More than any other work he’s published, Lagos to London, the second installment in Mr. Eazi’s flagship Life is Eazi mixtape series (and his third body of work overall) affirms his creative proficiency to melodies of the present; an excellent adaptability to running rhythms. It uncovers a rich expansion in his melodic character, while still seeing him retain elements that constitute his sonic roots and individuality.
“Life is Eazi” – the musical undertaking – was born out of a desire by the Banku musician, to curate a repertoire that caters to cities the singer especially feels connected to; a travelogue of destinations that capture his heritage, evolution, and the influences that have moderated that growth. The enterprise, ambitious and chancy, has been dispatched to little complaint. Across both projects, feels from Accra, Lagos, and now London have all been summoned unambiguously. On Accra to Lagos, Eazi, 27, and born Oluwatosin Oluwole Ajibade, sought assistance from DJ Cuppy, Mugeez, Medikal, Falz, Tekno, Big Lean, Olamide and Phyno. On this new offering, he lines up an even more impressive contingent: 2Baba, Simi, Maleek Berry, King Promise, Mi Casa trumpeter Mo-T, Sneakbo, Diplo, Giggs, Burna Boy, global reggae sensation, Chronix etc. Mr. Eazi’s genius as a musician lies, not necessarily in his vocal talent (he operates within a specific, limited range of notes), nor in a particularly profound lyricism. Instead, it reveals itself in the man’s knack for effectual beats (harvested from the likes of Pheelz, Guilty Beatz, Eazi’s current sidekick, Speroach, E-Kelly, Diplo, KG Beatz and the Da Beatfreakz) and a gift for scouring for the perfect guest on a joint. It is partly a reason for his endurance — the other being an indefatigable work ethic.
Additionally, Lagos to London is a pronouncement about his hold on UK ears. While he wields a solid reputation in most places, the London public represents a key cornerstone for him, judging by his numbers and how much he frequents that soil. He’s got the keys to that city as indubitably as is the case with the West African hubs that constitute home for him. The work is also evidently a gesture of appreciation to London (as topping, he also refers to himself on social media as “Uncle London”).
The Mr. Eazi stencil has typically been anchored on a sensitive, mellow vibe, a quintessence retained in the overall mood of the tape. But, also arriving with Lagos to London is an atypical, albeit not unsolicited excitement. He’s rapping, he’s achieving rare riffs, he’s searing in ragga. He’s untamed.
Highlife, hiplife (the Ghanaian term that labels the amalgamation of hip-hop and highlife), Afrobeats (British born Ghanaian DJ Abrantee Boateng’s coinage for modern slowed-down pop from Africa; a sub-genre pioneered by the likes of Fuse ODG and DJ Juls, and has also found residence in Britain over the years), Azonto and Shaku Shaku: vivacious dance-inspired beats from Ghana and Nigeria respectively –all find home on the EP, which immediately proves itself a solid commercial effort. “Open and Close,” featuring Diplo works elegantly as street opium, especially in such a thriving Shaku Shaku climate. The joint’s composition, and the Distruction Boyz –assisted house remix it segues into, requires little: a dance-ready pulse, and a slurred, offhand inflection. Other joints on the tape which cater to the party bop are the vicious “London Town,” “Chicken Curry,” a thumping joint whose hook among other things, likens a body part to the recipe, and because of the refrain it precedes (“go low”), heavily implies something sexual. But as is the characteristic of all pop, Eazi prances about multiple themes, because the artist is chasing, for the most part, rhyme alone. In the same song, the same chorus, Eazi also declares:
Money don’t make me, I make money
Don’t come around me acting funny
I got a girl, don’t say you love me
The success of his quick tempo experiments aside, it is his offerings on love, which are the founding layer of the project — and the Mr. Eazi groove as a whole, that sparkle most on Lagos to London. When has Mr. Eazi ever failed to deliver on a love song? Is that not why his core fan base is made up of young ladies with outstretched arms for his distinctive tenderness? Simi shows up on “Surrenda,” a Fuji jam with guitar condiment, Maleek Berry and King Promise join him on a highly sentimental “Dabebi,” which samples an Ofori Amponsah classic. He trades romance promises with 2Baba on “Suffer Head.” He trumpets his preparedness as a lover over Mo-T’s trumpet phrases on the honeyed “Property.” “Pour Me Water,” “Miss You Bad,” perfect with cloying guitar licks and featuring Burna Boy, and “She Loves Me,” a gentle reggae song digesting unstable love encapsulate the amour discussion. That last joint, emotive and psychedelic, features Chronixx — a proven harmony technician himself. It leads the pack in how elegantly it rewards the listener emotionally.
Lagos to London, by the time its forty-two-minute lifespan fully elapses, travels from whispers of love, to the temperament of a valiant conqueror. Standout lines from “Chicken Curry,” the penultimate song in the catalog, and “London Town,” which wraps the 15–tracker include brazen declarations as “my ting tastes like chicken curry,” “man ah got bad man inna the London town,” and “man ah got bad man ready to shut it down.”
If that doesn’t drive a stern enough message to whom it may concern, as caution to “put some respek” on his name, the following lines off the exiting verse on the album , fired down in vicious patois, and the specific steeze demonstrated by huncho of a dreaded gang, banish any confusion about both his warrior status and far-reaching charm.
“You’re messing with the godfather/ this is a happy boy take over.”
Buy Life is Eazi, Vol. 2 – Lagos To London here.