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Music Reviews

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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Hameed Idowu’s WazyFamily

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Hameed Idowu is back with a WAVE! After dropping hit singles like Wazy and Regular Featuring CDQ, Maryland, USA based Nigerian Singer, Rapper and Songwriter is back with another EP almost a year after the release of his sophomore EP. This time, he’s back with a syrupy flow of riveting lyrics, lush harmonies, engaging features topped off by a lax but equally upbeat ambience.

The highly spirited 6 track EP opens up with ‘Janky’. Hameed lets us into his WazyFamily with this mind swirling piece of timely vocals pouring softly over rhythmic percussion instrumentals interspersed with bass beats that will have you bobbing your head to its pause and pace tempo. Verse after verse, he evokes a sort of inebriated (in a good way) feeling. Hameed finishes this off with keys that echo in your mind way after they’ve faded out.

Next on the list in this tribute to the different stratas in his WazyFamily are the OG Juggers. Using Synthesized pads, Hameed creates a spacey ambience and if you close your eyes, you’ll be completely immersed in it. A head nod to all Juggers in his circle, Hameed uses this platform to sensitize all Juggers out there with this atmospheric sound laced with Rap and Pop brought on by Bass and Snare Beats rolling out in the background.

Hameed instantly transitions  from soulful hip-hop to Afrobeats on ‘Control X’. With lent background vocals from Lexisugar and invigorating resounding keys that gradually climb up the branches of snares to sprout into the perfect instrumental for Hameed’s sonic declaration of self confidence, we get the sense of an unwavering will to not succumb to social constructs.

Raw voiced, loaded with unrefined lyrics and wavy harmonies, Hameed produced a popping elixir; swooning and balanced in which along with his listeners, he journeys through a hoard of lost souls. ‘Lost Souls’ is an explicitly titled ode to all those surrounding him swimming in shallow murky waters but who he wouldn’t let drag him down.

Lost Souls is followed by another piece aptly titled; ‘Favorite Song’, one of my favorite songs and the only romance themed piece on the EP. Favorite Song is an eclectic mix of Hameed’s sharp energetic flow, metered bass beats and soulful synths that draw you in as they morph into different sonic dimensions. It’s a generally nice experience as Hameed serenades you with “your favorite song” and implores you to “go and sing along”.

The last song on this EP is the ‘Cherry on top of the Cake’ made specially “for the culture”. With compelling and heartfelt lyrics flowing freely on the plane of swirling percussion instrumentals and punctuated by echoing kicks that create a steady mind tweaking rhythm, Hameed switches between rap and hoarse vocals to enforce his truth about his unrelenting stance for his Family.

If you haven’t hit this wave, i suggest you join Hameed on this wavy journey of popping tributes. You can find listening and download avenues below.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/wazy-family-ep/id1216512929

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An Experiment Comes To Life; TNAF’s BASED Review

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When two music artistes who connect on a sonic level, decide that they’d like to experiment together with their sound, a new kind of band comes to life. To Name A Few is that kind of band. Comprising of singer/producer Christopher Oti (golddrummachine) and singer/songwriter/guitarist Brumeh Oghenekaro (brum3h), TNAF dabbles almost exclusively in experimental music, and their new song Based attests to that.

Based opens with a somewhat melancholic synth-pad hybrid, deep sung “oh” and “yeahs”, accompanied by stream of understated vocal harmonies that effectively lure you into this 3 mins sonic experimentation. Before long, a pseudo reggaeton drum pattern and sometimes rapid baseline inject movement and a bit of sass to what could have easily been a somber affair.

Lead vocalist Brum3h’s vocal delivery is near sublime, especially during the first half of the song where he supports the hungover ambience of the song when he sings “rewinding / last night was a trip / and I don’t think it’s over”. The ad-libs and backup vocals work really well to support the song’s character; being hungover but not quite so, because you are still high (as the lyrics reiterates with the pre-chorus).

Whilst the lyrics and vocal delivery are quite very impressive, the colorful instrumentation and understated vocal harmonies really make this song shine and according to the credits, golddrummachine is that man to thank.

Based is an impressive 3 mins sonic experimentation that deals with the aftermath of a very trippy night out, helped along by; sublime vocal delivery, colorful instrumentation and an army of understated vocal harmonies.

