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“Evil Twin” Is a Poignant Reminder of PsychoYP and Jeriq’s Insane Potential

“Evil Twin” Is a Poignant Reminder of PsychoYP and Jeriq’s Insane Potential

Evil Twin PsychoYP and Jeriq - Afrocritik

In all, Evil Twin is a portal into the shared, yet varied, world of two of Nigeria’s most promising rappers, with each sizzling verse a poignant reminder of just how much potential they possess.

By Patrick Ezema

On “Evil Twin”, the title track and closer of Jeriq and PsychoYP’s collaborative album, YP gives a brief geographical introduction to the pair before the mic. “I’m from PH City/ That’s south of the south/ And my brother right here from the east”, he sings, referring to Jeriq’s origins from Anambra state. This, their joint EP is a collaborative handshake, not just between two trap-rappers with different styles and deliveries, but the cultures and origins they represent. For fans who had heard any of their previous collaborations scattered across various projects — like “Trapping” off Jeriq’s 2022 Billion Dollar Dreams or “My Country People, Haffa” off YP’s YPSZN 3 released the same year — this is a fine pairing. It was then left to the rappers in the lead-up to the project to actualise this dream collaboration that would live up to expectations.

Often, the biggest strength of collaborative projects like this is thought to be in their aggregation of parts. But more vital is the power of symbiosis of two artistes contrasting and complementing each other. This is what PsychoYP and Jeriq strive for on Evil Twin, and why their variety, and not just individual abilities, is its greatest strength. They may share a lot of qualities — “Same shoe and same drip that’s twin (twin)/I dey share hoes and funds with twin”, Jeriq raps on “Evil Twin” — but in their music, these twins are fraternal. YP, being the more melodious of the duo, handles almost all the choruses, except for “Breaking News” where the honour is given to Phyno, the album’s only featured artiste. 

Perhaps a more expansive guest list, especially one consisting of vocalists, would have helped ease the friction between the trappers and enhance palatability to a non-rap audience, but they make a strong attempt to provide enough melody by themselves. “First Milli” saunters on Jazz horns, an RnB-like flow, and a snappy Gospel cadence, initially providing a soundscape for its first few seconds that, asides YP’s humming, might be difficult to imagine was a part of a Trap project. But they apply themselves to it expertly, especially YP, who spends his chorus reminiscing on humbler times and appreciating the growth over the years — “I been no get 10 kobo/ No lele no pain and no sorrow/ Until I get my first milli/ 2 milli, 3milli, 4 milli”.

"Evil Twin" by Psycho YP and Jeriq - Afrocritik
Evil Twin tracklist

It does make sense that they would make some time for a grass-to-grace story, because for many reasons, Evil Twin is something of a synchronised victory lap for the duo. Jeriq enjoyed a fine 2023 in terms of penetration, working his way from his Eastern base to the mainstream via a couple of well-orchestrated and expertly delivered features. First for “Oganigwe”, where Zlatan recruited him and Odumodublvck for his Omo Ologo EP, then for “Nyem Ego”, a cornerstone to Blaqbonez’s latest album. PsychoYP on the other hand has enjoyed steady growth as an artiste over the past few years, culminating with the release of the Osapa London deluxe album to critical acclaim a month ago. If we learn anything about this pair after this project, though, it is that they will not be resting on their oars anytime soon. It is why “First Milli” is both a celebration and a stepping stone —“I picked one milli, two milli, three milli, four milli, five milli/ Now I want one billi”, Jeriq sings on his verse. The drive of the paper chase is the string that ties all five songs together and the fuel that propels the project forward.

PsychoYP - Afrocritik
PsychoYP

On “Disintegrate”, Jeriq has his eyes set firmly on the prize and is looking to eschew all distractions: “First flight to overseas I’m tracking this milli/ Afum your 12 missed calls during a business meeting/ I’m sorry but I won’t call you back unless Inwe ezigbo reason”. It is a mindset he carries over from his Billion Dollar Dreams project, where he was so preoccupied with the grind on songs like  “Airplane Mode” and “DND”. 

It is obvious that each of these rappers sees a bit of himself in the other. It is why, despite YP’s slinky trap with his polished delivery and Jeriq’s heavily Igbo-accented bars, they have no problems fitting into the themes or sounds of the songs they share. On “No Stylist”, which works a sample of Wizkid’s 2013 track, “Azonto”, into a brisk drill beat with plenty of beat drops, both artistes approach this production in the diverse manners they know best, and neither star feels out of place. 

Jeriq - Afrocritik
Jeriq

In total, four producers take charge of the five songs on the EP, but they maintain a firm cohesion throughout the project, fashioning the EP’s soundscape out of Trap and Hip-Hop beats, save for the RnB-leaning “First Milli”.

On “Breaking News”, they take turns dropping verses on either side of a rap-sung Phyno chorus, and the legendary rapper appears somewhat underutilised in this role when he could have been unleashed on one of the verses. No matter, his credit as the project’s executive producer shows his influence extends beyond just the musical, and he will be particularly proud for being able to guide the younger generation of Nigerian rappers in the use of collaborative projects, especially remembering the impact of his early collaborations with Olamide in advancing their budding careers. 

 

In all, Evil Twin is a portal into the shared, yet varied, world of two of Nigeria’s most promising rappers, with each sizzling verse a poignant reminder of just how much potential they possess.

Lyricism – 1.3

See Also
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Tracklisting – 1.3

Sound Engineering – 1.4

Vocalisation – 1.4

Listening Experience – 1.5

Rating 6./10

Patrick Ezema is a music and culture journalist. Send him links to your favourite Nigerian songs @EzemaPatrick. 

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