With ”Lagos To London”, Mr Eazi is doing what he has to at this stage in his career, squaring up impressively to the demands of his two worlds, as he reinforces his hold on the continent while pursuing success on the global front.
While back home, things have not exactly gone as smoothly as he would have wanted following several comments that generated heavy backlash on social media, outside our shore, Eazi has risen to become one of the continents most essential talents bagging several record deals and performing at some of the biggest stages worldwide.
This year, Oluwatosin Ajibade a.k.a Mr Eazi, Nigerian by birth, Ghanaian by calling and Londoner by his base returns with his equally anticipated sophomore effort and these cultural inspirations all form a potent mix in the music that he puts out on his second studio project, ”Lagos to London.”
The idea behind the project, which he again refuses to call an album is to detail his journey from the busy streets of Lagos to the cold corners of London a place where he now calls home and the album is littered with a number of interesting guest collaborations across the two divides in fast-rising talent, Lady Donli, Burna Boy, 2baba, Simi, Maleek Berry and Ghana’s King Promise while the international cast includes the likes of Giggs, Sneakbo, Chronixx and Lotto Boyz.
The mixtape can best be described as a project of two halves with the first set of songs covering for the Lagos audience while he dedicates the final joints to his London crowd.
”Lagos To London” opens with the intro, ‘Lagos Gyration’, where Lady Donli who has been burning up the ‘Alte’ scene makes her presence felt. Starting with heavy and engrossing African drums, this is a call to the dance floor and the only thing missing is palm wine in the system.
Over chants and mumbled words, this is a catchy jam that it’s 00.47seconds lifespan perhaps denied him of a potential truly Nigerian hit tune, one that has been missing in his catalogue for a while now.
Explaining the idea behind the intro, Eazi shared on his Instagram page,
”I had been exploring this idea of a vintage Lagos vibe & Donli brought this to life alongside Tomi Thomas and her band. We had to cut it short cos it sounded like a full track & we wanted people to get that it was an intro.”
On ‘Surrender’ with Simi, Eazi is singing about surrendering to love, while Simi responds positively as she invites him into her heart.
‘Dabebi’ with King Promise and Maleek Berry is that contemporary hiplife record that Eazi used to good effect on his debut project as he infuses local languages in his verses. He continues his love theme with ‘Suffer Head’ alongside 2baba, which is a light piece of music that will lodge itself in your memory will constant listen.
Previously released singles, ‘Property’, ‘Pour Me Water’ and ‘Keys To The City’ line up alternately to provide another of the tapes nicer moments.
The first half of the mixtape closes with the Diplo assisted ‘Open and Close’ and a favourite in ‘Miss You Bad’ where Burna Boy again displays his innate abilities as they talk about ‘cheating’ and mistakes in a relationship, the production on this is top notch.
Then the mood switches to a meaty piece of grime and European sound with the Lotto Boyz assisted ‘Attention’.
Another standout record is ‘She Loves Me’ featuring Chronixx, where the Jamaican’s raspy voice deliver a spellbinding moment, with the project’s final moments seeing the up-tempo records ‘Chicken Curry’ with Sneakbo and ‘London Town’ with Giggs.
In less than two years, Mr Eazi has grown into the matured, well-travelled and more experimental artist, showing a strong level of consistency as he attempts to produce something special after the explosive nature of his debut effort.
”Lagos To London” isn’t bulging with trending sounds, even though he taps into them momentarily, but what it parades are memorable songs, well structured and produced with polish.
Producers like his frequent collaborators in GuiltyBeatz and Julz, Diplo, Speroach, Pheelz and EKelly all put in a significant showing.
Overall, his plain lyrical themes do not stray too far what he offered on his debut project, the mixtape is not constructed to blow you off as listeners may struggle in parts to understand the interpolations at play and the strong influence of European production on a number of the records, but it gives a very smooth listen in its 37mins journey.
There is something about creating projects to appeal convincingly to two divides. While the idea seems right, executing it to perfection usually creates a stumble with the major problem of blurring one’s musical identity, and with this in mind, it’s easy to appreciate what Mr Eazi set out to achieve and even in its shortcomings, there are enough solid records here to reinforce his position as one of the leading forces of African music globally.
3-Worth Checking Out