Mr Eazi Sidesteps Mediocrity with ‘The Evil Genius’
Afrobeats star, Mr Eazi, has arrived with his debut LP, ‘The Evil Genius’
●2nd November 2023
In 2013, Mr Eazi dropped his debut mixtape, About to Blow. He didn’t exactly ‘blow’ until nearly three years later when he fully reentered the music scene with a stronger drive for his agenda.
Armed with a string of delectable, chart-topping hits — “Leg Over,” “Pour Me Water,” packed in his mixtapes (Life is Eazi Vol 1 & 2) — he returned from Accra to Lagos and had the summer on lock. With a signature style that blended Ghana Highlife and Afropop, he created his own unique sound — Banku music — that delivered irresistible rhythms simply impossible not to love. Though without a traditional LP, there was a consistent stream of good music.
Fast forward to 2023, and Mr Eazi has finally released his long-awaited debut album, The Evil Genius. The artist had a multicultural upbringing, which significantly influenced his music bone. He spent time in Nigeria, Ghana, and the United Kingdom, absorbing different musical influences. For The Evil Genius, Mr Eazi traveled around the world, assumed the role of both curator and ambassador — a theme that runs through his career — desperate to avoid the plague of mediocrity.
Hence, The Evil Genius took shape in various locales across the world: Benin, Rwanda, Ghana, Nigeria, London and New York. Mr Eazi also traverses a range of mental attitudes. He gets personal and vulnerable, demonstrates a little arrogance, but still manages to find a balance across the 16 tracks assisted by artists like Angelique Kidjo, Tekno, Efya, and more. It’s those extremes I’m trying to capture,” Mr Eazi says. “I go from cocky to thankful. There is a lot of reflection on the record. There is also some brag therapy. I want everybody to hear it, but I am talking to myself.”
Mr Eazi rallies against fake friends: I don’t need advice / Talk wey dem talk, I no pay attention…/ First they love you, then they stab you” in the heavy, grime-inspired tunes of “Advice.” He enlists the icon, Angélique Kidjo, for the spiritual “Òròkórò,” both artists harmonizing their feelings of gratitude in a melodious duet.
Ghana, Mr Eazi’s creative stomping ground, definitely gets its own spotlight in this album — themes to sound influences. From the palmwine guitar strums in “Fefe Ne Fefe” which explores the concept of beauty and self-expression through an Akan proverb to “Chop Time, No Friend,” and “Notorious,” a fresh revival of the Mr Eazi that paraded the Banku sound in its most original form is offered. R2Bees member, Killbeatz co-produced “Chop Time, No Friend,” alongside Nigeria’s Andre Vibez, the beatmaker renowned for his work on Rema and Selena Gomez’s hit single “Calm Down.”
On “Panadol,” Eazi is charming, what with all that game. “My mouth e sweet but e no mean sey I be liar o / That is to say I getti lamba o.” His lines flow from a saccharine verse to explicit vows of sexual pleasure. “For the other room I getti power o / To set that waist on fire o.”
“We Dey” bops in with a mellow cruise before Mr Eazi’s lyrics become a reality check, reminding you of the socio-political cesspool that Nigeria is drowning in, “Two thousand and twenty vision.. / Free all my people wey dem don lock up,” he demands. “Exit” closes off the album on a high note, with contributions from the Soweto Gospel Choir and a promise from Mr Eazi to begin to “find trouble.”
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