On May 15, 2020, Nigerian producer and Apex Village member, Marv OTM released his debut EP, the five-track ‘Way Up North.’ It is a teaser to his upcoming project, ‘Northpole.’

Malik Bawa and Marv OTM embrace their Northern roots unrepentantly. Rather than see it as an impediment, they wear the heritage like an armor from the title of his projects to the tone of his voice and the whip of his attitude.

Way Up North is an impressive trap project brimming with memorable melodies and beats, Marv OTM’s impressive technique and delivery, but with very bland lyricism. Nonetheless, lyricism is not a requirement of trap music. Marv OTM did what he is traditionally required to do as a trapper and that is trap out as the cross between Young Thug and Travis Scott.

The first track is ‘Tyra Banks’ and it’s a dedication to a woman with a model-like figure. The song is then a tribute to one of the first sets of successful black models, Tyra Banks. ‘Jet Ski’ is another trap bop with undulating drums. It likens the drug-infested haze to an experience on a jet ski. Fellow Apex Villager, Zilla Oaks also came through.

Then comes the best track on this EP, ‘On The Rocks’ featuring Lord Isaac. On it, Isaac attacks a melodious beat with topics of sex and drugs. ‘Big Dawg’ features alte mainstay, AYLO and it documents the vain tendencies of a high-calibre woman. is the second-best song on this EP.

Final Thoughts

Like any other trap act from Abuja or Port Harcourt, the talent is almost rushing out of Marv OTM like excess blood. The only problem is that the artistry needs fixing. The music and the production are amazing, but the topics they convey have a tendency to feel generic and bland - even for trap music. Marv OTM needs to start infusing their own personal experience into the music.

At some point on this EP, the EP feels one-directional. The best artists tell listeners what they want to listen to. The great artists talk from the heart and get a following for it - no matter how ugly it is. OTM and Bawa can make music because there's talent there. If the flaws are fixed they can be amazing. Nonetheless, Way Up North is still impressive.

Ratings: /10

• 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

6.7 - Victory