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The Pick: "Money & Love" is an Indicator of Wizkid's New Sonic Direction

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Wizkid has grown a keen eye for detail. Over the last few years, the 32-year-old pop sensation has grown from an eager, starry-eyed singer to a meticulous curator of some sort. His early musical years were characterized by a lot of breakneck delivery and riotious production. Take classic singles like “In My Bed”, “Pakurumo”, “Azonto”, “Jaiye Jaiye”, and “Show You The Money” for example, all inculcated with similar sonic ideas. The pace of his music would, however, really start to slow down in 2016, a year that proved truly epochal for him.

It’s the year his magnum opus “Ojuelegba” was blessed with stellar verses from two of the biggest rappers in the world, Skepta and Drake. It’s also the year the latter put him on one of the biggest singles of the decade “One Dance”. This period represented his global unveiling. The world was finally paying attention to this talented young kid from Nigeria. As a result, Wizkid began to contrive a new sonic approach. One that would carry a global appeal but wouldn’t completely alienate his local fans. 2017’s Sounds From The Other Side was his first try. Singles like “Come Closer” and “Daddy Yo” hit the nail on the head but the entire project was a little rough around the edges. As a result, the album received a mixed reception so Wizkid went back to the drawing board.

The following year, he was tied up in some label snafu that restricted him from putting out music in his name but that didn’t halt his evolution. He put out singles like “Fake Love” and “Soco” under the Starboy imprint and then in 2019 he released Soundman Vol. 1, a project that has proven to be highly significant in his illustrious career. It’s the project where Wizkid finally found the right balance and approach. At this point, he had fully substituted the fast-paced production he usually favoured for something more serene and soothing. This was the beta testing however.

The main product would finally arrive in 2020 in the form of Made In Lagos, his most successful album to date. All his years of tweaking and evolving would finally pay off. Now, he’s ready to go again with his fifth studio album More Love Less Ego. The latest single and the album’s opening song “Money & Love” is very much in line with most of what Wizkid has been doing over the last few years. His trusted producer P2J cooks a scintillating beat on which Wizkid coolly glides. “Big Bad Wiz Mr Shift your panties” he sings cockily, claiming he’s got money and love to give in abundance. In truth, it’s not the most catchy or in-your-face single but its message aligns perfectly with the album’s theme. Sonically, it also gives you a good idea of what direction Wizkid seems to be taking this time.

This has been his mode of operation for the last few years now. He seems to have relented from chasing scatter-brained or stadium size singles. He’s a lot more methodic in his approach, crafting and releasing carefully curated singles that make a lot more sense when viewed in the context of his projects rather than individually.

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