The most talked-about aspect of Wizkid’s career is his legacy. He gained popularity in the early 2010s thanks to his appealing vocals, mysterious demeanor, and eye-catching attire. Charting his development entails charting the development of modern afrobeats as seen through the lens of one of its most influential and gifted artists.
In October 2020, the 32-year-old published Made In Lagos. The following year saw the growth of its laid-back, tropical style, with “True Love” and “Essence” illustrating other facets of its appeal. While the Temscollaboration strengthened Africa’s ties to its Caribbean and American musical inspirations, the former’s folk roots captured Wizkid’s current skill set’s sensitive alternative leanings. The album is without a doubt one of the most significant afrobeats works of the twenty-first century, yet.
Before More Love, Less Ego, Wizkid’s team made conscious efforts. Pre-album singles didn’t seem to be adequately promoted, although “Bad To Me” and “Money & Love” did a good job of capturing the spirit of the album. Instead, the star’s magnetism was caught in the high-end performances he gave, the Casamigos bottles he gave to famous people, and the enigmatic social media messages.
These details also have an impact on the album. The listener gets a glimpse of the idea early on in the song’s saxophone-lined carousel of vibrant beats. On the new album, which builds on the rosy-eyed romantic themes of Made In Lagos, Wizkid elevates his expression to wholesome and nearly dizzying heights. While constantly moving outside of his comfort zone, he is more demanding of his vocals in this song. The song “Money & Love” sets the project’s leisurely pace while downplaying the later use of Wizkid’s sultry, sensual energy. However, you can hear the Caribbean accents in his voice, which perfectly polish his meaning by mentioning Jamaican music legend Buju Banton.
Since he first became popular as a teenager, Wizkid has looked into the idea of desire. Over the years, he has changed his viewpoint, moving from the implicit truthfulness of “In My Bed” to the seductive youth of “Don’t Dull.” However, Wizkid has openly embraced the wholesomeness of sensual expressiveness since 2017, undoubtedly impacted by his steadily increasing fame. For the first time in his present stage of worldwide popularity, More Love, Less Ego draws intensely toward the sensual attraction of Wizkid.
The opening note of that sequence is struck by “Bad To Me,” which incorporates the upbeat audience voices and Amapiano’s strongly percussionist beats. The song maintains its position as one of the more melancholy songs on MLLE by matching his delivery to that energy. It captures the spirit of the album and is sonically appealing and vocally dynamic. Wizkid dives deeper into the seductive, hypnotic universe he has created with “Deep.” He uses the chorus to express his desire for touch amid visuals that supports his pop star status.
Other songs don’t always accurately or confidently convey Wizkid’s vengeful meaning. The songwriting on “Flower Pads,” which is particularly confusing and uninteresting and only barely satisfies the listener’s instinctive need for a bop, does not take it above the level of filler. Similar problems almost prevent the P Priime-produced “Pressure” from moving forward, but Wizkid returns to the assurance of a well-written and flawlessly delivered hook after completing its uninspiring verses. He sings, “If I wan dey love, I wan dey love you my baby,” repeating the album’s straightforward aim.
“Balance” is undoubtedly the album’s most assuredly expressive song in this subgenre. A distinctive lightness from Wizkid’s prose is teased by Kel P’s buttery percussion as he paints vivid pictures with specific names of objects and locations. Without a doubt, the cheeky line “And I no fit pass you like my Mary Jane” serves a purpose, but the line “If the right things dey, I go dey” on the hook serves an even greater one. It’s the kind of caption-perfect line that musicians spend many sleepless nights searching for, but in the context of the album, it upholds the idea of Wizkid as approachable in particular contexts.
Collaborations are linked to the idea of possessing the proper items. Ayra Starr, a rising star in music, brings a bubbly, feminine personality to “2 Sugar.” The direction of Starr examines the significance of one’s mental health as they go about forging a life as an audible follow-up to Tems’ career-defining performance on “Essence.” Wizkid typically gives up the spotlight for his features, and MLLE keeps up that tradition. The Jamaican artists Skillibeng and Shenseea uphold the tradition of their genre for audacious storytelling flecked with endearing vulnerability in “Slip N Slide.” Wizkid plays a minor conductor role while the former’s stern vocals pair brilliantly with the latter’s cool sensation.
The song “Wow,” which featured Skepta and Naira Marley in an unique pairing, attracted the most attention prior to the album’s release. The visceral, mid-tempo production somehow makes the collaboration work, inspiring the musicians to play with enthusiasm. Marley serves as the album’s glue, using his risqué vocabulary and impressionable vocals in its most catchy moments. Skepta’s verse, which is succinct but evocative, sits perfectly next to Wiz’s, capitalizing on the sexy boss image that he has come to represent over the years.
The album’s final three songs, “Special,” are a standout trio that are interspersed with “Special.” Wizkid substitutes renowned producer Juls for the Don Toliver single, subverting expectations with his signature palmwine-music-influenced production. The pair tells stories of a lover over percussion skills and guitar playing with highlife influences. A similar level of sensitivity is encouraged by Toliver’s heartfelt hook, which is reminiscent of Tay Iwar’s contribution on “True Love” and has a stripped-down production and a folk-rock direction.
The well-known Amapiano soundscape is recreated in “Plenty Loving,” creating the ideal environment for Wizkid. With his vocals given free rein, Wizkid produces some of the album’s most catchy melodies. The upbeat tempo is polished with roomy keys and whistling vocal samples. The Wizkid on MLLE has mastered the flourishes he established on MIL, weaning his low-key charisma into a skillful turn of phrase like “I go let your body know, baby let nobody know.” This mastery is on full display in “Frames (Who’s Gonna Know)”: Flowing solo over relaxed drums, the veteran musician uses his vocals to create the most sensitive record in a project otherwise drenched in graphic imagery.
A nice finishing touch, “Frames” significantly differs from More Love, Less Ego and its predecessor in terms of execution. Wizkid makes overt use of the Made In Lagos structures in other places. Some recordings have the impression of having been made within the same session, with just slight vision changes. Even with its virtues, it is clear that “Everyday” plays the part of “Blessed” in this endeavor. The social class disparity is taken into account in Wizkid’s advice to enjoy life despite obstacles, but the delivery itself lacks the fervor that made the latter a tenet of MIL.
All but two of the tape’s tracks are produced by P2J, with Sammy Soso and KDaGreat contributing to around three of those. He provides the soundtrack to memorable moments on “Bad To Me” and “Deep” by creating intricate layers within their details. He is known for his distinctive percussion. Wizkid is grounded in the ebbs of modern African pop music since he frequently uses the vivid colors of South African house and amapiano. In contrast to Sounds From The Other Side, when Wizkid initially explored the world of worldwide sounds, the artist ultimately collaborates with sounds from this side while leveraging features to give the project a diasporic edge.
Wizkid would always face the same level of scrutiny as MLLE given his status as a superstar whose importance goes beyond music. With thirteen tracks, it is by no means a terrible project; in fact, save from a few songs that go off the well-beaten route, it is rather good. Wizkid is not the first artist to release a record about the dizzying heights of love, but he doesn’t delve into the balance that the album’s name suggests. His previous album has left a rather compact form, whereas MLLE would have benefited greatly from a little more freedom. Fortunately, Wizkid continues to release albums. To follow his journey from this point on would be a worthwhile experience.