On February 24, 2020, Nigerian up-and-comer, T-Classic released his debut project, 'Underrated EP' under Mix Naija Entertainment. The EP dropped just a week after news that he had signed to Sony Music West Africa.
Ordinarily, this EP is a necessary move for an artist who came from near-obscurity to have a hit in 2019. However, what is more important than just an EP is a top quality output. While the public kind of exerts heavier pressure than necessary on new acts, a T-Classic doesn't have to be excellent - especially when it's an EP.
When T-Classic visited Pulse Nigeria in 2019, he mooted this EP as a possibility for the final quarter of 2019. Obviously, it didn't drop for obvious reasons of saturation and potentially being drowned out. Now that it's dropped, it's perfect timing. The space is not as free - it will never be - but it is just about quiet enough to get T-Classic heard.
A day before this review drops, 'Where You Dey,' which is track three on this EP was No. 2 on the Apple Music Charts for Nigeria. While that's not a lot, it is something for the reception of this EP. But all in all, this EP is of an inconclusive quality. The EP is not poor by any means, but it also fails to adequately make a impression or promise to grow on a listener.
All its five tracks have potential, but they lack the promise of true groundbreaking songs. Nonetheless, 'Where You Dey' could very well grow on the Nigerian mainstream. In the end, the greatest problem with Underrated EP is that it seems too cut from the 'Kizz Daniel bag' of afro-pop in sound, style and delivery.
However, what T-Classic and Mix Naija are trying to do is commendable. They are not going all out with an album in an unpredictable soundscape. Instead, they have gone with five songs with different feels to measure the reaction of fans.
They have also made the music be of ranging BPMs and serve as a bridge between the new Nigerian obsession with love-themed music and lamba. That's why 'LykaDU' is such a good album track - it's also the best song on this EP.
T-Classic finds a unique position to be in and if it ends up resonating with a particular audience, T-Classic could become a gold mine. That said, it's unlikely to happen with Underrated EP. What this EP could do for T-Classic is introduce him to audiences and sell him as an artist who is capable of making a body of work.
We might wrangle on about how inconclusive this EP is, but T-Classic barely put a foot wrong as an artist. His A&R also did well, they just didn't work with the best thought process at times. That said, the artwork for the album and the title, 'Underrated' are very terrible. You can't be underrated to an audience that does not really know you yet.
That's why that eponymous opening track is a hard-sell. It is the kind of anti-introspect that gets caught between braggadocio and meditation - they're usually a bad idea when you're not a superstar. It's the kind of blundering that makes 'Owo' stick out like a sore thumb on this EP. I get it, T-Classic and his A&R were trying to diversity, but it makes the EP suffer more than it should.
But make no mistake, 'Owo' would have been a superb EP on an EP with a different feel - it's a realy good song that doesn't fit into the overall spirit of Underrated EP. That artwork was also a cross between metaphysical and hard symbolism. They're the only outright bad idea about this EP.
• 0-1.9: Flop
• 2.0-3.9: Near fall
• 4.0-5.9: Average
• 6.0-7.9: Victory
• 8.0-10: Champion
5.5 - Average