Don’t Get Used To This displays WurlD operating with a full understanding of the tools that comprise his unique artistry.
By Yinoluwa Olowofoyeku
Don’t Get Used To This is a new 8-track EP from Sadiq Onifade, popularly known as WurlD. This is WurlD’s second-ever EP, but comes as his seventh project in a burgeoning career. The Nigerian singer and songwriter is known for his trademark blue hair and his eclectic brand of Electronic-infused Afro-Fusion sound. Born in Lagos, Nigeria, he later relocated to Atlanta, Georgia, US, for his secondary and subsequent college education, studying Computer Science at Georgia State University. This was where his penchant for music performance blossomed and he made his debut in the music scene with the release of his first single, “Beyond Our Dreams”. This was the precursor to his debut EP, Evolution, unveiled in the summer of 2013.
WurlD’s next few years in the industry saw him collaborating with renowned artistes like Mario, where he contributed his songwriting skills to the R&B superstar’s album. In May 2013, the music video for “Alive”, the second single from the Evolution EP, was premiered exclusively via MTV: The Wrap Up, showcasing his creative and musical prowess. WurlD’s talent and artistry extended further as he teamed up with Timbaland’s artiste, BK Brasco, as a featured artiste on the track “Beautiful Girls “.
In 2016, he began to make waves homeward with his Afro-soul track “Show You Off“, featuring Walshy Fire of Major Lazer and Afro-beat producer Shizzi. This global journey continued with a slew of international features, writing credits, and collaborations as WurlD refined his trade, until about 2019 when he re-announced himself to the Nigerian audience with his Love Is Contagious album.
He quickly followed this effort up with a collaborative project with legendary producer Sarz titled I Love Girls With Trobul. Anchored around the smash hit “Trobul”, the project cemented WurlD and his unique artistry as a force to watch in the Nigerian music industry. 2020’s Afrosoul album saw him expand on his sonic characteristics and round himself out even more as an artiste. In 2022, he tripled down on his status as an undeniable force with his My WorlD With U album, establishing himself firmly as an upper-echelon talent. It is from this established berth that WurlD descends to drop this EP, Don’t Get Used To This.
The EP begins with a swirling emotive overture in its “DGUTT Intro”. Bright reverbed keys set the sonic landscape for sweeping cinematic composition. The enchanting instrumentation is bolstered by heavily effected vocals as WurlD lends his voice as an instrument to the already performing orchestra of sounds. As the song crescendos, it is anchored by a moving spoken word piece ushering in the rest of the experience and stating the project’s themes of spontaneity and serendipity.
Next is “Do It”, which builds on the melodic motifs of the intro, adding Afrobeat triplet drums, brash synthetic brass and swirling effects. WurlD’s singing is strong and clear, with melodies that reach high into his upper registry and falsetto before dipping into soft sultry tones. It culminates in a big bombastic chorus, during which he expresses to his lover just how much she motivates the things he does.
“Company” begins with bold strummed guitars, before simple Afrobeats drums jump in. Sharp electric guitars wail in and out to add a counterpoint to WurlD’s softly admiring lyrics. The instrumental is rich and layered, propping WurlD’s stellar vocal texture atop a cake of distinct sonic layers.
“Location” switches gears, bringing an Afro-Electro energy that is instantly recognisable as the work of frequent collaborator, Sarz. Energetic percussion-driven drums propel this bouncy tale of reassurance and dependability. Sarz furnishes the instrumental with so much sonic variance, throwing in heavy bass synths, string pads, woodwinds and staccato pianos. WurlD matches the boisterous energy flawlessly with his upbeat deliveries.
“Shake” maintains the energy, beginning with rattling shakers and rumbling 808 basses. A cacophonous drum roll ushers in Amapiano percussions and log drums. Backed by smooth key chords and vibrant saxophone passages, WurlD implores the lady in question to shake her body for him. Atop the distinctly Amapiano instrumentals, WurlD adopts a soulful R&B-esque slant that employs rich melodies and harmonised belted passages. However, the instrumental shifts and changes, dynamically altering its sonic depth and richness. In turn, WurlD varies his vocal strategy to match, switching between cadences as the beat calls for it.
