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MADE IN LAGOS, NOT FOR LAGOS

After 730+ days of promises, after a number of singles which could make up an album, and after nights of fans consulting the gods for this blessing, Ayo “Wizkid” Balogun finally releases his long awaited album, Made In Lagos. It’s 1:00am here in Nigeria, and yes, almost half the nation was up to receive this delayed promise. So I’ll like to keep this as brief as possible, because you know – it’s the weekend, and that’s enough time to rinse new music.

Before I go on, I’ll like to… and I certainly speak for everyone when I say “f*ck you Wizkid for keeping us waiting this long.” I would also like to point out times where he promised us a “new album this year” prior to the original release date which was 15th of October, 2020. Let’s go:
• Interview with Tim Westwood where he firstly announced a new album coming soon with 10 tracks and no features called “Made in Lagos”, in 2018.
• At the 2019 Starboy Fest where he promised to drop 5 new albums in the new year.
• July this year when he took to his Instagram story and announced the readiness of his album, after showing gratitude to everyone who featured on it, and went on to post the date, July 16.
• Oct 3, 2020 when he dropped the album teaser and announced that it would be released on the 15th of that same month. For obvious reasons, it got postponed, and finally we’re here.

Wizkid, amidst the absence of sufficient hits in recent years has had a good run still. From shutting down the biggest auditoriums, to getting features with world renowned artistes, and bagging major awards. These could possibly have been some reason for the artiste to relax, as some fans would say “he’s still living on past glory.” Others presumed the album was ready but he was having issues with international label, RCA Records, which was leading to its delay. Regardless, the album is here, but how well would the fans take it?
The highly anticipated piece is a 14-track album that spans across the regular Wizkid topics which include love, women, sex and a sprinkle of telling us his journey, coupled with how grateful he is to God for where he’s at. Even at this, we see the same message, but a very different Wizkid. The Grammy nominated artiste has for quite some time shown us a transition in sound, from his 2017 sophomore album – Sounds From The Other Side, to the 2019 Starboy E.P titled Soundman Vol. 1. He has played around with multiple genres ranging from Caribbean, R&B, Highlife and Reggae.

This hasn’t sat so well in the hearts of some of the Afropop legend’s fans, but on Made in Lagos, he’s made it very clear that these sounds are here to stay. He prepared us mightily for the sounds off this album by testing waters with his first single of the year and the 6th track off the album – Smile which features H.E.R, and also No Stress.
Also, at first mention of the features on the album, when he showed gratitude to them on his Instagram story, it was clear we weren’t getting the regular pon pon sound or lamba music, maybe the closest things to that would be Ginger and Roma which feature Burna Boy and his label prodigy – Terri, respectively. But at the mention of R&B artistes; Tay Iwar, Tems, H.E.R and Ella Mai, coupled with world renowned Reggae artiste; Damian Marley, you honestly should not have been expecting any heavy gbedu.

Made in Lagos is a musical masterpiece. It possesses very soothing sounds, especially when the horns on each song plays. It’s almost lyrically powerful, I know a few may want to have my head for this, but the artiste has shown serious growth in his lyrics which he’s constantly bashed for. For me, Wizkid is at a place he should have been since around 2017. He has packaged himself well enough as one of the leaders of the “Afrobeats to the world” movement, even if his sound doesn’t revolve around the genre anymore. The album may not resonate with the sounds of Lagos, but if the young man from Ojuelegba says it, then it’s MADE IN LAGOS!

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