Mr Eazi's New Album 'The Evil Genius' Review
3 November 2023
[Mr Eazi new album/Punch Newspapers]
Written by Pharis Kinyua
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Afro-pop sensation Mr Eazi has unleashed his highly-anticipated debut album, "The Evil Genius," via Empawa Africa, setting the music world abuzz with the culmination of his journey. The album takes listeners on a captivating voyage through diverse locations, each contributing to the album's distinctive sound and themes. From Ouidah and Cotonou in Benin to Kigali in Rwanda, Accra and Kokrobite in Ghana, Lagos in Nigeria, London, Los Angeles, and New York City, the album's roots span the globe, reflecting the artist's extensive travels and eclectic musical influences.
""The Evil Genius"" is a deeply personal endeavor for Mr Eazi, delving into themes of love, betrayal, loneliness, and family. The album is ingeniously structured into three distinct acts, each resonating with its own unique emotions. As a storytelling device, the album's three-act structure masterfully guides listeners through a musical narrative that explores the complexity of human emotions.
The album's richness is further amplified by a slew of remarkable collaborations with a diverse range of talented artists. Notable features include the legendary Angelique Kidjo from Benin, the multi-talented Tekno from Nigeria, the soulful Efya from Ghana, Whoisakin from Nigeria, the rising star Joeboy from Nigeria, and the three-time Grammy-winning Soweto Gospel Choir from South Africa. This dynamic ensemble of artists adds a vibrant dimension to the album's sonic landscape, showcasing the artist's versatility and collaborative spirit.
The production of ""The Evil Genius"" is equally impressive, with a lineup of accomplished producers contributing their expertise. The stellar team includes Kel-P from Nigeria, Knucks from the U.K., Michael Brun from Haiti, Andre Vibez from Nigeria, Yung Willis from Nigeria, Nonso Amadi from Nigeria/Canada, KillBeatz from Ghana, M.O.G Beatz from Ghana, E Kelly from Nigeria, Type A from Nigeria, Stikmatik from the U.K., Phantom from Nigeria, Beat Butcha from the U.K., Venna from the U.K., KDream from Nigeria, and Mr Eazi himself. This collaborative effort has resulted in a meticulously crafted musical landscape that showcases a wide array of sounds and influences.
In a groundbreaking fusion of African music and art, Mr Eazi took a unique approach to the album's visuals. He commissioned visual artists from across the African continent to create individual art pieces, each representing one of the album's 16 tracks. This innovative collaboration between the music and art worlds represents a first of its kind, bridging the gap between Africa's flourishing pop music scene and its fine art creators. Mr Eazi personally selected 13 artists from eight African countries for this ambitious project, adding the role of art curator and patron to his already impressive list of achievements.
To introduce this groundbreaking art-music fusion to the public, Mr Eazi hosted multi-sensory exhibition listening experiences. The first two events took place in Accra, Ghana, at Gallery 1957, and in the U.K. during the 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair at Somerset House in London, from October 12 to 15. These exhibitions offered a unique opportunity for fans to immerse themselves in the visual and auditory world of ""The Evil Genius,"" creating an immersive experience that transcended the boundaries of conventional album releases.
For the album's cover art, Mr Eazi collaborated with renowned Nigerian stylist, designer, and photographer Daniel Obasi. Known for his work with global icons like Beyoncé and Louis Vuitton, Obasi's collaboration brought a distinct visual identity to the project. The cover art not only serves as an aesthetic expression but also reinforces his innovative approach to music and art.
""The Evil Genius"" is a testament to his evolution as an artist and a visionary who continues to push boundaries and explore new horizons. With its diverse musical influences, storytelling structure, and pioneering fusion of music and art, the album represents a significant milestone in the artist's career. Mr Eazi's ability to seamlessly blend diverse elements into a cohesive musical narrative reflects his commitment to artistic innovation and global resonance.