Love.. For Free is a commendable project. But it offers very little, aside from being a piecemeal offering to his fans. In an attempt to test the sonic preferences of the current Afro-Pop market, Mayorkun clearly plays it safe, deviating from the 2018 LP, The Major of Lagos.
By Emmanuel Daraloye
As the popular adage goes, life is a rollercoaster. And with the music industry, one moment an artiste is a raving star, shutting down shows across the country and beyond; the life of the party, the best friend of the press. In the next moment, their recent singles struggle to get views on digital platforms. This is the Adewale Mayowa Emmanuel’s (popularly known as Mayorkun) current struggle in the Nigerian music industry. Mayorkun, the Mayor of Lagos as he is fondly called, was once the darling of the industry that at some point, he became the go-to person for collaborations, so much so that he once confessed to turning down features.
One can attribute this reduced airway rave to his intermittent breaks and label change from Davido Music Worldwide to Sony Music West Africa, among others. After about six months of silence, Mayorkun makes a return this October with Love.. For Free extended play, his first body of work since the 2021 release of Back in Office. The five-track EP features two previously released tracks with just one collaboration. Mayorkun plays it safe with this project, as he explores love, opens up about his hiatus, and drops a few messages for his frenemies.
Bouncy guitar strings and kicks are what introduce the first track, “Lose Control”, featuring South African rapper, Blxckie. Mayorkun reveals the entangled relationship between himself and his partner. The chorus of the song gives a summary of the situation; “she wants love for free, she wants all of me,” Mayorkun confesses. The first verse sets things in proper perspective as the artiste goes into the details of the situation, “Philomena dangerous, she too bad”. At the end of the song, it becomes obvious that Mayorkun and his lover want different things.
On “Thermo”, Mayorkun gushes about the beauty of a girl, while profusely stating some of her qualities: she is helpful, beautiful, and sexy. “Thermo”, as used here, refers to beauty. The mild productions adequately help the singer arrest listeners with his boisterous vocals. The beautiful mix of log drums and strings also makes for an alluring song composition.
Originally released in April, “For Daddy”, finds the music star expressing his deep admiration for his lover whom he finds physically appealing: “You see as you fine, you dey give me the juice, my dopamine no fit to reduce, calm down now so my banana don dey call,” the artiste sings. While he basks in her beauty, Mayorkun is quick to ask for her commitment.
The project’s title is pronounced on “My Energy”. It is a vulnerable track that offers the singer an opportunity to reflect and open up about his displeasure with certain antics from those around him. The song could pass as an open address to some perceived enemies, with the crafty coded message effortlessly delivered with poise.
The Larrylane-produced “Lowkey” ends Love.. For Free. Here, Mayorkun delves into a thought-provoking exploration of his personal experiences in relationships. The song succinctly underlines the challenges and complicatedness of relationships that have not proven to be beneficial to him. LarryLane’s craftsmanship smoothes through as he creates a melodious backdrop that perfectly complements Mayorkun’s soulful and captivating voice, further enhancing the overall musical experience for the listeners.
Love.. For Free is a commendable project. But it offers very little, aside from being a piecemeal offering to his fans. In an attempt to test the sonic preferences of the current Afro-Pop market, Mayorkun clearly plays it safe, deviating from the 2018 LP, The Major of Lagos. This new mayor is more relaxed and too much in his comfort zone. The songwriting is also at its lowest, with the project only elevated by the pristine delivery from the backup singers. With two previously-released singles included in the EP, one can only wonder why Mayorkun did not include more tracks. It becomes apparent that the artiste is playing it safe.
It is hard to say whether or not this project would jet the singer back to his top-charting excellence, but still, Love.. For Free reminds listeners of Mayorkun’s evident brilliance as an artiste.
Lyricism – 1.3
Tracklisting – 1.3
Sound Engineering – 1
Vocalisation – 1.2
Listening Experience – 1.3
Rating – 6/10
Listed twice by “Black Pride Magazine” as one of the top 5 Music Journalists in Nigeria, Emmanuel Daraloye has over 600 album reviews in his archive.