YP & Azanti – A Neo Soul R&B/Trap Fusion
Few weeks to the most lively and busy month of the year, you would think that all the ‘songs of the year’ should have dropped months ago and we would just be waiting to turn up to them. Buuuuuut!!! Nigerian artistes have chosen not to let our ears rest. It’s been raining good music even up until November with so many amazing projects being released that if music was alcohol, we would all be drunk to stupor. Our favorites at Apex Village have also joined the long list of super talented artistes that have contributed to the heavy showers of good music on the Nigerian music scene. Newly signed act, Azanti—who is a singer, songwriter and producer—has teamed up with Psycho YP to release what I find to be an amazing Joint EP titled YP & Azanti Vol. 1. Judging by the title, I’ll say we would be getting more projects like this going forward.
The EP starts off with a short clip of how rapper Psycho YP discovered Azanti, who had tried to reach out to him quite a number of times (Azanti says this in the intro). One major detail that I quite appreciate is YP giving Azanti room to shine and fully express the extent of his creativity and talent on all the songs, introducing us to Azanti’s vocal prowess straight up on track 1 with Posted Up —a beautiful Neo-Soul R&B song that would have any typical listener second guess his being a Nigerian artiste. The alluring voice and icy melodies just sound so soothing and I’m not surprised that this song played a major role in getting the attention of industry big-guns who took turns to bid for the 17-year old artist. This song was instrumental in helping Apex village decide to sign the artist.
The level of creativity and amount of work put into this project can not be overemphasized. Azanti showed his versatility as they explored different genres and even pushed boundaries with some of the songs like Ji Masun. As a first listener, you would wonder why there’s a ‘street song’ on the EP but there’s a plot twist to it—IT’S A LOVE SONG! (lol) Everybody in Nigeria knows that Ji Masun is a popular street slang, majorly used on loud, fast tempo songs by artistes like Naira Marley, Zlatan, Idowest and the likes but YP and Azanti managed to twist the narrative behind the slang that’s used as an ‘awakening’ of the hustling spirit in people, adding a new meaning to it, as we hear them sing to their muses, telling them to not sleep on their love and what they have to offer. Ji Masun is one of my personal favorites on the EP and since hearing it, I find myself subconsciously singing the hook, and I can’t wait to see how people react to this particular song and the new narrative to our favorite street slang. Now you can easily say Ji Masun! to a babe/guy that’s moving funny and ignoring your efforts and you won’t be seen as a weirdo.
It’s undeniable that even though YP allowed Azanti to fully shine on this project, the rapper definitely matched his energy on all the songs and I was so excited to hear the ever exuberant and self-assured Psycho YP on New Bag, reminding us with his ever cocky bars like ‘I’ve been that nigga since Primary School, don’t get it confused’ that he’s been that nigga right from time. Oh, and the hook? Azanti killed it!!! Such a bop. Each time it came up, I kept screaming ‘Yes, Kings! Talk the Talk!!!’ Another favorite on the EP has got to be Caro, which was released a few weeks after the promotional single ‘Focused’ dropped. Caro is a smooth afro fusion song that’s groovy and has potential to become one of the best Afro fusion songs to come out of 2020. From the melodic chants in the beginning of the song, to the trumpets and fascinating guitar chords, on the very catchy beat, you would find yourself humming along and dancing almost immediately the beat drops.
Overall, I can assure every music lover that they would find a favorite on this project. It is a fully packed body of work, exploring different genres from trap, to R&B and even Afro Fusion. I love projects that push boundaries and this one is one of such; the artistes did not stick to one sound, setting a monotonous mood for the whole EP. You are served with Trapsoul Music at its best. This minute you’re trying to get someone to love you, next minute you’re in gangsta mode, feeling like you could buy the whole world if you choose to. I know that’s how it made me feel.
With just one project, Azanti has shown that he doesn’t need to put out so much before he proves that he is versatile and I am certain that he would go on to become one of the most featured artistes in the industry as he would eat up any song he’s put on, his irresistible flows and lyricism having placed him on a pedestal as a confidently creative artist.
I also love that the idea behind this project was mainly to announce Azanti to the world, while using YP’s exposure in the industry as a passageway into the scene without either of them overshadowing each other. Psycho YP never disappoints, his growth ever impressive, and he has proved himself yet again with this project that he can give us a commercially inclined project without losing his full trap vibe that has earned him a lot of love from us listeners. The EP is an amazing combination of two youngins who are coming to take the music industry by storm, working tirelessly to perfect their art and break any boundary that may exist in their respective genres. Psycho Yp & Azanti Vol. 1 is arguably one of the best R&B projects to hit the Nigerian music scene this year. It’s only right that we get a sequel and I hope it doesn’t take them too long to bless our ears with Vol. 2 because we cannot get enough of the beautiful energy they have introduced to us in just 23 minutes, with this collaboration.
Check out the full EP on your Favourite store here: