MADE IN LAGOS: In REVIEW
Nawa o! Wizzy! Eleniyan!! Baba nla!! Oga we have been waiting o…but as they say, “Good things come to those who wait”, and good news for us, the wait is no more. Made in Lagos – Wizkid’s first album release since his 2017’s Sounds From The Other Side is now two weeks old and most of us still have it on repeat. Before we get into the review, let’s set the stage. For the past couple of years, we’ve seen our very own Starboy gain an even larger international platform with the Beyoncé collaboration, his famed Worldwide #StarboyFest (which was very successful), numerous business deals, fashion collaborations, and still found time to get cozy with both Naomi Campbell and Tiwa Savage. We hail you! With all of this growth, It’s not shocking to presume Wiz has matured a bit. This is an older Wizkid we’re listening to. This is Wizkid at 30. Omo Jaiye Jaiye has long been forgotten and a new era of sultry womanizer has been birthed. This album provides the soundtrack to your quarantine Netflix and chill sessions. A perfect backdrop for a date night with your significant other over some wine and…you get the point. #MIL boasts features from Burna Boy, Skepta, Ella Mai, Tems, Terri, with production from P2J, Legendury Beatz, Juls, and more. For a lot of us, this album was highly anticipated so let’s see what Wiz has to say as we run through some of the standout tracks.
“Reckless” – Setting the tone of the album! Almost immediately, Wizkid provides you the keys to his new Kingdom. This song isn’t particularly strong lyrically but it’s not unusual for an artist to lament over their life since the last album, or since the beginning of their journey. From the light guitar to the saxophone, to the piano, and acoustic drums, the production feels very high-class, letting you know this album is going to be different. Despite Wizkid’s features on popular hip-hop/rap/grime artists’ songs, his start on this album is a declaration that his own music is simply a different cloth.
I got a reason I got so much to give, Showered in blessings, now my cup’s runnin’ over
I no dey give a man, more than what he deserve ‘Cause they still dey bite the hand wey dey feed them– WizkiD
“Ginger” (feat. Burna Boy) – This song is an obvious fan favorite just from the feature alone. It’s been a long time since we heard Burna Boy and Wizkid on a song together. By the 10 second mark, you know you’re about to enter some serious vibes. Produced by P2J, the beat is highly appreciated as his traditional touch blends perfectly with both of their vocals. Once again this song isn’t amazing lyrically but Wizkid was definitely in his pocket with this flow. The real gem in this song is within the last 30 seconds where the production changes slightly and Burna did what he had to do! Pure bliss.
“Mighty Wine” – By now, on the fourth track of the album, you can tell what kind of time Wiz is on, especially by looking at the title of this song. This isn’t all that different from “Fever” or even “Joro” (These two would have fit perfectly on this album). You’ll hear the saxophone echo Wizkid’s flow here and there which sonically, is to be praised. These songs so far would sound exceptionally well performed by a well-tailored live band. However, yes the sound is undeniably unique, but again the lyrics leave a lot to be desired. After sitting with this album for over a week, this song occasionally gets a skip. Sorry.
“Blessed” (feat. Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley) – It’s a great synergy when Jamaica and Nigeria come together for music collaborations. At the beginning of the track, you’ll hear “Cold mineral, cold pure water!” That’s the kind of phrases you’ll hear from hawkers in Nigeria, for album purposes…Lagos. It’s a slight tip of the hat to the album title. But to be honest, so far this sound album is arguably not very “Lagos-ish” besides the Yoruba slang. Perhaps “Made In Lagos” is referring to making babies to this album? Anyhow, we finally get some strength in lyrics here. Marley and Wizkid both acknowledge their own positivity, attributing it to their blessings. The song is VERY wavy. There’s that saxophone again…
Self preservation, self elevation, These kind of things they deserve celebration, No hesitation, no reservation, Go for the big leagues, no relegation, Let’s celebrate life
– Damian Marley
“No Stress” – This is the first “explicit” song on the album and I think that’s by design. Sure enough, the song will get played in the
club living room, not to turn up, but to get in the mood. To push this song “No Stress” during very stressful times is very smart marketing. Judging from his lyrics, we know what was on Wizkid’s mind when he made this song – “She got her own but she need some love”, “she tell me say na me dey make her cum”, “she tell me say my love make her climax” …yes these are premium Yoruba Demon lyrics and I’m here for it. This song was initially met with mixed reviews when it was first released but as usual, Wizkid has a way of winning you over. Especially after watching the amazing visual.
“True Love” (feat. Tay Iwar & Projexx) – First of all, get familiar with Tay Iwar and Projexx if you aren’t already because not only did they do exceptionally well on this song, their own projects are amazing as well. It’s evident no one wanted to disappoint this Juls beat, which is slightly reminiscent of his underground banger. The “true love” in this song is in the chorus. It reminds me of the captivating hooks Wizkid has made in his earlier albums. This song gives Wiz, Tay Iwar & Projexx each their shine. This is not a song you’ll find yourself skipping anytime soon. A music video for this is needed as well. Guess what instrument you’ll hear to accent the song? That saxophone is sprinkled all over this album…
“Essence” (feat. Tems) – I love the instrumental on the song and the echoed soulful shout to the end of the beat is great. Now not many will agree with me and I love the fact that Tems made it on this album but…she should have redone her first stanza. This is no shade, all love to Tems, she’s one of the best rising artists in Nigeria right now, but this feature sounded unnecessary. Don’t hate me, honesty is a treasure. With that being said, I can’t deny that the end of her hook (you don’t need no other bodyyy) is indeed catchy and lives in my head rent-free! This song is still a jam regardless, with great replay value, though again, it could have done without Tems. It also did not need a saxophone at the end, come on! (I’m hating on saxophones now, I know)
Say I wanna leave you in the mornin’ But I need you now, yeah, yeah. I find you, I give you all you needin’, I know you what you like.
I feel it comin’, Time is of the essence, I tried to teach you, But I’m gon’ need some lessons. I need to give it all, I tried to leave but I can’t
I don’t know why, you’re the one, Turn me out of my mind.– TEMS
“Roma” (feat. Terri) – At this point in the album, because of the similar feel or “vibes” as everyone likes to call it, this song is forgettable. It just feels like you’ve heard it before for the past 7 songs. So far it’s hard to remember the melody of most of the songs honestly. Kudos to Terri though, as he did not disappoint.
Opinion: Made in Lagos is 14 tracks of a more jazzy, poised, and alluring Wizkid. Honestly, some people will not like this album for the same reasons that others will easily enjoy it. This album sounds undeniably different from his earlier work. With Sounds from the Other Side, it felt like a bunch of songs put together for the Western (American) demographic. With this project, it was well packaged with an intentional mission to achieve cohesion and to create “one sound”, which in hindsight may have been detrimental. You can’t please everybody. For anyone hoping this album to be more “Nigerian” with 3 Olamide features because of the title will assuredly be mistaken. However, If you can appreciate this new growth in Wizkid’s career under RCA/Sony you will find your favorite songs and jams on this project. You also won’t hear very much of his braggadocios appeal that we’re used to. This album exudes pure style and classy production. For us in Wizkid FC, we can ask ourselves “Is this Wizkid’s best work?” It’s still too early to tell. Either way, this was a much-needed album and a great AOTY contender.