20 Mar Review – Yinka Oshodi’s SPECTRUM EP
Yinka Oshodi is an artiste I’ve been watching and listening to tentatively for a while. Her voice caught my ear some time back and I made a mental note to watch out for her. So when she dropped a project, The SPECTRUM EP, at the tail end of last year, I needed no convincing to get it and listen. Here I am some months later wishing even more people had spoken about it. This review is me deciding to be the change I want to see, hoping to put this wonderful project on the playlists of more people.
The EP kicks off with Young Love featuring the amazing Abuja-based rapper Alpha (add him to your watch-list too because the man is a promising talent). Together, they tell a soulful tale of a vibe- and lust-driven love; the kind that thrives during summers and feels intoxicating in the moment. The laid back instrumental sells the breezy summery vibe while Yinka’s smooth singing and Alpha’s relaxed bars waft pleasingly into your ears, putting you in the shoes of the lovers.
At All bangs in next with Yinka chastising a reckless lover over a rich ‘TrapSoul’ type R&B beat. There’s a hi-hat in the left ear during the chorus section that rattles a bit too incessantly for my personal taste, but it’s hard to focus on that gripe with Yinka’s captivating performance going on at the same time. Her songwriting is top-notch and her delivery is emotive and expressive, selling their story so effectively. I get expertly crafted Jhene Aiko vibes from this.
Continue changes the pace a bit and injects some Afro energy into the project. Yinka switches up perfectly as well, showing off her stylistic versatility while giving her lover the green light to continue with whatever he’s doing to her liking. The vibe reminds me of Tiwa Savage back in the day, with the sultry lyrical content, danceable delivery and emanating energy.
We return to the soulful R&B vibes with the interlude, Waves. Yinka shows us yet another facet of her delivery skills with an almost rap-like bouncy singing style that works so well with the hard-hitting drums and the funky instruments, spotlighted by sporadic bass licks and synth flairs.
Options features (and is produced by) another rising favorite of mine, the savage Remy Baggins. His signature phat and heavy 808 basses are on display in another rich hard-hitting beat. His bouncy verse is a perfect counterpoint to Yinka’s angelic voice as she explains to a lover that she has a lineup of options waiting for him to mess up. Her singing here is lush, with high-reaching harmonies and sexy little runs peppered throughout.
We round out with RSVP, which instantly gets my waist rolling with its slowed down dancehall vibes. At first, I find it a little difficult to hear Yinka above the rich horns and drones of the instrumental but by the chorus, her voice shines through and cements the song in my pre-bedroom playlist (if you know, you know). Her delivery is mesmerizing and would inspire anyone to give it all to her, just like she asks.
TL;DR: SPECTRUM EP is a stellar debut project from a talented vocalist and songwriter. The project displays the spectrum of style and mood that Yinka is capable of bringing. She touches on R&B, gives some Afro energy, and breezes through the islands. On each track, the production is full and effective, her singing is powerful and expressive, and the two features add a pop of flavor that serves to compliment Yinka in her element. There is a touch too much reverb in some places but the engineering is clean and clear. The songwriting is my biggest takeaway from this project, with each story woven masterfully and delivered with empathic relatability that puts the listener in the right emotional shoes (a defining feature of good R&B). I wouldn’t be surprised if people started reaching out to her to help write songs with/for them. If you hadn’t heard of Yinka Oshodi before now, listen to the project down below and keep an ear out for her in future.
Favorite Tracks: At All & Options
Least Favorite Track: Waves (Interlude)