Reviews

Review: Wizkid's 'More Love, Less Ego' Banks On Trusted Highs

The fifth album from the legendary afrobeats artist is polarizing but largely satisfactory, building on the colorful, love-dominating ethos of his previous LP.

Wizkid’s legacy is the most discussed aspect of his career. Emerging in the early 2010s, he was influential for his endearing vocals, enigmatic presence and colorful fashion. To chart his evolution is to chart the evolution of contemporary afrobeats, viewed through the prism of one of its biggest and most talented artists.

The 32-year-old released Made In Lagosin October 2020. Its tropical, laid-back vibe blossomed into the next year, with “True Love” and “Essence” representing variant sides of its popularity. While the Temscollaboration solidified Africa’s connection with its sonic influences from America and the Caribbean, the former’s folk roots captured the sensitive alternative leanings of Wizkid’s current skill set. The album has unarguably been one of the most influential afrobeats projects of the 2020s, but it also set a very high bar for the man behind its creation.

More Love, Less Ego was preceded by deliberate efforts from Wizkid’s team. Pre-album singles didn’t seem to be fully marketed, though “Bad To Me” and “Money & Love” held up a view of the album’s ethos well enough. It was rather the superstar’s charisma which was captured in the exclusive shows he played, the bottles of Casamigos shared among notable figures, the cryptic posts across social media.

These touches reflect on the album too. Early into its carousel of bright, saxophone-lined beats, the listener gets a sense of the vision. It’s more love after all, Wizkid takes his expression to wholesome and almost dizzying heights on the new project, building on the angel-eyed romantic themes of Made In Lagos. He’s however more demanding of his vocals here, frequently stepping outside of his comfort zone. “Money & Love” establishes the project’s languid pace, playing down the sultry, sensual energy Wizkid embodies later on. You hear however the Caribbean-tinged inflections in his voice, perfectly polishing his intent with the invocation of Jamaican music icon, Buju Banton.

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Interview
Image courtesy of the artist.

Moliy Is Swimming Against the Tide of Mainstream Afropop—and Succeeding

From "Sad Girlz Luv Money" to her new Honey DoomEP, the exciting Ghanaian-American artist discusses her roots, resilience and the responsibility of telling audacious stories in her records.

In music scenes across Africa, the most influential tiers are often dominated by young people. These individuals bear the mark of the digital age, where geographical boundaries are blurred and their taste in art, regardless of place, remarkably heightened. Moliy Ama Montgomery creates for this generation. Her records are soft and audacious, colored by the Ghanaian-American artist’s shimmering vocals and lyrical awareness that is informed by her femininity and independence.

Moliy moved to the US for college, but found the system to be tiring. Monthly rents and tight schedules marred what should have been her settlement period. “I came back to Ghana [towards] the end of 2019 to put records together and make something happen,” she told OkayAfrica one recent evening, “Cause I felt like that was the one thing I was really passionate about. It was a gamble, recording the records and all of those things. I had no idea it would actually work out or be acknowledged at all”.

She was eventually acknowledged—and not much long after. By the following year, Moliy released the Wondergirl EP, a concise demonstration of her singing abilities. Over beats as shiny as her vocals, she unfurled stories of young love and ambition. “I was trying to create something that people can identify with me,” she says, recalling her entry into the Ghanaian music scene. “I wanted to make an impact because at that point I wasn’t a known artist. I was only known for the content I released on my social media; the most I’d done was post some freestyles and some covers on there... but mostly freestyles of stuff that I wrote, that was the only thing out there that kind of identified me as an artist, and I wanted to be taken more seriously.”

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