On September 10, 2020, Nigerian superstar, Wande Coal belatedly released his seven-track EP, 'Realms.' The first time this EP was announced was on December 12, 2019 after his deal with EMPIRE and Starstruck Entertainment was announced.
ALSO READ: Wande Coal signs to EMPIRE
Around that time, Wande Coal also released the singles, 'Vex' atop a popular Sarz beat. The song was as electric as anything Wande Coal has ever released. Around 2:31, the song showcased everything that makes Wande Coal a G.O.A.T at this Afro-pop thing. He went into a freestyle bag that took the song to another level.
However, the song felt like a cash grab as Detty December beckoned. Then on February 6, 2020, Wande Coal replied to a fan that Realms EP would be released in March 2020 - it never dropped. However, we did get the Dapiano-produced, 'Ode Lo Like,' which was a staunch defence of self in the face of detraction.
Still, the super-talented Nigerian superstar whom a media OG calls, 'One leg of the trifecta of special talents in Nigerian music since '99 alongside Burna Boy and 2baba' released the impactful single, 'Again.' He also delivered something special on his #ClimaxChallenge as he flaunted his legendary falsetto voice type and his vocal range - albeit while looking faded.
Between the release of Realms EP and the last EP, he released 'Naughty Girl' which felt like a blatant attempt to recreate 'Iskaba.' Make no mistake, the song was sonically appealing - Wande Coal is one of the most talented Nigerian Afro-pop artists ever... duh. However, it still felt like a lazy release.
When Realms EP finally dropped, the EP was a lazy attempt at a project release. For a veteran with a large fan base that still worships him, the EP should never have been released. Wande Coal released just two new songs on a seven-track EP.
While it might make sense from a streaming strategy perspective to load an EP with four already released songs on a seven-track EP and then release a remix to one of those four already released songs, it's a terrible decision in music. Strategy might matter more than good music these days, but strategy shouldn't hurt a career long-term.
When did charting high and trending on streaming platforms take the place of actually releasing bodies of work that can be impactful? Is the artist kidding his fans or himself? Even if the EP trends because of the numbers on already released songs, his music will still have no impact because it basically offers nothing new.
If Wande Coal is not in a place to release a qualitative body of work with new songs that occupy at least 60% of said body of work, then he should not have released the project. Yes, fans have been pestering him, but Wande Coal and anybody who agreed to release this EP should have realized that fans only ask and react.
They are not going to lick the wounds of a project that lacks impact with the artist who will carry that pain alone. You cannot satisfy fans at the expense of self. And if Realms EP was released due to contractual commitments to EMPIRE, then this will do more harm than good.
You might be able to game the system with existent numbers from singles, but you can't game the audience - you need their perception to be in your favour. While Joeboy did the same thing with his EP in the final quarter of 2019, one could see his reasons. Joeboy was in his rookie year and staring down his first December as a star.
ALSO READ: Joeboy - Love and Light EP [Review]
He needed something to build on the three hits he released during the year. It was also consolidation before he would release his debut album - which will soon drop. But Wande Coal is a veteran who has the weight of expectation against him.
He is not as impressionable as Joeboy anymore because Joeboy has the benefit of shock value on his side.
While Wande Coal might have numbers on his side to show that people actually listened to 'Ever Blazing' and 'Check,' this writer would like to see stats of the fans that actually came back to Realms EP. This could all have been water under a bridge. For a veteran, Realms EP is a lesson in what shouldn't be done.
Like it or not, whatever numbers this EP gets and however long it spends on 'trending' sections of DSPs, it would still have been better if this EP had a increased amount of new songs.
• 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
3.5 - Near Fall