Fawaz is an avid lover of Nigerian pop music with a flair for writing. Music is subjective but i try to be as objective as possible.
Before I dive right into business, I would like to state forefront that being objective while reviewing the work of one of your favourite artists can be quite hectic but I will try to be as objective as possible, as I have been a longtime fan of Wizkid since he released his critically acclaimed Superstar album. Wizkid had been teasing his fans about a certain Made in Lagos project since 2018 and it is only fair to say that the album is one of the most highly anticipated projects that Wizkid has ever released. Does it live up to the hype? For me, yes it does. And I also understand the reasons why some might say otherwise. These reasons would be discussed in the paragraphs below.
Made in Lagos is Wizkid’s fourth studio album and it is certainly one of the best projects he has released in recent years due to his newfound sense of purpose which could not be found in his previous projects such as Sounds From The Other Sides and Soundman Vol. 1 E.P. After these albums did not captivate the attention of many listeners, Wizkid took some time off social media to rediscover his style and sound in 2019 and Made In Lagos was born. Consisting of 14 tracks, the album oozes a sense of maturity, confidence, and calmness throughout. The tracklist emits a feel-good vibe all through and that is present throughout the whole album.
Listening to Made In Lagos was an enthralling experience and it had so many highlights. A major highlight of the album for me was Wizkid’s new sound. Ever since Wizkid dropped “Smile”, the first single off the album, I knew instantly that he was attempting to change the way he sounds on his songs. He sounded so assured and confident in his vocals which made it seem like he was not putting in much effort into singing. With the release of “No Stress” as the second single off the album, I had an inkling about how the entire album was going to sound like and I was not wrong. Wizkid’s new sound oozes confidence and maturity which was present all through the album and that was a major highlight of the album for me.
Another highlight of the album is the impeccable production that is sustained throughout the album. The production is better and certainly more structured than his last two projects. The use of African horns, saxophones, and guitar chords on the beat making of certain tracks injects the Nigerian vibes which makes it a compelling listen of Afro-fusion and Afrobeats. Tracks such as “True Love” and “Reckless” are testaments to the quality production of the album.
The cohesiveness of the entire album is also a major talking point of Made In Lagos. Although all of the tracks consist of different beat patterns and do not sound monotonous, they all meshed together quite well. From the intro “Reckless” to the outro “Grace”, no track seemed incredulously out of place on the album.
The artists featured on the album also make for another major talking point about the album. Artists such as Burna Boy, Skepta, Damian Marley, H.E.R, Ella Mai, Tems and Terri were featured on the album and they did not put a foot wrong on the tracks they were featured in. Tems's vocal performance on “Essence” was absolutely on point and it made that track one of the best on the album for me. All the artists picked to feature on the album brought their A-game to the table. Damian Marley did not disappoint me either on “Blessed”, as his husky voice and flow gave that track a certain kind of feeling which made me love the track even more.
"No Stress" Official Video
There have always been talks about Wizkid’s songwriting skills declining in recent years and this was quite noticeable on Soundman Vol. 1 E.P. However, on Made In Lagos, his songwriting improved. This might be because he had things to talk about especially on tracks such as “Reckless” and “Blessed”. On “Blessings”, he advised his listeners “Ah, I don see where pressure make man wreck o (Yes) / So, make you live your life o jeje, no regret am (Ah)”. Wizkid’s songwriting improved drastically on this album save for some tracks. Although the album revolves around themes such as love and sex, it still makes for one hell of a compelling listen.
Made In Lagos is one of Wizkid’s solid and most enjoyable projects in recent years, however, some feel the project did not meet their expectations because of the absence of instant club bangers which might be due to the calm vibes the album emits all through. Although tracks like “Essence”, “True Love” and “Mighty Wine” are tracks that would serve well as erotic dance songs at clubs, most people expect instant club bangers which Wizkid is known for dishing out regularly, however they fail to note that artists evolve and mature as they grow older which is something Wizkid is going through right now. Popular Nigerian DJ, DJ Kaywise explicitly stated that the beats per minute of all the songs on the album are below 105 which means the songs on the album would not be easy for DJs to play at parties and clubs because the beats don’t go at a high tempo. Most Nigerians do not enjoy music without catchy hooks and fast beats however I’m quite certain of the fact that some tracks on this album would be anthems in a few years because Wizkid’s music has a way of growing on listeners.Naming the album Made In Lagos without dropping some songs that inspires street hustle like "Ojuelegba" and "No Lele" was also part of the reasons why some feel that the album did not meet their expectations.
While Made In Lagos is a great album and to some an enjoyable project, it is far from being a perfect album. There are some filler tracks on the album for me such as “Gyrate” and “Sweet One” which the album could have done without. The songwriting on the album could have also been better, tracks such as “True Love” and “Roma” could have been better, the continuous repetition of certain bridges and verses on some Wizkid tracks is quite a turn off nowadays.
Wizkid succeeds in making music inspired by Nigerian vibes which also offers international appeal on Made In Lagos. Spanning over 50 minutes, the album offers listeners a calm and introspective Wizkid who just wants to make his money and live his life to the fullest with no stress. While some claim it is an album for the elite, on the contrary it is an album made to ease stress after the daily hustle and bustle of Lagos city and it can be enjoyed by anyone.
Essential Tracks: “Reckless”, “Blessings” and “Essence”.
Ayo on November 02, 2020:
Very nice breakdown.Top notch