WizKid “SuperStar” TrackList
1) Say My Name
2) No Lele
3) Scatter The Floor
5) Slow Whine (Feat. Banky W.)
6) Love My Baby
7) Gidi Girl
8.) Oluwa Lo Ni
9) Don’t Dull
10) Tease Me/Bad Guyz
11) EME Boyz (Feat. Skales & Banky W)
12) What You Wanna Do
13) For Me (Feat. Wande Coal)
14) Holla at Your Boy
15) Wad Up (Feat. D’Prince)
16) Shout Out
17) Wiz Party (Freestyle Leak
The long anticipated debut album of Nigeria’s young R&B sensation, Wizkid, has finally dropped. He titled the effort, “Superstar” and had a sold out album launch party on the 12th of June at Eko Hotel and Suites’ Expo Hall. So, what comes to mind is if the album meets up with the hype that preceded it. In my critical opinion, it doesn’t. For the past few months, Wizkid was titled a Hit maker. Literally, any song he was featured on became a club hit soon after. His voice was like some secret ingredient to your song being successful; some form of chemical x to your song’s power puff formula. Even on his solo projects, the likes of “Holla at your boy”, “Gidi Girl”, “Tease Me”, “Don’t Dull” and even “Wiz Party“, Wizkid outshone his peers and began to become a household name.
From a less critical point of view, it’s not an easy thing to have that many hits as an upcoming artist nor even have a 17-track debut album. And those songs previously listed don’t even include the features that he brought to “superstar” status. And, based on that mindset, this album is a commercial success, without even mentioning its popularity, album sales, international acclaim (thanks to his international performances, notjustok.com promotion and album sales) and how much more money you have to pay to get a “Wizzy” performance.
“Superstar” is one of those albums I had to jam back to back to back to back before making a single opinion about it in my head. Because, it’s one of those highly anticipated albums and how a lot of celebrities are promoting on twitter, facebook, etc., going contrary to public opinion wouldn’t be an easy thing to do, if you would even be listened to, at all, in fact. But, regardless of that, I’m not taking a “defensive” stance but shall give good constructive criticism. And, regardless of whatever critical banter I may address the album with, I must say this, it is a good effort and every single song is a tentative Naija club jam.
From the moment I saw Wizkid’s 2nd music video for “Tease Me” (Bad Guyz), I’ve had a problem with his artistry. My problem, not being that such a free styled effort became a household jam, but that Wizkid as an artist had a problem with his branding; though he’s not completely to blame for that. So, when I was listening to Superstar, I wasn’t expecting anything better than what he brought to the table. Some may say that the Wizkid brand is the “I like fun and partying” persona. But, I beg to differ, as in simple comparison to other like artists, such “confusion” or dilemmas as to what they bring to music are non-existent. Do I even need to mention names? We all know what Wande Coal’s brand stands for, or even Naeto C’s “educated tush boy with Naija slangs” package, even Wizkid’s peer, MoCheddah has her “I’m versatile and somewhat bratty” brand, that allows for her to use pidgin, speak Yoruba, rap, sing and no single person would be like “is that MoCheddah?” But, in contrast, when Wizkid “raps” or uses Fuji, it sounds out of place; you’re never fully sure if he’s “Kpako” or “Ajebotta”. So a lot has to be done with regards to his branding. Even artists like Wiz Khalifa and Kid CuDi, that are huge now, didn’t have much success as artists until they defined their brand even after many years in the industry releasing songs and mix tapes.
The album has a relative Slow to fast tempo from the beginning to end. It starts up with slower songs and ends with a bang with “studio leak” hit, (and as such bonus track) “Wiz Party”. “Superstar” has very good production on it from the likes of his good friend, Samklef, amongst other names. But, even though it does, most of the tracks don’t seem to have that long lifespan due to Wizkid’s drawling style of delivery and his content, though most of his melodies are catchy. His song, “For Me”, for example, where he features Naija great, Wande Coal; even after several listens, I couldn’t remember a single melody but the production stuck. The song wasn’t catchy at all.
So, because of this, I went an extra step and went around asking random people what their own opinions were; and what I heard was exactly what I expected. I heard statements like “the album is not bad at all”, “it’s an okay album”, “the album has hits so it’s a success” and even “too much hype but we’ll still dance to it”; comments which just show how subpar “Superstar” is. And, if we compare those comments to what people were, are and still will be saying about Wande Coal’s “Mushin 2 Mo’Hits” album (M2M), I bet you, you’ll be hearing things like “legendary”, “awesome”, even “out of this world”.
Some may say it’s not necessary to compare “Superstar” to such critically acclaimed efforts as “M2M” but it’s inevitable. Because how many other albums out there have such a similar sound and are clearly in the same genre. And, in my personal opinion, though this is not an artist review, the clear difference is not the quality of sound but the simple earlier branding issues mentioned. Wizkid is stuck in what I call the “Tush Boy Razz Boy Paradox”. He doesn’t define himself as either nor as both, he just does whatever he feels like. And, I’m in no doubt that songs like “Say My Name” and “Holla At Your Boi” that are portraying his “tush” side clearly contrast with “Pakuromo”, “No Lele” and “Love My Baby” to talk less of “Shout Out” and “Oluwa Lo Ni” and that is a clear issue with his brand, his artistry that needs to be resolved.
Even with popularity as a measure, “Superstar” in contrast to Asa’s first album and DaGrin’s last album is subpar once again. But, enough about the artistry, now more to musicality; “Superstar” has this general freestyle feel to most tracks if not all. This, alongside his hackneyed lyrics of “whining for me” amongst other over-repeated content in most his songs, shows how much of a fluke Wizkid has been. In the words of Ace Hood, “Same shit, different day”, in this context, I would say “Same shit, different song”. So, even though his voice does melt like butter on a hot pan on tracks, most of his songs are empty with about two verses with no written lyrics (well written). Some may say that he is not a “deep” artist and as such more than that isn’t necessary or that he’s making club bangers so that’s all that matters or even that if that is the formula he used to enter our hearts, no more effort is necessary. To some, that may be right, but to close this I’ll say, even with all his trademark “yeah” sounds, “Superstar” is an average Naija Dance album for this day and age and though, if it was some years back, it would have been a huge achievement; with the rapid growth of the Nigerian music industry, repetitive cliché lyrics with drawled singing but awesome production is nothing more than subpar.