‘Ojuelegba’ was the ground zero for Wizkid’s entire international campaign so far. Which song on his new project can replicate what it did for him?
Wizkid’s strategy with his music is simple: tap into the full spectrum of hits, pack them into an album and watch them unfold and take over. 2014’s “Ayo (Joy)” album had instant favorites ‘Jaiye Jaiye’ and ‘In my bed’ grabbing initial headlines with their high-energy offerings thrilling fans who saw them as easy favorites.
But that was not the full story. Deep down in those albums were more hit songs which slowly creeped into the playlists of numerous fans. Of all of them, the biggest single from the project – ‘Ojuelegba’ – got the last start. Simple, unassuming, and highly addictive, the record wrapped itself around the world while no one was looking, tweaking our preferences and spreading like an invisible wildfire, until it got to the doorstep of Drake, who jumped on it and made it official.
‘Ojuelegba’ was the ground zero for Wizkid’s entire international campaign so far. It was the first record with an international appeal that opened him up for more success. ‘One Dance’, the awards, the collaborations, and now “Sounds From The Other Side” can trace their origins back to that record, which took its sweet time before unleashing itself on the world.
New mixtape “Sounds From The Other Side” is already displaying similar behaviour. At 40-minutes long, “Sounds from the Other Side” is surprisingly cohesive. Through the mixtape’s 12 tracks, Wizkid weaves in and out of Afrobeat, EDM, R&B, House and dancehall. If the singer’s next album is anything like his mixtape, he may finally have another “Superstar” under his belt.
As the album unfolds, the instant favorites are rushing to the top. Party starter ‘Daddy Yo’ is already a fan favorite, and the stormy ‘African bad gyal’ has its lovers in millions. But there’s a lot more than these bangers. ‘Picture perfect’, ‘Nobody’ and ‘Gbese’ are already on the front foot.
But guess which record holds the key to this project?
It's obviously “Sexy.”
The song produced by Sarz is unassuming. Much like ‘Ojuelegba’, it draws life from Fela Kuti’s material, becoming a younger and modern version of what the African legend created. Nobody might admit it publicly, but Wizkid might have made use of Fela’s Afrobeat old song “Oro di hun, Oro pesi je, Oro di hun!” as sample for this song with back up from Efya, who is officially recognized as a songwriter on the project.
The charms of the song is in its universal Afrobeat Rhythm, powered by its background environment. It engages you on all levels, with a floating flute line, rattles, and drumming. It is smooth and soothing, leading Wizkid on effortlessly just like the ‘Sexy’ woman he reveres across the track.
“Sexy as sugar sugar, Sexy as bread and butter… My African baby,” Wizkid rolls out the vocals, as Ghanaian singer Efya backs him up with “Sexy” background vocals, and a response that is reminiscent of Fela’s backup vocalists. It all makes so much sense musically.
Whether you think Wizkid is in tune with what’s happening in world music right now or if he’s just riding a wave on an ocean of trends, it’s hard to deny that this is a formula that works.