Sounds From The Other Side: Wizkid’s Evolution

If you ain’t got no sauce, then ya lost but you can also get lost in the sauce” – a philosopher from Zone 6, East Atlanta.

Wizkid has the sauce. The Lagosian artist is arguably the biggest artist on the whole African continent–remember that this is a continent with over a billion people (watch the video for “Sweet Love”).

Ojuelegba” dropped and it took Wizkid to another level. The remix featured Skepta and Drake, and it pushed him into a whole new stratosphere. When Wizkid announced his project, “Sounds From The Other Side“, there was a lot of hype and anticipation. However, it’s also safe to say some were nervous that Wizkid was lost in the sauce, because of his new-found international fame (and accent).

In an interview with Ebro, Wizkid calls “Sounds From The Other Side” an EP stating, “when I decided to make it like a little record, a friend of mine came into the room with a business partner of his when I was recording, heard the music and said, are you about to put this out for free? [They] were like hell no. He was like yo, I’m putting my money behind that.”

Later on in the interview Wizkid and Ebro talk about the project calling it a collection of work he (Wizkid) has done in the past few years breaking into America and an introduction to people who are just finding about who he is.

If you listened to #SFTOS and were looking for tracks such as  “Holla At Your Boy” “Tease Me“, “Don’t Dull“, “Love My Baby“, “Pakurumo“Oluwa Lo Ni” “Jaiye Jaiye“, “On Top Your Matter“, you listened to the wrong project.

Immediately listening to #SFTOS it is very clear that Wizkid is not the same artist he was when he blew up in 2010 or the same artist when he released his sophomore album “Ayo”.

Wizkid basically lives and works in the Western world, he probably eats jollof rice and truffle, while drinking skoochies out of Cartier champagne flutes. He has evolved, he is a megastar but evolution is not a bad thing.

This evolution has birthed “Sounds From The Other Side” a 12 track, 40 minute project, which combines and blends Afrobeats, Reggae, Dancehall, EDM, House & R&B, to name a few genres. It is a fun listen, it sounds as if Wizkid is experimenting and trying to find a new sound, especially with the new producers he decided to worked with.

There are quite a few standout tracks. “One For Me” (this should be the next single) which features Ty Dolla $ign will ring off in the club or party (you can catch a stiff whine to this). “Picture Perfect” sounds like the Wizkid people are accustomed to and it is one you will have on repeat. “Sexy” is a smooth track which has Efya on the background vocals & the track is produced by Spellz.  Wizkid’s core fans will clearly be disappointed with this album while new (American) fans will appreciate #SFTOS more. There were a few misses on this project. “Dirty Wine” was unnecessary and didn’t feel authentic. Trey Songz had no business being on “Gbese” …not because of Trigga but the song is called Gbese. It’s a good song but it could have at least featured an Afrobeats artist.”Nobody” is probably the most experimental track, with the amount of autotune on the chorus, his delivery, and the production. It’s like he really just wanted to sing his heart out on this project. One thing I do appreciate, Wizkid does not shy away from using Yoruba on this project. In fact, it’s all over the mixtape. It was a good method to “bridge the gap”, using western production but still infusing Nigerian elements. 

A lot of fans were evidently upset about the lack of African artists featured on the project especially when he has his own label with artists and producers such as Maleek Berry, Efya, R2Bees, and Mr Eazi. Instead, the project features Drake, Major Lazer, Chris Brown, Ty Dolla $ign and Trey Songz. Nigerian producers such as Sarz, Del B, and Spellz were present however, alongside Dre Skull, DJ Mustard, and Major Lazer, to produce the beats for this project. Efya and Bucie are the only African features, on “Daddy Yo” and “Sexy”, respectfully, albeit providing background vocals.

This actually isn’t a bad project.

If you are complaining that #SFTOS is not good and the new sound is becoming too Americanized, realize Wizkid knows he will never let the “African sound” go but he also knows he has to grow and evolve. You might not accept this on the first listen but after you hear it in your room, car, or at a party, you might just accept this for what it is, not “Wizkid” music, but music.

Wizkid will continue to reinvent his sound, he met Damian Marley for the first time, one of his dream collaborations, so he might continue this path of evolving his sound.

More work is coming soon, as he says “I have two albums ready to go already”, so hey he might just bring back those Pakurumo vibes back.

Rating: 3.5 Stars for the Starboy

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I use words to paint pictures.

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