If you only know WizKid from his appearance on Drake’s massive global hit One Dance, then now’s a good time to for that to change.
For the Nigerian artist’s new album Made in Lagos, he’s recruited an impressive roster of artists, including the likes of Burna Boy, Damian Marley, Skepta, Ella Mai, H.E.R, and Terri. These collaborations prove to be the highlights on the album, largely because they showcase WizKid’s ability to venture outside of traditional dancehall and embrace the diverse styles of his talented guests. On Piece of Me, for example, WizKid let’s Ella Mai’s knack for intimate R&B shine through, and he takes a more passive role in fitting in to her performance. A similar dynamic plays out in Ginger, featuring Burna Boy.
Made in Lagos reaps the benefits of WizKid’s adaptability; it pulls in new influences from Afrobeats music to evolve its sound well beyond the artist’s dancehall pop roots. The album’s overall soundscape gives a subtle nod to fellow Nigerian artist Burna Boy, whose blend of Afrobeats, R&B, rap, and dancehall has powered back-to-back hugely successful, internationally-appealing albums.
Beyond the music, WizKid wanted to use the album to bring attention to local politics. He has used his platform, such as Instagram, to speak out in support of the End SARS movement. SARS, or Special Anti-Robbery Squad, was a branch of the police force in Nigeria, that came under fire for its brutality and use of lethal violence against civilians. NME covered WizKid’s involvement in the protests against SARS, and his message for Nigerians to continue the fight against unjust governance. On Twitter, WizKid wrote: “This is just the beginning!! We won our fight to #ENDSARS .. now Reform the Nigerian police!! #Endpolice brutality! We deserve good governance.”
Listen to WizKid’s new album Made in Lagos below, or wherever you stream music.