I know Nigerian music lovers that are yet to forgive Mr Eazi for his tweet about Ghana’s influence over Nigerian music. Prior to this tweet, Mr Eazi’s PR was so top-notch you will think he stole a checklist from a veteran’s manual. The man arrived in style with his own slang—Zagadat! — and sartorial ensemble capped with the unlikely raffia hat. And his sound, described as syrupy and psychedelic, is almost something new. After a few listens, I concluded that he had run with the gems in the music of Black Magic and Burna Boy. Summarily, the phenomenon of Mr Eazi had left his industry mates uneasy till that Freudian slip.
It is quite confounding that Mr Eazi chose to call his first major release a mixtape. At 14 tracks lasting forty-eight minutes plus, this piece enjoys a powerful assemblage of the best music producers working in Nigeria. If categorising ‘Life is Eazi’ as a mixtape is an infantile move, sub-titling it ‘Accra to Lagos’ is genius.
Of course Accra to Lagos is the destination route of many aircrafts in West Africa including that which must have brought Mr Eazi back after his years of sojourn in Ghana. He left Nigeria as a young school leaver and returned as a Mechanical Engineering graduate who happens to sing. Talent over academic territory notwithstanding, what Eazi consciously did by calling this mixtape, Accra to Lagos, is announcing an invasion. Like with viral studies, we may as well congratulate Tosin Ajibade for this feat, but there are more reasons for felicitations. Accra to Lagos is the itinerant direction of Ghanaian cultural exports en route global fame. After Fuse ODG’s ‘Azonto’ arrived in Lagos, in little time it boarded a plane to the rest of the world, to global fame ferried by our own Wizkid.
Quite impressively, this album skips most of the 2016 songs that brought Mr Eazi to limelight. The only song missed by this reviewer is ‘Skintight’ which might have fitted rather nicely to the fabric of this album. The album begins with ‘Leg Over’, a soccer metaphor and gambit produced by E-Kelly. This song begins a mid-tempo routine that has become customary to Mr Eazi’s sound. Expectedly, there are featured Ghanaian acts like Medikal who was competent on ‘Tilapia’ and Mugeez, one half of R2Bees, who was average on ‘Business’. The album begins to crystallise around the Masterkraft produced ‘2 People’, a paean and quasi modern fairy-tale song to a beautiful girl and her reflection in the mirror.
The Del B produced ‘Fight’ features D.J Cuppy’s voice in its opening skits and dashes the hope of Sean Tizzle’s fans looking forward to a singing duet. On the eponymous ‘Accra to Lagos’, Mr Eazi addresses his uneasy struggle to stardom. ‘Detty Yasef’ features the humorous Falz and describes a nagging tendency amongst sexually liberated young women who also experiment with drugs.
If there is a musician who best embodies the sexual depravity and drug-seeking behavior of the Nigerian Millennials, it will be Mr Eazi. Mr Eazi’s music is the soundtrack to the lives of a horde of young middle-class and elitist, private-school educated, weed-loving, rophynol-popping and casual sex-indulging Nigerians. With his lean frame and beguiling looks, he might as well be the poster boy of the gap year shenanigans.
‘In the Morning’ produced by the Legendury Beatz duo is a masterful sonic production even if Big Lean and Eazi drop the ball. Tekno stars as Tekno on the ordinary ‘Short Skirt’, a Maleekberry production. Masterkraft returns much later in the album with a palm-wine number, ‘Life is Eazi’ featuring Olamide and Phyno. If this song reminds one of the ghetto gospel of ‘Fada Fada’, ‘My Baby’ produced by Kukbeat is an unforgivable rip-off of the same song.
The bonus tracks barring ‘Right Now’ are bogus but at this point, the mixtape has made its point. Any decent listener is convinced that there are still more singles from the recesses of Mr Eazi’s Ghana-Must-Go coloured agbada. Eazi who clinched the coveted Headies 2016 Next Rated Award has already pointed us in the direction of his trajectory: from Accra to Lagos, from singles to mixtape. The Long Playing album is probably in the offing. This is easily one musician we will hear from for a long time.