Everything afrobeats superstar, Mr. Eazi does is deliberately planned. He does well at keeping it under wraps, sometimes revealing snippets of what he has in store. But, the big plans are shelved beyond the eyes and ears of many except his team. Mr. Eazi- along with Juls- did not only change the sound of afrobeats, he has managed to extend his visibility beyond the borders of Ghana- where he cut his teeth musically- and his native of Nigeria. He has become a global brand name. Mr. Eazi is in the same discussion as Wizkid and Davido when it comes to African pop stars with strong brands. No one can make a top 5 list of afrobeats artists today and ignore Mr. Eazi.
The roll out of his latest mixtape ‘’Life’s Eazi Vol. 2– Lagos To London’’ attest to how he is cultivating his brand and influence in the diaspora. The promotional campaign for this new mixtape follows the same path adopted in Nigeria for his previous tape. His team have branded BRT (commercial) buses plying the streets of London with the bright yellow cover of the mixtape to generate attention, anticipation and curiosity. And the strategy worked in the past and it is again working.
Since bursting on the scene with the Juls produced, Efya featured hit ‘’Skin Tight’’, the Port Harcourt born Mr. Eazi has succeeded in charting a lane for himself within the densely populated afrobeats scene. What is interesting is that, he is in this lane alone. His major competition is himself. The success of each project inspires him to push further towards excellence. And that is clearly apparent on his latest mixtape: ‘Life’s Eazi Vol. 2’.
Divided in two halves, the 15 track mixtape reflect and fuses the music style of Lagos and West Africa with the grime music culture of the UK. The features also reflect the album direction. On the Lagos side, he draws on the talented Simi, King Promise, Maleek Berry, Mo-T, 2face Idibia, Burna Boy. From the UK comes Lotto Boyzz, Chronixx, Sneakbo.
The songs are unskippable, due largely to its refreshing tone. It is the type of album made to satisfy all moods. The lightness of the themes explored on the mixtape is not overbearing
”Lagos Gyration (Intro)” captures the spirit and direction of the mixtape. The intro track –which runs for just 4 seconds- belches with gong, drum, horns and church organ rhythms. A traditional choir, led by a female singer sing about love: ‘I go climb the highest tower/ just to jump for your love’. The dustiness of the song’s tone hands it an old feel, similar to what you hear on a vinyl record. The theme of love is heavily represented on this album. In fact, Lagos to London is nothing but a modern day African love album.
The mid-tempo sound of the short opener sit in contrast with the next song ‘Surrender’. Featuring the sensational Simi, the Juls produced track is fast paced and rhythmically engrossing. Blending Yoruba and pidgin, Mr. Eazi surrenders his love to a lover: ‘If you give me a chance I give you everything I got/ I pray to God that this loving is enough’. Just as his initial couplets assert, he hasn’t gotten anything of physical and material value. Love is his only prized possession. Simi, who’s the lover in question, reciprocate the feeling of goodwill: ‘I open my heart baby, come make you enter’, before adding ‘anything you have is enough’; to assuage his insecurities.
On ‘Dabebi’ (a twi word that translate as ‘out of sight), Mr Eazi and his producer Guilty Beat and ProducedbySoji sampled a classic highlife track by Ofori Amponsah titled ‘Demaabi’. Mr. Eazi, along with fast rising King Promise and Maleek Berry desire the presence of their lover. The production is infectious and very highlife-y. The pangs of loneliness is apparent in his voice as he sings ‘while the rain is pouring girl I’m longing for you’. The vocal offering of King Promise and Berry were the seasoning to the song.
‘’Suffer Head’’ featuring the veteran 2Baba continues with the highlife tone, with the two reiterating why they won’t let anything stop them from marrying their lover. Drawing Burna Boy-who’s having a sensational music year on the thumping ‘Miss You Bad’ is brilliant. In fact, I haven’t heard Burna Boy sound the way he did on the song since his breakthrough record ‘Like To Party’. His vocals sound rich and hearth warming.
Prior to the official release of the mixtape, Mr, Eazi had released four lead singles- the jazzy sounding Property featuring South African trumpeter Mo-T (of MiCasa), Keys To The City, Overload and boisterous, club tailored ‘London Town’ featuring the charismatic UK rapper Giggs. As an earlier single, Mr Eazi had released the mellow, danceable “Pour Me Water’; a song bothering on cheating and deception. The mellow tempered, calming feel that the song oozes is nothing short of therapeutic. This, however contrast with the energetic, heart thumping ‘Open & Close’, a perfect example of an afro-EDM song produced by the world famous Diplo. This is an obvious gesture since the two have forged a relationship over the years, with Mr. Eazi featuring on his album, Afrobeats.
The London leg of the mixtape is introduced by a skit involving a bus conductor calling and advising passengers to fasten their belt as they jet to the UK capital, London. This chapter is heralded by its translucent and taut dubstep elements fused with afrobeats as heard on ‘Attention’ (featuring Lotto Boyzz), ‘Yard And Chill’ and ‘Chicken Curry’ featuring Sneakbo. The dancehall tinged ‘She Loves Me’ with Jamaican act Chronixx exude a different, though it feels out of place considering the soundscape of the album.
“Lagos To London’ is an excellent curation from Mr. Eazi. The production is sharp, the song sequencing is great- the transition of songs sounds seamless. If there’s a quality Mr. Eazi possess that makes his music a delightful listen, and has endeared him to many people, it is how he delivers his words on songs: they can best be described as elementary – words that even the under-educated could recite flawlessly. This quality is apparent if you contrast his verses with that of 2Baba and Burna Boy on ‘Suffer Head’ and ‘Miss You Bad’. Again, he doesn’t have to convey his thoughts, especially about love with many words. He doesn’t mince his words either. ‘I’ll like to know your size/so that when I am shopping I go dey buy am right’ or me I want to let you know, say na me and you tonight o/ if my body do the work/ your body go do the talking’’.
‘’Lagos To London’ is a perfect album which scores high on all fronts- including the technical details. The songs are unskippable, due largely to its refreshing tone. It is the type of album made to satisfy all moods. The lightness of the themes explored on the mixtape is not overbearing or draggy. ‘’Lagos To London’’ is the kind of album you can play countless times and feel no boredom. Mr. Eazi chose to offer us the perfect Christmas gift. We can’t be mad at him since such gifts don’t come eazi (sorry, easy).