After backing up for singers like Mr. Eazi, contributing to a song on Joeyboy’s debut album and living under the shadow of Psycho YP, it’s refreshing to listen to Azanti’s debut project…
By Emmanuel Daraloye
Azanti, the Apex Village Collective-signed artist, has been on a roller coaster in the last 12 months. From signing up a deal with the Abuja-based creative unit to collaborating with Abuja-raised rapper, Psycho YP, on a self-titled, “YP & Azanti, Vol 1” which boasts of the groundbreaking track “Caro” and “Focused,” to having a co-writing credit on “Police,” a track off Joeyboy’s debut album, the youngster recently dropped his debut eponymous “Azanti” EP under the label. Weeks before the release, he was part of the Ejoya class of 2021, a music distribution company in Nigeria.
Saying Azanti has it all is only stating the obvious. To crystallise the label signing, the younger takes the listeners through his world—and maybe that of his contemporaries, too, leveraging on the trope of unrequited love, anxiety, self-love, and party to buttress his points in the 22 minutes-long extended play.
“Dive,” the first number, kicks off the project. Over strings and prominent drum breaks, Azanti goes on a melancholic tale about his lost better half. He reminisces about his past, seeks forgiveness, and maybe a second chance—if for just one night. “Dive” is an innuendo that suggests a few things.
Azanti takes it to the club with the uptempo and jiggy “Latan.” The love talk gets overridden with the dance invoking Azanti’s hook. Either way, “Latan” is a potential banger if well marketed by his team.
Just like the generation before them, the Generation Z, which Azanti belongs to, also battles with relationship issues. On three tracks, “Underwater,” “Time differences,” and “Kimberly,” Azanti goes in full force on ballad and its intricacies. “Underwater” chronicles a problem between a love-starved man and his demanding girlfriend. While he cries over the attention deprivation he suffers from his girlfriend, the girl seems to be unbothered. The love and attention-starved trope got enlarged on “Time Difference.” This time around, Azanti goes deeper on the topic. He details the fiasco between two lovers in a long-distance relationship across countries; “It’s daytime in Abuja, and it’s nighttime in six.”
After an awful experience with a lady as detailed on “Time Difference” and “Kimberly,” it seems Azanti’s character in the song becomes wiser. This can be gleaned from his statement on the demanding “Kimberly.” He emphasises that, “She don get it herself.” It almost turns to a chant.
The self-consciousness journey culminates with Azanti stating his preferred feature of a woman on “My Type of Woman.” The half-crooning and half-singing Azanti goes on full force on this song, inflecting his patwa flow at some point.
With the talk of a potential wife/girlfriend almost coming to fruition, the happy and lively Azanti comes up again on “Sunmomi,” the club-tailored track which shares similarities with “Latan,” although more uptempo because of the percussions used predominantly in the production.
Azanti ends with the Amapiano-inflected “Necessary.” It’s still the same element; Azanti retains his strategy of infusing love talk in party tracks. The backup singer and ad-lib make it more fun.
After backing up for singers like Mr. Eazi, contributing to a song on Joeyboy’s debut album and living under the shadow of Psycho YP, it’s refreshing to listen to Azanti’s debut project. The tracklisting makes it sound like a sequentially-arranged diary from the Abuja-raised artist with love taking a larger chunk of the EP. With an explicit homage to Rhythm and Blues, Azanti also explores other sounds like soul, Amapiano, and once in a while, he flows with Patwa. At the end of the sonic journey, it’s glaring that Azanti is here to stay.
Emmanuel Daraloye is a music journalist. His works have appeared in Vanguard Newspaper, The Cable News, The Lagos Review, Legit News, and more.