Ayotunde Olumilua revisits “Made in Lagos” album
When Wizkid dropped his fourth major project “Made in Lagos” in 2020, the world was surprised by the obvious shift in style. The all too familiar up-tempo ground-shakers that have always been a mainstay in afrobeats were nowhere to be found.
Instead, what we got was a collection of smooth, stripped-down, soul-massaging, champagne-drinking, baby-making music.
Opinions were divided on how the dance-driven Nigerian music industry would react to one of the country’s biggest stars choosing to follow a less trodden path in the mainstream.
Months after its release, it has become obvious that Wizkid made a great decision to step out of the mould and try something audacious. The 14-track album is star-studded, no doubt, featuring appearances from Burna Boy, Terry, Tems, Ella Mai, H.E.R, Skepta, Damian Marley and many more artistes.
The album has a mellow vibe that cuts through all 14 songs with a mature blend of different genres.
But the songs that seems to stand out among the string of sweet melodies that the album produced (which includes the Burna Boy-assisted Ginger; a song that is arguably the most dance inclined song on the album) is the soul-soothing “Essence”. The song, which is an easy going fusion of R&B and afrobeats, features the sensational vocalist Tems whose fame is constantly on the rise.
Tems delivers the first verse with her sultry voice. Her unique nasal singing technique is unmistakable over the levitating instrumentation. She sings with passion and longing for her lover:
“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”
For those unfamiliar with the irrepressible talent that is Tems, she was born Temilade Openiyi. She is a Nigerian alt-R&B singer, songwriter and record producer. She has been featured by prominent local and international artistes like Davido and Khalid.
In recent times, “Essence” has enjoyed a surprising resurgence that has seen its streaming numbers shoot up worldwide. Global superstars such as model Kylie Jenner and hip-hop legend Snoop Dogg have posted videos of themselves vibing to the song on Instagram.
The recent arrival of the music video for “Essence” has also been an important factor in the increasing popularity of the track. The visuals, which were shot in Ghana, are a collection of wholesome and colourful frames.
As 2021 rolls on, Wizkid is sure to be cooking up more for his fans. But for now, they can bask in the beauty of “Essence” and its entrancing rhythm.