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Essentials: Moelogo Switches Gears On 'I The EP'

The latest installment in his EP series is a collab-heavy project that showcases the artist's versatility.

For Moelogo (real name Mohammed Animashaun), creative freedom seems to be the eternal goal. This versatility and clear refusal to be put in a box have inspired his work on personal projects and other artists’ work. From Jonas Blue to Kelly Rowland and Giggs, his art is ever-changing in motion, constantly evolving to his whims and tastes.

In 2020, he released two EPs, Me and Myself, to widespread acceptance and acclaim from fans and critics. From the titles, it was clear that the projects were part of a continuing series, and now in 2021, the trilogy is complete with his latest release I The EP. A running thread through the three projects is growth, with each one containing more songs as he went on. Me had five, Myself had six, and I has eleven songs. Also, the first two had zero and two features, respectively, while on I The EP, he collaborated with ten artists.

The length of the EP is perhaps its most crucial property, as it affords Moelogo time and space to explore the range of his abilities while maintaining cohesiveness. Across its 36-minute runtime, the EP produces something for every type of listener, from his regular brand of alternative R&B to afrobeats, fuji, and highlife. Upon listening, one gets the feeling that they are at a surprise party, opening a couple of gifts with no idea what’s coming next. Moelogo has a reputation for songwriting. The lyrics on I do not disappoint as he addresses various themes in his usual poetic effectiveness, switching between different languages; English, patois, Yoruba, and pidgin.

On the intro track “Things Fall Apart”, he talks about feeling lost and needing love, a sentiment that’s very relatable in this day and age. “Can't hear myself loud enough/I feel like I’m drowning in the pool of selfishness/Can’t hear myself speak/They love when they speak for me/And then they worry when I tell them it’s enough/Because I’m running for me now/Running for me now.”

On the Krishane-assisted “Fontainebleau”, he is lewd and sexually suggestive as he pursues a romantic interest. In line with the intentional randomness, the lyrics are in a Jamaican patois style. “One hushna is enuf for me/Ojukokoro is not for me, you’re the one gyal/Ooh don’t come, I stand fit like comfortably/She no getty uncles with a Patek/Kilofe jimmy and fendis, hmm.”

On the closing “Boju Boju”, he is sombre and in pain as he reflects on the state of his country and all the problems she faces in the hands of her rulers who don’t care about the citizens who suffer in squalor. “In my country no such thing as omo kekere/Lati kere, your bukata is sha ti korede o/But the big boys are chilling, government are billing/No recession for their family/They killing us, oponu talk say why we cursing them.”

Unlike the previous two EPs in the series, Moelogo collaborates extensively on this project, and this decision is the oil that keeps the wheel of versatility and freedom rolling smoothly. Although it is important to give credit to whoever handled the A&R of the project, the diversity of the supporting cast also speaks volumes to Moelogo’s intentionality and vision for the project. On “Stay Easy”, he recruits highlife duo The Cavemen, who transfer their infectious smooth vibe to the record, alongside lyrics in Igbo, an interesting deviation from Yoruba that dominates the project. Primarily known for his work with singers, he also drafted in help from Alpha Ojini and Laycon, two of the busiest rappers in the game. Adekunle Gold, Ria Sean, Bella Shmurda, Qdot, Reekado Banks, L.A.X and British singer Krishane complete the star-studded ensemble.

As fans, it is gratifying to see an artist grow and find themselves sonically. But even more than finding a “sound” or “voice”, it is refreshing to see them refuse boxes and take bold steps to explore their range musically. Art is experimenting and trying hands at different things; art is discovery and the freedom to choose, to decide. A negative fallout of this is that sometimes, the lines don’t fall straight, and the gears don’t click. But that’s a story for another day, because on I The EP, everything works perfectly for Moelogo, and by extension, for us, the fans.

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