“Sarafina” was previously released as a single. It sees WurlD heaping admonishment on the titular Sarafina, with delightful melodies and harmonies over an instrumental that throws back to early Nigerian R&B with its sound selection, stilted drum patterns, and even a prominent whistling melody reminiscent of the vocal melody from Paul Play Dairo’s “Forever”.
“Melanin Riddim” keeps the pace high with clacking percussions and a steady kick drum pattern setting the rhythm. Bright keys and playful synth lines complete the canvas over which WurlD paints with emotive wailing vocal passages and rapid Afrobeats verses. His vocals intertwine seamlessly with each other while playing within the rich layers of the instrumentals. The lyrics here feel a bit repetitive, but the musicality of the song is enough to captivate the listener regardless.
“Sare” closes the EP on a more soulful note as WurlD opens up to a lover and expresses vulnerability and desire. Again, he deploys heavily effected vocals as part of the rich instrumental package, mingling them with powerful basslines and synth chords. Simple triplet Afrobeats drums complete the instrumental ensemble over which WurlD stacks numerous vocal tracks packed full of dynamic melodies, barely perceptible ad-libs, warm backing vocals and creative harmonies.
(Read also: With Ravage EP, Rema Solidifies His 2023 Success)
Don’t Get Used To This displays WurlD operating with a full understanding of the tools that comprise his unique artistry. There is a wealth of experience and self-confidence evident all over the project. The length of the project means it can start, ramp up, and round off relatively effectively. The energy across the project is consistent but varied enough for WurlD to explore a few themes and topics with diverse melodic and technical choices reinforcing them.
WurlD’s singing across the EP is magnificent. His voice is consistently clear, powerful, strong, controlled, and expressive. Whether he is belting high notes near the top of his range or coasting comfortably in the lower tones, he never loses the power, clarity, and texture of his singing. His melodic choices are distinct as a result of the myriad stylistic influences he pulls from. His deliveries are expertly assembled, with him switching cadences and patterns in continuously unpredictable and engaging ways. Sadly, I do feel like the lyrical content conveyed by those melodies falls short a number of times, falling victim to a few cliches, with a few simple or repetitive lyrics. However, the strength of the musicality is enough to make up for it even though it can be noticeable.
Beyond WurlD’s vocal performances, the highest points of this EP are delivered by the fantastic production and engineering on display. Sarz’s contribution comes as no surprise to anyone who has heard his work before. Plus, he has a long-standing working relationship with WurlD, resulting in a strong understanding of each other’s sound, which leads to greatness every time they collaborate. WurlD and Anne Tekstra are credited as producers across most of the rest of the project and they do a great job delivering richly layered and melodically vibrant instrumentals that had lots of direction and movement for WurlD to build upon vocally. The engineering on the project is almost spotless. Some songs have so many layers, both vocal and instrumental, that the clarity and organisation of it all is quite frankly, impressive. Loud bombastic moments are balanced with quieter softer moments in a way that neither is diminished nor overpowering.
This EP is a small-scale crystal of the artistic phenom that WurlD has become. As a producer, songwriter, and singer, he possesses an uncanny fullness and fluidity to his work. He has created an extremely enjoyable listening experience that will surely leave listeners expectant for the next drop from the blue-haired act.
Lyricism – 1.2
Tracklisting – 1.4
Sound Engineering – 1.8
Vocalisation – 1.6
Listening Experience – 1.4
Rating – 7.4/10
Yinoluwa “Yinoluu” Olowofoyeku is a multi-disciplinary artist and creative who finds expression in various media. His music can be found across all platforms and he welcomes interaction on his social media @Yinoluu.