The Afrobeat superstar releases three new tracks as a timely update to his 2020 album.
A couple of weeks ago, Wizkid claimed a slice of history when “Essence”, the standout single from his fourth studio album Made In Lagos, popped up on the famous Billboard Hot 100 chart. While it was a huge personal moment for Wizkid and anyone remotely invested in his career, it was also a testament to just how good his recent music has been. Many have argued that Made In Lagos might be the 30-year-old superstar’s magnum opus and there’s good reason to believe that. Stripping away the fast-paced percussions and zest signature to his earlier music, he embraced a more mellow approach in crafting MIL, favouring more intricate instrumentation and a less impassioned delivery.
The result would be some of the finest songs we’ve ever seen the Afrobeats legend produce in his illustrious career. It’s both refreshing and methodical. Deep cuts and fan favourites like “True Love”, “Ginger”, “Piece of Me” and ‘Sweet Love” weave through a number of varying genres ー ranging from R&B to reggae down to Afropop ー yet, neither sounds out of place, highlighting a well-put-together and incredibly rhythmic sonic framework. The album – which arrived in October of 2020 – seemed like a myth sometimes, taking years in the making. Nevertheless, it delivered on its promise and managed to sustain relevance for several months after its release, rightly propelling Wizkid to the heights his indisputable talent deserves.
Earlier today, four new songs were added to the already brilliant 14 tracks, as Wizkid updated MIL with a deluxe edition. In its original form, the album is an enthralling end-to-end listen, and unsurprisingly, the added four songs make the experience even better. The pre-released Justin Bieber-assisted “Essence remix” might be the weakest of the lot, but by all accounts, it’s doing everything most people imagined it would. The Canadian pop star was brought in to make the single even more ubiquitous and he has done just that. The song currently sits at the number 16 spot of the Billboard Hot 100 and there’s every possibility that it could go further in the coming weeks. “Anoti” is built on P.Prime’s piercing guitar lines, rhythmic percussion and an infectious hook. “Mood” features in-form fast-rising star Buju who steals the show with his slightly raspy vocals and a melodic and smooth chorus.
In the early days of 2020, Wizkid dropped a surprise project, the epochal Soundman Vol 1, which marked the evolution of the Surulere-born singer as he experimented with slower and sensual beats on cuts like “Electric”. Here, he seems to have perfected this experimentation with the incredibly sultry “Steady”. It’s dim-light, clothes off, wine in glass mood music. “Cool, she a five-star lady,” he gently croons over slow syncopated drums and plush background horns. Even when he’s not making much sense (case in point: “body physically sexy”?) It's still irresistible. Wizkid drifts through the entirety of the song with a captivating silkiness that’ll have his listeners craving love, lust, intimacy, or whatever it elicits.
Wizkid’s attention to sonic detail at the moment seems next to none. The inclusion of the four extra tracks does not disrupt the flow of the album. It’s seamless and enjoyable as most tracks run into the next like a well-coordinated relay team. Also, none of the tracks feel like a filler that should have remained on the hard drive; they are all sturdy and strategic, aiming to capture and satisfy his wide-ranging audience. He’s an international star now and he’s playing the role like a man who has a master game plan. With the original and updated versions, Wizkid has managed to put together an instant classic that’ll be discussed for many years to come.