While still retaining the essence of a young man whose reality is forged on the streets of Lagos, Zinoleesky has found success and that means a new reality must be accommodated in his worldview.
Zinoleesky undergoes an overdue sonic 180° on 'Grit and Lust' [Pulse Album Review]
'Grit and Lust' is a key intersection in Zinoleesky's evolution as he explores a sonic 180° and showcases a new direction that would eventually be perfected in subsequent projects.
This new reality includes luxury and the resources with which he pursues his pleasures while maintaining a self-awareness that his money can't buy love or loyalty.
In 'Grit and Lust', the above subject matters are compressed across 8 tracks across which Zinoleesky engages in an overdue sonic 180°.
After establishing himself as one of the exciting crops of talents adding some refinement to street music, Zinoleesky found success through the South African Amapiano sound that imported into Afrobeats in the covid-inspired creative boom of 2020.
When his infectious melody, witty and relatable writing, and leisured flows are combined with the log drummed propelled Nigerian Amapiano variant, Zinoleesky music was able to appeal to listeners across the streets and the streaming demographic. This is a success in which he lingered for what can be considered too long that he risked wearing out listeners with sonic overfamiliarity.
After scoring Amapiano hits for the past 2 years, Zinoleesky refreshes his sound in his sophomore EP 'Grit and lust'. The project sees deploy Yoruba and Pidgin with occasional switches to English as he adopts trademark melody and delivery to convey his desires that borders on sexual while also holding up a loner profile he has built over the years.
The Pop record 'Personal' which he released as a lead-up to the EP suggested the sonic direction that Zinoleesky's new sophomore EP might take. The freshness the track offered raised optimism in listeners for a new sound and 'Grit and Lust' to an extent delivered on this expectation.
Zinoleesky doesn't have a profile or personality beyond his music. This has allowed him to adopt a quiet and almost lone sheep-like personality he doesn't shy away from owning up to. "Just being myself don't take it personally," he says in the opening line of 'Personal' as he talks about his ambitions while echoing a belief in God common amongst street artists. The reverb, drums, and limited percussion offer a westernized pop sound that points at a sonic 180 but a desire to retain his audience.
Even when exploring the subject of love it's from a point of pleasure and use of sexual innuendos like in 'Odinaka' where the lyrics are just as suggestive as the title. Having stepped away from Amapianpo, Zinoleesky still retains familiar flows that sit comfortably on the Pop beat and allows for a refreshing change rather than a drastic one.
As he grapples with the pressure that comes with fame and success Zinoleesky likes to present the image of someone who expects less to avoid the inevitable disappointment that comes with human relationships. "If I love you I expect you to break my heart," he says in the Young John produced 'Run It Up' where he holds up his individualism, drive, and shrewdness in what's the best track on the project. The beat like in 'Yan Yan Yan', leans towards the South African variant as opposed to the heavy log drums propelled Afrobeats variant.
Zinoleesky has been around for a while and like any artist in his class, he wishes to scale to the next level of his career and this involves extending his listener base. Already enjoying a healthy stream return across streaming platforms, Zino seeks to strengthen this base and this requires the assistance of artists with impressive international profiles. His duet with Ayra Starr delivers some goodies but doesn't pack the spice to excite listeners. This is also similar to his collaboration with Omah Lay where they both deliver a familiar hurt-propelled love track that's a decent filler nothing more.
Overall, 'Grit and Lust' sees Zinolessky gradually shed off his Amapiano layer while retaining his melodies and flow which he seeks to carry into the next phase of his evolution.
Knowing when to switch it up is important for artists and while 'Grit and Lust' don't pack the stunning sound that will inspire a feverish consumption in listeners, it's a much-needed evolution.
Zinoleesky's writing, vocals, and delivery style still carry the same imprint that reduced the prominence of the change in sound. The production is also tailored for his sound and doesn't reach high levels except for 'Run It Up' and 'Rocking' where a famous medley from 'Awilo' was interpolated.
Overall, 'Grit and Lust' is a key intersection in Zinoleesky's evolution as he explores a sonic 180 and showcases a new direction that would eventually be perfected in subsequent projects.
• 0-1.9: Flop
• 2.0-3.9: Near fall
• 4.0-5.9: Average
• 6.0-7.9: Victory
• 8.0-10: Champion
Pulse Rating: /10
Album Sequencing: 1.6/2
Songwriting, Themes, and Delivery: 1.5/2
Enjoyability and Satisfaction: 1.5/2
Total: 7.6 - Victory
JOIN OUR PULSE COMMUNITY!
Eyewitness? Submit your stories now via social or: