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Not long after Wizkid released his mixtape; Sounds from the Other Side, someone tweeted: Before you murmur, before you complain, before you say you’re not feeling the songs, remember it’s Wizkid, it grows on you with time. #SFTOS

That is indicative of the fact that a subset of his original fan-base is not feeling his new sound; that which he might have adapted, to possibly appeal to his newly acquired non-African base. He has conquered the continent and, perhaps, in a bid to totally conquer the world, he’s switching sides. He is deviating from the sound that gave him the push beyond borders, to a Carribean-esque sound.

But should he be faulted for the deviation, as it can be attributed to his growth as an artiste or is it that the pure Afropop/Afrobeat sound wouldn’t propel him as well, hence the detour?

SFTOS also imbibes a lot of Fela’s essence and the original Afrobeat sound, the legend pioneered. He draws heavily from Fela’s image, but will his music ever tow the catalog of Fela’s by being socially conscious? Fela was a thorn in the government’s flesh- literally and figuratively- but will the Starboy’s catalog ever prick the conscience of our current crop of leaders who are doing such a bad job?

  • Sweet Love (track 1) is clearly inspired by the original Afrobeat sound Fela championed; the instrumentation, his Fela-esque verse-drops, even lending the icon’s very popular line; shakara oloje ni. It doesn’t sing like a blatant rip off, instead it can be likened to like Afrobeat being a van Wizkid borrowed to deliver his authentic and qualitative goods. If anything, it’s a worthy representation of the now late African legend.


  • For some reason; Wizkid, who lived all of his formative years in Lagos, Nigeria, seems to have picked up some patois after he cracked the international market and that’s what obtains on Come Closer (track 2), which features Drake. However, after the novelty of Drake’s feature wears out, it becomes mildly underwhelming, only receiving a prop up from the production. Perhaps, this newly acquired ‘product (read: sound)’ isn’t his best bet?


  • Naughty Ride (track 3) is feel good music. It’s mostly Caribbean with a little assist from Afro-pop. A professional mix-match, nonetheless.


  • On African Bad Gyal (track 4); Chris Brown tries to up his African-ism, singing in an African inflection. At the end of play, however acceptable the song is, it falls short of what is expected from 2 of the most successful artistes of this era.


  • Efya really is the back-bone of Daddy Yo (track 5). The success of the song is hinged on her addition and without, it’s just another Wizkid record, bearing the repeated theme of a female lover/friend and a hot enough beat to work up the dance floor. End.


  • One For Me (track 6), which features TY Dolla $ign, didn’t need to make the cut- does not offer anything different that isn’t obtainable on the other songs and is also burdened by a feature that kind of drags- if it had to be included, the feature could have been scrapped.

  • Picture Perfect (track 7) has the ability to grow on you as it might not ‘bang’ on first listen, as subsequent listens is what registers the gem-points; his subdued and gritty delivery and brief moments of production brilliance, such as the 2 second stint from the 00:58 to 1:00 mark.


  • What the auto-tune (read: fvck) is going on, on Nobody (track 8)? It started so well but the distorted delivery starting at the 1:16 mark almost rendered the entire song useless- (Producer, FIRED; A&R, WTH?). Thankfully, the nightmare ends at the 2:45 mark as Wizkid continues with the enjoyable verse that flows but sadly, auto-tune strikes again.


  • Wizkid is back ‘home’ on Sexy (track 9). He’s exploring the Afro-pop vibe that characterized his sound before he penetrated the overseas but this time, there’s a healthy contribution from Fela’s Afrobeat such as the call and answer feature and the soliloquy type rendition Fela was very popular for. Although Wizzy’s is not as heavy. It’s a definite bop.


  • All For Love (track 10) features South African act, Bucie, and is based on the South African house genre. Save for Bucie’s vocal-drop, this doesn’t do much for the mixtape.


  • Dirty Whine (track 11) is Patois-influenced and is full on for the international market but it might bang here, since a select number of Africans have come to appreciate the foreign sound


  • Trey Songz is unexpectedly boring on Gbese (track 12), which is nothing we haven’t heard before, on this mixtape or from some other upcoming act in Nigeria.


We were hoping that this would be Wiz’ best body of work so far, but sadly it isn’t. There is more to our internationally-stamped star-boy and we expect he has some surprises up his sleeves, for a later date.

He has released much better songs prior to this and, perhaps, he needs to spend a little more time at home for inspiration. But if the African moola is no longer what his sights are set on, that’s very acceptable.

Ade Tayo