Wizkid solidified himself as Afrobeats’ biggest superstar in 2020 with his smash hit ‘Essence’. The Tems-featuring track (which was later remixed with additional vocals from Justin Bieber) was one of a number of highlights on the Nigerian artist’s smooth and suave fourth studio album ‘Made In Lagos’, his most successful solo effort yet. He went on to headline three nights at the 20,000-capacity The O2 in London – which sold out in just under 15 minutes – last year off the back of that record.
‘Made In Lagos’’s sonic departure from the energetic sound of his first two albums (2011’s ‘Superstar’ and 2014’s ‘Ayo’) continues with the appropriately-titled ‘More Love, Less Ego’. “Everyone fights with their ego and that’s where I’m at,” Wizkid told The Guardian recently about the title and his current mindset. “I’m still trying to shed my ego, like everyone else.”
The 13-track record sees the 32-year-old continue to exhibit his melodic genre-blending prowess. Tracks like ‘Money & Love’ and ‘Flower Pads’ see elements of funky jazz and R&B being embedded into Wizkid’s brand of Afropop, while recognisable tropes from the South Africa-born, house music-indebted Amapiano movement can also be found across the record: take recent single ‘Bad To Me’, which utilises Amapiano-style soft-rolling 808 beats and chant-like vocals. It’s refreshing to see a trailblazer like Wizkid adapt his sound to pay homage to the current pop sounds of the African continent.
Given Wizkid’s elevated status, it’s no surprise to find that ‘More Love, Less Ego’ is stacked with guests. Names on the guestlist include his frequent collaborator Skepta (‘Wow’) and Afropop’s rising star Ayra Starr (‘2 Sugar’), while he also surprisingly teams up with Cactus Jack signee Don Toliver on the minimalistic ‘Special’, where the two confess their love for their respective partners around giddy guitar notes.
‘Slip N Slide’, meanwhile, features two of Jamaica’s hottest pop stars, Skillibeng and Shenseea. It’s a very welcome collaboration, with the three artists linking up together seamlessly and Shenseea’s vibrato sounding particularly perfect on this groovy Afrobashment track: “Wet, wet, wet, slip it and slide / Set, set, set, grip it up tight”.
After over a decade of being one of Afrobeats’ go-to hitmakers, Wizkid is continuing to expand his sound with great success. Mature-sounding yet still as enthralling as his old favourites – which is no mean feat – ‘More Love Less Ego’ is a masterful collection that sees Wizkid beginning to truly perfect his universal pop sound.
- Release date: November 11, 2022
- Record label: Starboy/Sony International/Columbia Records UK