started publicizing on Spotify and has amassed over a thousand monthly listeners so it’s definite that his career is one to look out for. We personally recommend this new single because we believe it is his best work yet. It debuted majorly on Spotify but due to high demand, he decided to make available for Mobile download.

Enjoy “Wambi”.

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Casted by DJ Tiz x Odunsi x Dami Oniru

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Timilehin Bello popularly known by the name “Dj Tiz” proudly releases his second official single; CASTED. The song features rising stars Odunsi (The Engine) & Dami Oniru. Mixed & Mastered by
Marv
This song also features in his upcoming Extended Play release “Apex” which would be released as soon as it’s complete but DJ Tiz  hints his next release featuring David Meli and Minz would be coming to you soon.
“Casted” explains the way women have been played by men. Dami Oniru with her sweet mellodious voice gives scenarios of efforts being made by women to please men, while Odunsi gets caught in his funny ways and has to look for a back up plan.
Enjoy the tune by DJ Tiz (@OluwaDjTiz on Twitter and Dj.Tiz on Instagram).
Art by @ROTheVisualist.

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WHO DIS by PsychoYP

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Nicholas Ihua popularly known by the name “PsychoYP” proudly releases his first official single; WHO DIS? The song talks about when he was trying to find his sound and feet in the music industry and getting little or no attention. Now he talks about his growth in a fusion between hip-hop, trap and rap and is proud to introduce a new vibe. The song brags of a notorious blend of punchy 808s and a bass line that gives it the trap feel.
Still only 18 years old, it’s clear the sky is beneath him as he aims for the stars. With several unofficial songs released, it’s no wonder he is in high demand performing in shows since his arrival from school in the University of Manchester.
The song was carefully produced by Jaylon (@Jaylon_TGM) and Higo (@HigoMusic) and mixed and mastered by the super multi-talented Kuddi (@officialKuddi).
Enjoy the tune by PsychoYP (@PsychoYP on Instagram and Twitter).
Illustration by @BidemiTata and Art by @CocaineJagz.
#ISSANEWVIBE

To listen to the song, please follow the link:

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Butterfly by D-Truce (Feat. 3rty) D-Truce

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After teasing us with a 4-track playlist on his birthday titled “23 To Life” and amazing live performances at all four stops of his “Young Kulture” joint tour, X3M Music act, D-Truce serves us his first official single of the year. The song is titled “Butterfly” and tells the story of a Lagos Playboy turned Side-Piece, who wants no strings attached but still adores his woman.

With production from 3rty (who also features on the track) reminiscent of the beach side palm wine vibes and the right horns and guitars (by David Aloba) to go with it, as well as additional vocals by Adewale Oladimeji and Taiwo “Tyler” Oladimeji, this jam is definitely one to add to your “Chill” playlist. The track was mixed and mastered by Margai.

Enjoy.

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A Pop Star Emerges: Fikayo Sipe – Juju / Song Review

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Lagos based Fikayo Sipe is a pop artist, the ilk of which we need more of in the mainstream consciousness. Doubt it? Listen to his single ‘Juju’.

On soundcloud, the pop song lists disco as its primary genre, and less than 5 secs in you can understand why. But don’t be fooled, this is a genre bending piece of pop magnificence.

Blending effortlessly afro-pop elements with disco, you almost can’t help but move to the vibe of the 1-2 call and response relationship of the vintage kick and clap/snare combo, beautifully crafted by Remy Baggins–whose new EP Eigengrau deserves a listen–the song’s producer as he no doubt reminds you early on. The instrumentation is a joy to behold, made even more special when you learn that Remy is a Nigerian in his early 20s.

And then the first wave of vocal melody kicks in and you are left mesmerised by not just the spectacularly crafted melody, but Fikayo’s neat delivery of it as he croons “Juju…Juju girl”.

In a song where almost everything is really good, the real star of the show are the backing vocals. This song would be entirely different without the backing harmonies, which are some of the best I’ve heard. They call no attention to themselves but instead offer melodic friction that serves the lead vocal harmony, resulting in a sea of sonic pleasure.

Juju (used by Nigerians to refer to the charms and spells cast by witchdoctors) talks about a girl who has our pop star completely enthralled, more so to the point where he believes that she’s done something supernatural to him. The lyrics are good, doing well to avoid cliches, especially in a song that uses such a popular subject matter.

Amidst all this positives, are a couple of gripes.

