Mr Eazi is to 2016 what Wizkid was to 2011/2012. The Nigerian star who has emerged as the only true breakout act of 2016 did it by bringing a new wave.
What has made Mr Eazi so appealing to Nigeria? His sound. Mr Eazi’s partnership with Julz is currently one that is working. Grabbing inspiration from 80s and 90s Ghanaian Highlife melodies, Julz creates a modern fusion of these sounds, and hands it to Eazi, who lays his pop verses over it. Thematic direction of the songs are all romance and love-based.
Just like the 70s and the 60’s when Ghanaian Highlife was appropriated by our Nigerian fathers, the sounds from Ghana have been mixed with a Naija delivery, and it has caught on. Mr Eazi’s reliance on a certain system of delivery and production has also been the driving force of his nascent career. There’s a uniqueness to his madness that has seen him produce his songs such as ‘Skintight’, ‘Hollup’, ‘Anointing’, and ‘Dance for me’.
But the industry is a ruthless place. The Nigerian music space is uber-competitive, with diverse sounds emanating from the country. The competitive environment breeds greatness, but its bye-product creates a culture of riffing, imitation, and copy-cats. That’s why a number of people complain about the music being the same, the themes being similar, and most of the stuff sounding that everybody draws its inspiration from the same source.
Artistes and fans are usually on the search for the next new thing. That new sound that would be so different and fresh that it creates a wave and rewards the pioneer tremendously. In 2016, Mr Eazi was that new sound. What he does with his music is novel and scintillating, and most importantly, it is hard to imitate.
“It’s your boy Eaaaaazzziiiii…” He croons, before adding the very ubiquitous phrase “Zaga dat.”
From vocal texture, to cadence and lyricism, Eazi is a tough act to imitate, hence many artistes who enviously have desired to rework his melodic magic have failed, and for those who tried just enough, all they have been able to create from their effort has been a poor replica. Being unable to strip Eazi’s style and reconstruct his elements, many have resorted to featuring him on their songs.
Mr Eazi has appeared on more collaborations than any other buzzing artistes from 2016 till now. He has made songs with Eugy, illBliss, Reminisce, Solidstar, Del’B, Rayce, Shatta Wale, DJ Neptune, DJ Spinall, Terry G, Lil Kesh, Phyno, Jeed Rogers, Ko-Jo Cue, Sarkodie, PhizBarz, Sheunakamura and many others recorded. And that’s just the ones that have been released in Nigeria alone.
He is also recording with Rudimental, Anne-Marie, Giggs, Riton, and others, that are yet to be released. There’s still ‘Skin tight’ remix with Wizkid and many more.
Getting Mr Eazi to record for you might be relatively easy. He is an aspiring artiste looking to get all the traction that his career needs. Collaborating with numerous artistes is another way to get the music out, and gain more fans in the process.
But there’s a limit to it, and Mr Eazi might just have crossed that limit. He works so hard recording his personal stuff and collaborating that it feels like he has more collaborations than personal music. But recording takes a lot out of you, and for an artiste like Mr Eazi who is heavily involved in the tech space, collaborating might just prove detrimental to his career.
There’s still a debut album projected for a 2017 release, and he needs his energy and creativity to deliver his best work on the project. Also, you get the feeling that we just might have had too much Mr Eazi music on our playlists.
Right now, there’s a saturation of his content in the market, and as we know too much of everything isn’t healthy. The natural laws of diminishing marginal utility might kick in, and fans will become jaded. When that occurs, collaboration for all its benefits to his career, might just become a killer to his dreams and chances of success.
There might be a counter argument that to stay relevant as an artiste, you need to have content out. Yes, that’s true, but for it to be effective and reward you abundantly, that content has to be yours, not given for free to another artiste. He needs more personal stuffs, not countless collaborations.
What Mr Eazi truly needs is more regulation in dropping content. Sometimes, less is more and strategy is all it takes to maintain a winning run, and keep the creator fresh and effective.
Mr Eazi’s rise in 2016 is phenomenal. He is climbing to greater heights of influence and rewards. But he is just starting, and to reach the peak, he needs his best material in the tank, to be supplied strategically to his fans. Giving it all would halt his momentum.
I wish Eazi and his team the best this year.. as he continues to soar. Zaga Dat!!!