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Wizkid Like You've Never Seen Him Before: A Day in the Live Recap

To commemorate the release of his Made In Lagos album, Wizkid partnered with Youtube Music to give fans a 3-hour experience, showcasing an up-close view of his pre-show activities culminating in a full-on, live interactive performance. Here's how it went.

Immersive mystique is at the heart of the Wizkid brand. For much of the last three years, as Made In Lagos graduated from trite cultural tagline to the most anticipated Nigerian album of the 2010s, the singer was holed up in London erecting an almost-impenetrable veneer around himself. From being the most famous young Nigerian at the turn of the previous decade, Wizkid perfected the art of stepping out of the shadow and escaping into himself till he deemed fit. And when he did surface, it was predicated on music-related commitments: single drops, promotional content, and show stops. Seemingly, the mischievous and daring edge that endeared a generation of youngsters to Wizkid had been swapped out for a veteran’s detach.

2020 has been a year of shattering any form of misconception about Wizkid’s cultural influence. He took a frontline role in Nigeria’s momentous protests against police brutality and sparked a wide-ranging debate about respectability via his public wrangling with presidential aide Lauretta Onochie. In the heat of the protests, he made an appearance at a march in London, and following the protests’ tragic end, Wizkid put out Made In Lagos after initially postponing its release. To celebrate the feat, YouTube teamed up with the superstar to give an extended gaze into the inner working of his life on Wizkid Like You've Never Seen Him Before: A Day In The Live.

While most of the media coverage of Wizkid in the past have been curated prop strategically distributed to fan platforms and media houses, A Day In The Live had a chance to do away with the stage management and catch Wizkid at his most fluid, homely state. The cast and their subject mostly deliver on the former. Still, they don’t quite capture the essence of Wizkid’s personality beyond the bond with his son and an omnivorous appetite for meat and Mama J’s cooking. The opening shot has Wizkid making an unplanned song with P2J while Maleek Berry listens in; it’s mostly a rote affair till Julie Adenuga makes a scene-saving appearance, which she does many times throughout the show. Wizkid remains a gracious, hospitable host, if only inaccessible, as he remains perpetually aware of the rolling cameras

The best moments are when that awareness dissolves, and Wizkid’s enthusiasm for a particular activity shines through as it does when he’s talking about fashion or selecting clothes to don for his live show. Even the small talk with Karen Binns gets lively, and as the minutes to the performance draws near, Wizkid gets more animated. By the time he takes the stage, he is excited, and the synergy with the band shines through, as does McNasty’s incredible song arrangement. Gorgeous horns prelude the rendition of “Smile.” “Jam,” one of the standouts on Soundman Vol. 1, receives a specialist do-over. Still, some of the most nostalgic moments come when he forages into his back catalog for old numbers like “Come Closer” and the iconic “Ojuelegba.” Performing “Ojuelegba,” Wizkid pays another homage to the #EndSARS protests, switching lyrics to reflect the police threat faced by young Nigerians.

At the end of it all, Wizkid makes the trudge from the stage to his changing room, accompanied by only one person, but behind the cameras, there are so many other people we only see when others’ reaction gives them away. Somehow, that feels like the way Wizkid wants it, to be caught up close this once but not fully understood; he just wants you to love the music.

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