The song lacks pop sheen years of listening to the biggest hits from Sweden’s hit factory has conditioned the ears to expect. The sound production could be better. Think of it like make-up, you know it’s not bad —heck it’s the best make-up you can apply on yourself— but you also know that there’s a Jide Of St. Ola standard, a couple levels above this.

Second gripe I have is the songs structure. Any songwriter serious about making the catchiest pop songs (read hits) must understand the clever use of repetition for maximum melodic impact. Fikayo opts to use a different melody for the second verse. Whilst the melody is memorable, it creates a bit of disconnect on the first few listens, because we have grown to expect that verses will sound alike.

That said, this is still a great song and I reckon if someone like Wizkid were to release this, he’d have a massive hit on his hands.

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Last Night In Lagos; What A Project.

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With the rate at which I amass music, I’ve gotten to a stage where I’ve developed a sort of process for listening to it all. I listen to albums, rate the songs, copy some over to my various relevant playlists and move on. Usually, I do this while working on one of many things I have going on. Yesterday happened to be one of the days where I sat down to work, and as such, lined up a few albums I’d gotten that hadn’t yet been listened to. And that’s when I re-stumbled upon “Last Night In Lagos”, the most recent project by Ozone.

This 5-track EP was released in March of this year. I got it very soon after it came out as I had been following Ozone’s music from his early Aristokrat days. As this project played on, I realised I had stopped doing my work and was fully engrossed in listening. Something about the project had commandeered my full attention. And while all the beats are interesting in their own respect (Night & Day) being my favourite in that respect), I quickly understood that it wasn’t just the musicality of the work that had captivated me. No, “Last Night in Lagos” spoke to something deeper.

But that’s one of the most powerful things about music, it’s ability to resonate with the listener; intermingle with our own thoughts and experiences, appeal to our individual situations and realities. The hardest part about this was taking the intangible connection I felt with the music and qualifying it with words in a way that other people would understand why I appreciate it so much. I fully understand that this project may not resonate with others the way it did with me.

For me, there are two layers of appeal to this project. Layer 1: On the surface, Ozone brings it with his flow and wordplay. Anyone who has listened to him knows that this is par for the course. He sounds at home on the beats, weaving similes and puns together like he was born doing it.

But the hook for me was the second layer. The deeper mood, tone and themes. There is something so honest about the project. I felt like a personal friend who was sat down with him as he spoke about all the things that had been going on in his mind. He mentions his upbringing, words of advice from family members, etc. Not only does he speak about general life/love problems that you find on most projects, he also delves into his personal concerns as an artiste. And I think this is the aspect that resonated so deeply with me. It almost felt like he was speaking for me and to me at the same time. Lines like ‘You’re nothing or you’re legendary’, ‘You could do the most and it won’t be enough’ touch on feelings going through the minds of many young creatives, I assume. He talks about how he used to dumb down his music to feel among and as someone whose creative inclinations sometimes stray far from the mainstream or popular, I totally understand the sentiment.

At the end of the day, this project serves to remind me of just how powerful music can be. How powerful art is, in general. I connect with and relate to Ozone, as he presents himself on this project; a man who knows that he isn’t where he could be… given that the big city is too small for his dreams. And we all know, birds can’t fly in a cage.

***

But this is all in relation to me lol. Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder and what not. Give the project a listen and see whether it speaks to you the same way.

 

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Who is The Copta?

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An emerging star from the city of Accra, The Copta is an Afro-HipHop artiste who raps in English with a mix of Twi, Ga and Fante occasionally, much like the average Ghanaian would in conversation. His approach is a fusion of traditional HipHop with soul and trap among other genres. The Copta has had a memorable year, as he announced himself as a major talent with the release of his EP, UnI(The Mixtape).

Although he hasn’t exactly exploded onto the scene – at least not right away, he is still highly regarded as the future of the Ghanaian rap movement.

His style is eccentric and enjoyable and you can’t help but nod along to the music he makes. He somewhat floats like a chilly morning mist, eerie and ethereal and then he strikes, bolting out rhymes and flows with catchy choruses; heavily influenced by life on the west side of Africa. His songs take topics from his battles with the importance of education, coming to grips with his purpose in life and making references that every youth still finding their feet in life would relate to. Behind his over the top lyrics and heavy rap tone, you sense the freedom in his style, there’s a feeling that he enjoys himself while making music and this is what he wants to do.

The Copta is a sensation and if you aren’t listening to him now, you will sooner or later.

Listen to his mixtape UnI here.

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