NIGERIA’S AFROBEATS SUPERSTAR WIZKID SOUL SEARCHES ON NEW ALBUM ‘MORE LOVE, LESS EGO’

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The Afrobeats wunderkind delivers a mature, polished offering on his fifth studio album.

If you don’t know Wizkid, you don’t know music. The most streamed Nigerian artist of all time has consistently broken records since his debut project ‘Superstar’ over a decade ago, helping popularise Afrobeats, Afropop and Amapiano sounds across the globe. In the years since the 2016 mega-anthem, ‘One Dance’ with Drake catapulted him into the mainstream, the now 32-year-old has added a Grammy Award (via a Beyonce collaboration from ‘The Lion King’ movie soundtrack), a Calvin Harris collab single (which went number one globally), and a worldwide number one Billboard album (2020’s ‘Made In Lagos’) to his stellar resume.

All of this would be a reason to have become aloof, basking in success and becoming complacent. As do many artists. Not the Starboy. Instead, on his aptly titled new album, ‘More Love, Less Ego’, he abandons materialism and narcissism in pursuit of affection, intimacy, and connection.

While the ‘Made In Lagos’ rollout was a grand affair with pre-release listening events in all corners of the world, MLME arrived almost discretely by comparison. Reflective of the more subtle, personal nature of the record. The Amapiano-infused lead single ‘Bad To Me’ which dropped in September was the ideal introduction both sonically and narratively; its gentle melodies and infectious call-and-response hook ensured it has quickly become a dancefloor staple while simultaneously delivering the album’s message of a desire for deeper love.

“Love liberates. It doesn’t just hold; that’s ego.”

Everyday

At just over 40 minutes long, the project avoids the bloated deluxe trend and instead provides a warm storytelling laced with delicious drum sounds, sultry refrains, and a running commentary on the central theme of love. Owing to his now ubiquitous presence, Wizkid brings with him no shortage of superstar features from various pockets with UK rap king Skepta, Houston’s chart-topping Don Toliver, fellow Nigerian Afropop sensation Ayra Starr, and Jamaican hot property Skillibeng and Shenseea all laying their unique flavor on the record.

“Everyone fights with their ego, and that’s where I’m at” stated the extremely self-aware talent in a recent interview with The Guardian. One could forgive him for allowing at least a little moment of pride, not least when Kanye West recently posted to his Instagram (before the ban) that Starboy’s monolithic 2020 record ‘Essence’ featuring Tems is ‘the greatest song in the history of music to date’.

Having sold out stadiums across the world, including three successive nights at London’s 20,000 capacity 02 Arena (in just fifteen minutes!), been named Apple Music’s ‘African Artist Of The Year’ in 2021, and become the most awarded African artist in BET Awards history, it’s safe to say that superstardom isn’t the future for Wizkid, it’s the present.

But what of the next chapter? For Wizkid it’s about continuing the path of legacy and impact in pursuit of love and family. A father of four, and an outspoken political advocate, Wizkid has transformed the musical landscape in Africa like maybe none before him, yet still, all he longs for are fewer accolades and greater tenderness. ‘More Love, Less Ego’ is out now on all streaming services.

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