With ‘Mixed Feelings,’ Dreylo proves he’s more than an influence and he will shock many [Pulse EP Review]

More importantly, ‘Mixed Feelings’ is properly executed and sticks to its concept.

Dreylo - Mixed Feelings. (AFRICORI)

In the modern era, the music business has changed. With the emergence of social media platforms - especially TikTok - labels have reimagined their strategy around virality because they have less work to do.

All they have to do is more than push a #Challenge on social media, they just sign the influencers themselves.

Over the past one year, Dixie D’Amelio and Bella Poarch have signed big money record deals with big budgets. Poarch recently released her ringtone-worthy single, ‘Build A Bitch.’ For labels, they only have to build on Poarch’s 60 million+ followers on TikTok. Dreylo is part of Nigeria’s crop that reveals that experiment.

In 2020, he was named winner of the AQ-led Monster Verse, much to the chagrin of Nigeria’s Hip-Hop community because Dreylo was like a cheat code. At the time, he had over 220,000 followers on Twitter. With voting based around likes and retweets, he easily won.

On July 2, 2021, he joined ranks of influencers like Josh2Funny to release a body of work with his EP, Mixed Feelings. While this writer had earlier been mind-blown by Dreylo on Jake Doe’s November 2020 record, ‘Want,’ he was humbled by Dreylo’s performance on his debut EP because he simply didn’t see it coming.

With the aid of quality producing and pristine A&R, Dreylo coasts on a beautiful selection of beats, some of which were produced by the super-talented BeatsByJayy. But one thing nobody can say after playing the EP is that the beats carried Dreylo who didn’t just hold his own, but dominated like a seasoned music maker.

While he entered most people’s minds as a rapper, he shines on Afrobeats records like ‘Jeje’ and ‘Temperature’ as well as Afro-fusion records like ‘Result’ and ‘Coconut.’ He steps into the world of singing with an attitude and a personality, as he sings about love in intentionally warped, Blaqbonez-esque vocals with Caribbean influences in his cadences and technique.

There’s also a contemporary genuineness with which he delivers topics of sex and love. His pen might not be Burna Boy-level yet, but there’s a lot of potential here that will be propelled by consistent application and practice.

While his experiment with Pidgin-based rap is definitely welcome in a country where elite English rap suffers as Dreylo himself lamented on ‘Rappers,’ his delivery in that language is a little raw. He finds good pockets, but the delivery needs some tweaks here and there.

Nonetheless, all the songs on this EP are beautiful, and this offers ‘Mixed Feelings’ high-calibre replay value.

More importantly, Dreylo doesn’t just stick to working topical formulas of love and sex on Afrobeats, he canvasses heartfelt topics on the final two tracks, ‘Pain’ and ‘Rappers.’

‘Pain’ is an sped up, exceptional Afroswing record on which Dreylo delivers like a British rapper as he vaunts himself as sitting “with the almighty,” and canvasses his pain. With Dremo’s help, ‘Rappers’ then discusses a pertinent topic about why most Nigerian rappers can’t seem to catch a decent financial break.

The only real downside of this tape is its limited features. From a streaming perspective, this EP needed two or three more features to get on that level. It’s not enough to simply make a good project anymore, you need to make it visible and features help you with pitching for playlists and even algorithmic aids on platforms like YouTube and Audiomack.

The potential of a record like ‘Pain’ is incredible. More importantly, ‘Mixed Feelings’ is properly executed and sticks to its concept.

It might fly over many people’s heads, but the essence of ‘Mixed Feelings’ is reflected in the contrasting emotions reflected on records like ‘Jeje,’ ‘Coconut’ and ‘Temperature’ - which canvass love and sex - and then the ‘Pain’ in a record like ‘Rappers.’

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

Album Sequencing: 1.8/2

Themes and Delivery: 1.5/2

Production: 1.7/2

Enjoyability and Satisfaction: 1.6/2

Execution: 1.8/2

Total:

8.4 - Champion

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