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The Pick: Asake Puts on an Inspiring Performance on his New Record, “Nzaza”

Our song of the week!

The advent of Sungbaman has left Nigeria’s music industry in disarray. In several ways, he gets people talking; some cast doubt on his longevity, others secretly admit to his unorthodox genius, and the rest (a vast majority, I might add) revel in Mr. Money’s special vibe. His music could form the euphoric backdrop of a club scene or set the tone for an introspective trip to work on a Monday morning. Though the future holds what it may, the fact is undeniable — everyone is tuned into Asake’s voice at the moment.

His debut project, Mr. Money With The Vibe, holds in it a wealth of quotable lyrics that speak to different senses within us. Although relatively young in his late 20s, Asake relates anecdotes from his mind-state and experiences in a way that appeals to all, but sips past the surface for those who feel the weight of his words. It would seem like he has lived several lives, and you would be inclined to agree when examining the product of his craft. Asake is able to clothe the age-old Fuji-influenced wisdom of his culture in the relatively new garment that is Amapiano.

Mr. Money houses a number of notable records, but one that sticks out for me is track eight, “Nzaza”. The track’s mid-tempo sets Asake up nicely to relay pieces of sapience in a heartwarming performance. He does this through a healthy mix of Yoruba, English, and Pidgin, crooning in tandem with Magicsticks’ swaying production. Asake’s cathedral-ish choruses indicate that there are so many fun ways to get a choir working for you.

“Nzaza” is a microcosm of Asake’s grass-to-grace story. He relays the necessity of mental fortitude in the journey for a better life, as well as a connection to a higher power which can only be found within, as he sings ”only strong fit to fit survive/see am for my dream as I wear my crown/get on my knees as I pray to Jah”. Throughout the entirety of the record, he is solemn but confident, speaking about his success as a matter of fact, and not one of braggadocio. The ability to communicate real feelings like these, as plainly as possible, is one of the standout strengths of Asake’s songwriting and artistry.

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