With a compilation from TNAF coming late this year, it will be exciting to unravel the sonic experimentations of this experimental band.

PS. With the large number of “experiment…” in this review, I think I’ll partake in a science experiment.

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Adara Review – “One In A Million”

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Unless you live under a rock, there should be no way you haven’t at least heard some mention of Adara by now. And the hype is accurate for all the right reasons.
However, for those who do not know, Adara is a soulful song [produced] by DJ Femo and featuring Afro-Fusion artist, Fasina and producer/artist/engineer extraordinaire GMK (also, a host of backing vocals provided by DJ Yin and saxophone by Saxofix).
DJ Femo is a renowned Nigerian DJ (she’s the former resident DJ at 355 Lounge, VI, and has also played at notable venues around Lagos like 57, Escape, Grill at the Pent and Vapors.)
“Adara” is her first foray into production and at first I didn’t believe it. The beat of the song is so masterfully crafted, so effortlessly soulful, so immaculately vibey. Every element of the beat is expertly curated and arranged to create a chill sonic atmosphere.
And then on top of this amazing beat, each of the artistes adds their own unique flavour to the track. The song kicks off with Fasina’s voice settling right into the instrumentals, smooth as melted butter on bread. The melodies of both his verse and the hook are catchy and simple, inviting you to sing along.
DJ Yin’s vocals sneak up on you in the hook and add this light, airy, almost ethereal element to it. Then GMK the Monster Boy cements his calibre as an artiste with his own smooth verse, flexing his versatility. The song wraps up and fades out with a short but beautiful sax section that makes me want to restart the song and take it in again.
To me, this song is virtually flawless. From the vibes to the musicality, the technical aspect and production values, every facet of the product is on point.
I am so excited to hear what more these artistes have in store for us. Especially looking forward to Femo’s upcoming outings as a producer. What a start!

 

(Bonus: Here’s Fasina with a little live performance of Adara)

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Ready – Patmax

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Patrick Edozie, also known as Patmax, is an upcoming artiste, songwriter and producer. He started recording music & creating instrumentals at the age of 16, and has since been making a name for himself ever since. Patmax’s sound and music style over the years has been influenced by PND, Drake, Popcaan, Raury & Davido. He gains inspiration from listening to music and he enjoys breaking musical rules and experimenting with his sound to try and create the best results.

He recently released his debut single which he produced himself titled Ready, which is a fusion of Afro beats & Soul. As usual, Patmax was trying to create a different sound and that’s how this single came about. The song tells a tale of a young confident man who is trying to prove himself and his worth to a lady, and is worth a listen.

Listen below and check out his previous releases as well:

 

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Listen to Blurry – Abiodun’s debut song

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‘Blurry,’ is Abiodun’s debut song and it was produced by Lemav. The song’s title is fitting because Abiodun ‘blurs,’ the line between rapping and singing. I personally think he does a better job when he raps, as his flow pattern switches up effortlessly and his fast paced tempo one minute, 26 seconds into the song, keeps the listener engaged. Abiodun lacks the ability to commit to another person. He seems to be more accustomed to using alcohol as a tool to forget his issues, hence why everything feels ‘blurry.’ I love his irony as he says, ‘pass me the drink let me feel alright. Baby I need you by my side.’ He is evidently trying to use alcohol to subdue his feelings but instead the substance brings these feelings to the surface, making it impossible for him to deny how much he needs the girl he fails to take seriously.

The song starts off with a smooth opening. The simple piano chords and saxophone in the beginning puts the listener at ease. Lemav effortlessly sets  a serene and very chilled tone. The production is impressive with intricate mastering and dope samples that bring the song to life and Abiodun’s content is relatable to his teenage and early 20’s target audience. He talks about a topic many of us are all too familiar with, situation-ships. His lyrics are frank and honest but I personally believe they could be more captivating. Powerful metaphors and better emphasise on the irony between escapism through reliance on alcohol and how this backfires to remind one of their problems, would have given the song and more specifically- the lyrics, more meaning and depth.

The song sounds promising and it’s a great first effort. We are excited to see what Abiodun has in store for us next. Make sure you follow him on Soundcloud.

Here’s the link to the song: 

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