A curation of some of the most exciting new voices in afropop.
The importance of marketing and distribution of art made for public consumption cannot be overemphasised. In the early 2000s, it was normal to see musicians walk up to people to engage in one-on-one discussions, advertising their songs or albums. Luckily, as music technology improved, it helped artists navigate advertising and distribution better. For example, the development of CDs saved artists the stress of marketing their music one on one, people had access to songs via CD players.
Again, the technological development of the 2010s resulted in the proliferation of new media platforms and companies that help artists market, distribute, and monetize their art. Ejoya Music, one of such platforms is a music technology company that creates tools for the new generation of budding artists to make music, distribute and monetise their content. The company opened in 2019 to give independent artists a platform to effectively market and distribute their work while maintaining the creative freedom of each artist. Since their inception and the release of their first track “Fly” by Jamal Swiss until now, Ejoya has delivered over 150 songs, including Onyeka Onwenu’s entire discography.
In 2020, the company released Class of 20, Vol 1., an album featuring original compositions by the most promising newcomers in the industry. Artists like Buju, EMO Grae, DJ yin, Jinmi Abdul and so on, coupled with different producers, got placements on the project gaining exposure due to the marketing power of the company.
2021 sees the release of Class of 21, a curation of some of the most exciting new voices in afropop and the second album in the series. The project features acts like PsychoYP, Sassy, Soundz, Liya, Azanti, Loti, Naya Akanji, Kemena, Tsuni and Masterpiece. Through this album, Ejoya set out to give these artists a good standing in the music industry, and create opportunities for them to collaborate.
Here is a track by track review of the songs on the album;
“Fiki” - Ejoya & Liya
This song is a good way to start the album, it gives a sultry vibe from the sound, and it depicts the Nigerian culture through the use of Yoruba indigenous language used. The song sounds spiritual, and the beat extremely fits the angelic voice of Liya, as this is how she sounds in most of her works off the album. The mood of the song, accompanied with the title of the song ‘fiki’ which means someone who has a lot of sex and wouldn’t take no for an answer when it comes to sex. The mood shows the artist need for intimacy, when she said ‘je ka lo jo lo li li jo ro ra ra’ The angelic voice of the artist over the bass of the beat goes hand in hand and it gives a melodious tone to the song. This song sets you in the mood for intimacy.
“Mind”- Ejoya, Kemena & Laime
The chorus of this song is giving! Honestly, it makes you roll your waist and put your hands up just to feel the music. It has a really calm vibe, as the artist talks about how he constantly thinks about someone. I feel the tone of the artist and mood captivates the emotion of the song all together. The artist’s voice shows that he actually has something or someone on his mind, and he can’t help. The beat of the song also helps the artist to deliver his art properly. Both the producer and artist did a really good job on this one.
“Loader” - Fxrtune, Ejoya & Azanti
This song is top-notch, it’s like everyone’s favourite on the album. The voices of Fxrtune and Azanti go well together, it was a bit difficult to tell when Azanti came in with his own verse. This shows how well both voices go together. The song details the artist’s gratitude to God for leading him from the bottom to where he is now: ‘I must to thank Jehovah, say na my God na my own the loader’. The producer of this song was able to maintain the tempo of the beat, even when Fxrtune increased his pitch at some point, and when there was a switch to Azanti. Azanti is a very promising artist, who recently showed his creativity in his debut ep. It is no surprise that he was able to deliver well with Fxrtune who has such a euphonious voice.
“Faji” - Ejoya, Naya, Akanji, & Tsuni
When you are in the mood for enjoyment and just chilling, this is a go-to song to keep you in that enjoyment mood. Naya and Tsuni’s voice flows well with the beat, the fact that both voices were tenor, the beat did not still overshadow their voices. This song is magical because despite their voices being on this kind of beat, they did not lose their pitch. The part where Tsuni kept repeating ‘faji re pe te, mo ni ka jo go do’ that part was IT. The producer understood the assignment, he did well to keep the beat subtle so as not to overshadow the voice. The sounds of the drum went extremely well with the voice of both artists.
“Morenike” - Ejoya, Soundz & Teni
The combination of Soundz and Teni on this song gives a catchy song to the vibe. The voice of both artist flows with the beat. There is really nothing to say about this song, as it basically the normal vibe of a guy wanting a girl. But it is no doubt that Teni and Soundz have a cooperation when it comes to songs, as both of them give the same vibe.
“Monster” - Ejoya & PsychoYP Ft. Oxlade
This song suits the afro- fusion genre as it is a mix of trap and afrobeats. On this song, PsychoYP brought in his A-game to drop bars, and Oxlade came with his sultry falsetto to blend the music properly. The fact that both voices suited the beat and flowed well with the beat cannot be overlooked. An 8 out of 10 song.
“Bad” - Ejoya & SGAWD Ft. WANI
This collaboration is one I will say both voices are sweet and ride well on the sound. WANI and SGaWD were born to make music together, period.
“Gold Coast Baby” - Ejoya & Loti
Loti went really hard on this song, from the first verse to the chorus. He maintained his pitch which is one thing that is admirable. The intro to the song matched well with the beat. The second verse with all the rhyming will literally make you move your body. This song is a classic, the artist didn’t miss on this one, he delivered well, as this is his area of speciality. He focuses on R&B/Soul. The way each pause matched with the pause of the beat, that is remarkable. Loti’s sound is one to reckon with. Normally he sings about love, and on this one his voice flows smoothly as he appreciates his lover, by calling her his ‘gold coast baby’. On the track, Loti describes his lover and his plans for her, with the use of sexual statements. This song is really nice to listen to when you are in a lovey-dovey mood.
“Like 2 Party” - Ejoya, PsychoYP& Laime
This is another song that falls under the afro-fusion genre. Laime started the song with his melodic voice going over the drums, and PsychoYP came with the bars, blended properly with afrobeats. Everything is just soothing in this song. Laime sounds good on this song especially with the chorus, ‘she say she like to party party party, and her body is a mad thing mad thing mad thing’. PsychoYP himself did not miss, his voice sounds so mellifluous, and both voices are in harmony with the beat, which makes the whole song one to vibe to. This song deserves a 10 out of 10.
“My Baby” – Ejoya, Kemena, Mide Mcheal & Tsuni
Mide Michael starting this song made it a song one can move their heads to. Tsuni never misses, the way her voice is flowing on the beat can literally move one to tears because it is so sweet. Mide Michael’s voice perfectly suits the chorus alongside Kemena. This song is simple, yet so catchy, this song is also very nice.
“Candy” - Ejoya & Tsuni
The album ends with this song, as Tsuni gives us a blend of afrobeats and soul, as she tells us through her song that she wants the sweetness of her lover “compliment my energy, supplement my body, me I want to feel good for life.” This song is a good way to end the album because the album begins with intimacy and ends with intimacy.
Words: Tiwa Aladesuru