Lifesize Teddy’s debut EP is an inspirational overture, a harmonious blend of artistry and promise…
By Yinoluwa Olowofoyeku
In a realm where the music industry often thrives on the predictable, the entrance of a fresh and versatile artiste is a breath of invigorating air. Such is the case with Lifesize Teddy, the latest addition to Don Jazzy’s illustrious Mavin Records. The heavyweight producer and label CEO unveiled the new act via a tweet saying “With the power vested in me by the Supreme Mavin Dynasty, it’s my pleasure to introduce you to Mavin’s latest signee. Rapper, poet, singer and songwriter Lifesize Teddy.” Born Treasure Apiafi Banigo, Lifesize Teddy steps onto the scene as a multi-dimensional artiste ready to make her mark.
Hailing from the vibrant cityscapes of Rivers State, Nigeria, and shaped by influences from Port Harcourt and Bonny Island, Lifesize Teddy’s creative journey has been nurtured in a diverse and dynamic environment. At the tender age of 9, Lifesize Teddy’s musical prowess began to take shape, as she started writing her own music. By 12, she was already engaging in rap battles, showcasing her innate talent and fervour for self-expression. Lifesize Teddy has been honing her skills at the Mavin Academy, and now, she unveils her eponymous debut Lifesize Teddy EP, a collection that encapsulates her artistic versatility and promises a fresh and vibrant perspective.
The EP sets sail with “Air,” an enchanting composition produced by London. The sensuality of the instrumental is underscored by hints of Hip-Hop and R&B, as filtered pad samples weave seamlessly with a smooth bassline, rattling hi-hats, and a sharp snare hit. Lifesize Teddy’s vocals soar effortlessly in the sung chorus of this ballad, showcasing both her range and control as she requests the attention of a lover. The transition into rapped verses adds an intriguing layer, with the first verse embracing melodic nuances, and the second verse embracing a confident and introspective rap flow.
“Hypnotic” follows suit, built on strong production from Andre Vibez. The instrumental exudes energy, with Arabic string runs, vocal chops, cinematic crescendos, and Afroswing drums dancing in harmony. Here, Lifesize Teddy exhibits her melodic prowess, offering a playful yet teasing delivery. Her inner rapper returns on the tail end of the song, to relish in a sea of emotion caused by the hypnotic person in question.
The EP’s dynamic shifts continue with “Butterflies,” featuring an instrumental by Andre Vibez that fuses mid-tempo Afroswing drums, dramatic drum rolls, and Pop-infused plucks. The plucks sometimes teeter on the verge of becoming grating, but the rest of the instrumental succeeds in balancing out the effect. Again, Lifesize Teddy demonstrates her versatility as she deftly navigates between Afropop and Pop-adjacent choruses. Unfortunately, the songwriting on this song slacks a bit, as the alignment with mass-appeal Afropop sensibilities leaves the lyrics feeling generic and cliché.
The tempo shifts once more with “John Wick,” a kinetic Afrobeats banger produced by SEVN. Lifesize Teddy adopts a staccato flow and street lingo, delving into grittier street-savvy dimensions of her personality. This is exemplified by a memorable bridge where she says “E never tey wey we enter, see wetin we don cause. E never reach 2 o’clock, but like four milli don burst.” This boisterous energy is backed by a SEVN’s pulsating instrumental. The pace is set by his percussion-backed Afro drums, filtered organ chords, and a delightfully unusual log drum. This song is rife with commercial potential as its foot-tapping rhythm is infectious.
The EP reaches its emotional crescendo with “Prophecy,” a poignant finale that combines lively and emotive production by Prestige. Here, Lifesize Teddy recounts her journey and growth, attributing her successes to her mother and divine machinations, as well as her passion and drive. Her autobiographical lyrics ring true, due to her measured and sincere delivery. Her singing and rapping both convey bundles of emotion and weight, atop the sweetly strummed guitars, 808 basses and percussion-assisted mid-tempo Afroswing drums.
Don Jazzy has a proven track record that is a testament to his talent-identifying skill. Beyond this skill, is his ability and willingness to take risks on artistes that are different from the generic commercially-safe archetype. He seems to have stumbled on another gem in Lifesize Teddy. Introductory EPs are intended to showcase the artiste and all the facets of their artistry. What Lifesize Teddy shows is a broad understanding of musicality. Lifesize Teddy’s vocal prowess stands as a hallmark of her artistry. Her singing exhibits a polished finesse, on par with her contemporaries who have consistently banked on their vocals. A remarkable range, coupled with an impressive display of control, power, and crystalline clarity, paints her melodies with a distinct vibrancy. Her approach to melody is refreshingly uncomplicated, yet yields remarkably effective results, while her harmonies and backing vocals exist in a harmonious equilibrium — never overshooting necessity, ensuring a seamless sonic journey that is devoid of diminishing returns.
Another notable facet of Lifesize Teddy’s artistry is her seamless transition into the realm of rap. Here, the pitfall of many inexperienced rappers is expertly avoided. Her approach to rap is an embodiment of comfort, devoid of any forced or contrived elements. It flows naturally, with an agile cadence and delivery that resonates as second nature. This effortless mastery is further accentuated by her ability to seamlessly shift between diverse styles, showcasing a stylistic versatility that grants her a firm grip on a medley of genre elements. Throughout Lifesize Teddy, this prowess is magnificently showcased as she gracefully manoeuvres between styles in verses and choruses, each instance a testament to her multifaceted artistry. Yet, amid this vibrant tapestry of musicality, there are glimpses of youthful inexperience, particularly with songwriting. While her lyrical foundation is generally solid, there are occasional instances that may strike as clichéd or slightly underwritten.
Everything she brings to the table is bolstered by the quality around her. Mavin Records provides her access to the best of the best in terms of production and engineering. The production of this project sounds tailor-made for what she brings to the table. Each beat is a carefully balanced fusion, tailor-made to synchronise harmoniously with her genre-bending style. The resultant beats are captivating, energetic, and form-fitting backdrops for her vocals.
The engineering prowess exhibited on this project is nothing short of stellar. Each auditory facet, from vocals to instrumental intricacies, is meticulously fine-tuned, amplifying the listening experience to a sublime level. The arrangement of vocal layers is a testament to her creativity, deftly positioned within the stereo field, with each vocal nuance and subtle effect contributing to a satisfying sonic mosaic. With every listen, a new discovery awaits — pitched-down vocals, delayed ad-libs, and harmonious intricacies — all seamlessly integrated into a rich auditory tapestry.
Lifesize Teddy’s debut EP is an inspirational overture, a harmonious blend of artistry and promise. Within this introductory musical chapter, Don Jazzy has added yet another radiant gem to Mavin Records’ illustrious crown. Lifesize Teddy’s artistry shines bright, her raw potential and undeniable talent serving as a tantalising prelude to her artistic evolution. In the embrace of Mavin’s storied mentorship, the canvas of her potential is limitless, and as her narrative unfolds, one can’t help but eagerly anticipate the chapters that lie ahead. If this is the inception, the journey’s trajectory promises to be nothing short of exhilarating.
Lyricism – 1.4
Tracklisting – 1.5
Sound Engineering – 1.8
Vocalisation – 1.6
Listening Experience – 1.5
Rating – 7.8/10
Yinoluwa “Yinoluu” Olowofoyeku is a multi-disciplinary artist and creative who finds expression in various media.