Essentials: Azanti Embraces Emotional Vulnerability on his Debut Solo EP
An impressive effort from the 17-year-old harnessing his craft and ascending the stairs of industry acclaim in the process.
One of the surprises in the music world last year was the introduction of Azanti into the music space. 16-year-old, furnished with an envious sound armoury in the brand of enthralling RnB music and inventive songwriting never heard before. For most, Azanti popped in like a wonder. His performance on the collaborative EP with Psycho YP would endear and pull many to his craft, surging to devour more of his offerings.
Azanti would later satisfy those longings with more musical moments: collaborations with beatsmith Jaylon who produced “Ji Masun” on YP&Azanti, adding spice to Laime’s “Totally” and scoring songwriting credits on Mr Eazi’s and Joeboy’s projects. Yet, there’s that feeling that those were bit-sized moments, an aversion to the full-on experience his fans were looking forward to. Azanti has, however, fulfilled those demands by coming forth with an eight-track project.
While on YP & Azanti, the sound bed was two-fold: a blend of bright melodies and brassy trap drums—to accommodate YP’s trap tendencies. But on his first solo project, Azanti favours a framework of pulpy melodies and soft percussion. This sonic foundation proves potent to aid his soulful expression.
The vibe of the project, for some reason, doesn’t really kick off from the opener. “Dive” presents Azanti in his freewheeling feels, as he reflects on past experiences—probably the end of a relationship or about his career trajectory so far. But from the first verse, his resonant words seem to sway towards the latter: “Cos I wanna text no more...I got a whole life ahead of me.”
Where the EP takes off is on the second single, “Latan”. Azanti brings his A-game here, channeling the delight of “Focused”, re-enacting the finesse that drew listeners to what has become an exciting sound. Embodying a silky delivery, Azanti dazzles through, dropping catchy bars while filling in his love attraction about his sensual fantasies. However, the skillful array of techniques makes “Latan” an instant standout: his occasional croons, the rhythmic hook, and the earnest appeal that drives the song.
With the project brimming with ecstasy, there’s more talk of lust and romance discourse on “Underwater”. The booming production enables Azanti to slip on the language of patois, passionately cooing his efficiency on the romantic turf: “I can make your body move differently”. “Underwater” may not bask in the same catchiness that underlined “Latan”, yet it displayed Azanti’s versatility.
When we come into the soulful feels of “Time Difference”, we are confronted with a down-to-earth Azanti. Not only that, the tranquil mood conjured by the twinkling melodies makes the track an engrossing one. The theme is even more infectious, as Azanti narrates a complicated situation most associated with long-distance relationships where communication becomes a bane. Hence, Azanti’s delivery is coated in emotional honesty. And there’s no hold back in terms of him pouring out his emotions into this song nor does his storytelling suffer a disconnect or his lyrics being forced. It’s a well-assembled song adorned with a melodic flourish.
There are more reflective moments. The soft guitar strums of “Kimberly” allow Azanti to switch to a rap mode, recounting an experience with a ‘Kimberly’ who’s obsessed with luxurious items, prioritizing it over building the relationship. And then, the fantasies of “Underwater” see a return in “My Type of Woman”, with Azanti spelling out the special feature his woman should have.
Before the EP comes to a close on “Sunmomi” and “Necessary,” there’s a clear depiction Azanti has diversified the direction of this project. YP&Azanti may have illustrated he’s a student of R&B, but here, he’s displayed his versatility, swinging his songwriting prowess on a trove of other beats. The groovy feels of “Sunmomi” amplify Azanti’s continued exploration of romance, and with an ample understanding of Amapiano, he sweetly taps into intriguing pockets of hypnotic melodies on “Necessary”.
For all that makes Azanti a standout is his matured songwriting and exquisite skill for excelling on the production he’s chosen. Thus, his storytelling becomes captivating and his lyricism, clear. Plus, the soundscape is varied: catchy moments will culminate into party anthems as December draws near and introspective songs enhance his tender singing.
One goes from Azanti struck by these qualities. Not only that but also his seamless ability in tackling the emotional themes he’s singing about on this record. It sums the 17-year-old as a rare talent, one who’s harnessing his craft project after project and ascending the stairs of industry acclaim in the process.