‘The Evil Genius’ offers different insights into his status and state of mind.
Before going on to become an accomplished entrepreneur, Mr. Eazi disrupted the Nigerian music scene with his importation and popularization of the Ghana Bounce style of Mid-tempo music driven by melody instead of the percussions and party-starting kicks that defined the Nigerian mainstream Pop scene.
The Ghana Bounce would define the soundscape circa 2016 – 2017 with stars like Runtown and Tekno deploying hit to delivery mega hits. It’s this notable contribution that has led many to credit Mr. Eazi as the artist who slowed down the tempo of Afrobeats.
It’s this mid-tempo Ghana Bounce that has informed Mr. Eazi’s approach to music and while he spent the last year exploring Amapiano with his ‘Chop Life Crew’, he switched back to familiar territory in his fourth album ‘The Evil Genius’.
The album title is a bold declaration of his ingenuity, especially in business where he has gained respect and admiration as a seasoned entrepreneur. However, the album leans towards a familiarity territory and doesn’t embark on any bold sonic experimentation nor offer the best of quintessential version of the creator.
While Mr. Eazi prides himself on the eccentricity and ingenuity that informs his genius, ‘The Evil Genius’ is an album driven by an exploration of familiar territories.
Across the 16 tracks and 41-minute play time, Mr. Eazi maintains a mid-tempo approach as he replicates similar melodies across Garage, Highlife, Pop leaning Afrobeats, and quintessential Ghana Bounce.
The album offers different insights into his status and state of mind.
A successful businessman, Eazi doesn’t hesitate to flaunt his success. A family man, he takes time to adulate his woman while committing to holding his family and community together. He displays his faith and shares his belief in a higher power. And amidst all these, he also addresses fake friends and detractors in a display of paranoia and cynicism that didn’t spare family.
Like the quintessential music artist turned Business mogul, Mr. Eazi isn’t the type to be humble about his success. There’s a lot of ego in play in the way he chooses to narrate his feats. He’s not okay with people knowing that he’s rich. He’s the type of man who wants the public to know just how rich. The type to correct a random social media user who placed his network at 5 million dollars. In the opening record, he expresses his love for his family while turning to a higher power for strength.
In the Garage record ‘Advice’ he throws shades at the fake love while going on a chest-thumping run in the second verse where he talks about his wealth, originality, and ruthlessness. His self-assertion even led him to describe himself as a martyr like Ken Saro Wiwa the Niger Delta environmental activist killed by Sani Abacha.
While Mr. Eazi doesn’t shy away from tooting his horn, he also maintains moments of introspection and this offers the most memorable moment in the album in the form of the curtain dropper ‘EXIT’. He declares that he’s human in response to the anger directed at him from friends and associates who feel slighted by his actions.
In the Folk and Afrobeats hybrid ‘Orokoro’ he asserts his belief in God and maintains the emptiness of material things as he interpolates melodies from Angelique Kidjo‘s classic ‘Wombo Lombo’ while the multi-Grammy winning legend again, lends her talent just as she has done for several African Popstars.
The mid-tempo approach to the album offered sonic coherence and direction but it failed to reach a high point until the very last track and this made for an unretentive listening experience. While the Ghana Bounce and the melodies in ‘Panadol’ are nostalgic of his 2016 run with compelling records like ‘Holl Up’, the song is surrounded by other mid tempo songs that are sonically repetitive.
Between track 4 – 10, the melodies and delivery are repetitive and makes for a flat and monotonous listening experience. While there are different genre explorations like the Reggae record ‘Good Loving’ and Highlife fusions ‘Lack of Communication’ and ‘Fefe Ne Fe’, Mr. Eazi retained a similar flow pattern that doesn’t distinguish one record from the other. This sonic monotony and album sequencing even affects the gratification of ‘Legalize’ which is one of the better songs on the album.
WhoisAkin injected some diversity and excitement into the album on the Swing record ‘Show Dem’ while Joeboy‘s vocals brought some reprieve on ‘Zuzulakate’.
All through the album. Mr. Eazi barely steps out of his comfort zone as he maintains the same approach he has been deploying for the better part of a decade. Little wonder ‘Exit’ where he recruits the celestial vocals of the Soweto Gospel Choir and ventured out of his comfort zone is by far the most memorable song on the album.
His success in business and his unique approach to music have earned Mr. Eazi the right to call himself a genius. However, it’s time for him to tap into that genius and evolve his sound to offer something refreshing.
• 0-1.9: Flop
• 2.0-3.9: Near fall
• 4.0-5.9: Average
• 6.0-7.9: Victory
• 8.0-10: Champion
Pulse Rating: /10
Album Sequencing: 1.3/2
Songwriting, Themes, and Delivery: 1.3/2
Enjoyability and Satisfaction: 1.4/2
TOTAL – 6.9 – Victory