Essentials: YKB Shines Through On New EP, “Yusful Music”
For his second project, YKB reintroduces himself to the public and the People of Bounce who came together for a listening session of his new EP, “Yusful Music”.
Clarence Mac Ebong
●5th May 2023
Nigeria’s creative space is teeming with life, so the next superstar is always around the corner. It’s the same way I felt when I met YKB in 2020, whom I met because a friend of mine got us access to use his studio for a shoot. YKB had started recording music then, but that was just his creativity taking new forms having been a graphic designer and photographer before that. It didn’t come as a surprise when I noticed “San Siro” gaining traction in 2022. Within me, I knew he was made for the moment; he had primed himself for it for so long. In an industry where the big figures seem to overshadow their smaller colleagues, YKB’s light has begun to shine; a flame being fanned by his strategic positioning and a growing fanbase’s love for his talent.
Like another object formed from his ribs, YKB sees his music as an extension of himself; as his child, if you will. “The process [of making the project] was stressful because I didn’t enter to make a project. I just made songs on songs. Then I decided to make something whole out of it; songs that represent me and my personality.”
He liters pieces of his story — his origins and the present — in his lyrics, and his imagery creates vivid mental pictures that could deceive you to think you know him better than you do. That’s the point of his latest EP, Yusful Music; it introduces his world and capabilities. He gives a peek into parts of his life and simultaneously comforts the listener who has felt similar emotions. YKB makes music that feels like home, and this hospitality is reminiscent of what my friend and I received back in 2020.
YKB is down to earth but the biggest tell wasn’t the brown ensemble he was wearing when he walked into Bounce HQ for a listening session of the project on a Friday evening in April. He opens up on “Pressure” about the demands of being a son in a Nigerian household, as your family’s respect for you is (in)directly tied to your level of financial contribution in the house. “’Pressure’ is born out of family drama. I think everyone knows a thing or two about that,” he tells me while sitting relaxed in the chair beside me. “I recorded this song the morning after that phone call I had with my sister”. Fortunately, he has begun to see the fruit of his labor in a cutthroat industry that does not give any handouts.
Nothing is given for free but YKB is generous with his emotions throughout Yusful Music. Even during the interview, there was a glint in his eye as he spoke about his craft. Also a lover-boy at heart, one of his biggest strengths as a songwriter is his ability to make you feel by using simple words to depict huge feelings. He does this to good effect on “San Siro” and “Bo Card”. “I knew that I will participate in any competition/if the prize was you”, he sings on the former. On “Bo Card”, he goes “got you on my to-do/tell me what I’m to do/think I’m under juju, abi na voodoo/omo dudu, do what you do”.
YKB’s ability to maximize the effect of simple words is a pointer to his resourcefulness as an artist. “Komplete Riddim” is as infectious as they come but the colorful patterns that YKB weaves through Steph’s production are not the track’s most fun fact. “I called it ‘Komplete Riddim’ because the soundcard we used that day was made by a brand named Komplete,” he tells me. Being the all-round creative that he is, he draws inspiration from the simplest things in his environment. By the time we played “Traffic”, the EP’s final song, the entire room was immersed in YKB’s music and vibe as everyone nodded their heads to the subtle bounces that carried us through the project. At the end of the listening session, YKB was greeted with resounding applause. He interacted with fans and the People of Bounce who had a few questions to ask him off the record before eventually leaving with his team to meet his other engagements.