For Wizkid, Made In Lagos is coming at a critical point in his career. Last year had him disengaged from the spheres of the Nigerian soundscape, contributing only two singles all year. That’s why a full-length album from Wizkid is seen as a relief. Being anticipated for more than two years, hopes were high for Wizkid to deliver usual afrobeat bangers like his songs, Pakurumo, Tease me, No lele, Ojuelegba, Jaiye Jaiye.
Made In Lagos starts off with the electrically-charged jam, Reckless. In this song, Wizkid is actually ‘reckless’ by laying off whatever is on his mind on the P2J-produced track. It’s here we understand the sonic intricacies of this album – a mid-tempo mix of horns, gentle piano melodies and guitar licks. This template gives direction to the rest of other Wizkid’s solo tracks on the album – Sweet One, Mighty Wine and Grace – where Wizkid’s storytelling suffers clarity.
It’s the search for the meaning of this album that’s the bane of most listeners. The featured artistes, however, help to hide this blemish. Skepta’s input in Longtime covers up for Wizkid’s lyrical weakness, Ella Mai’s glossy hook in Piece Of Me is a sweet filling as both her and Wizkid trade lyrics on sexual energy, and everyone remembers Tems’ verse better than starboy’s tiring “vibe-y” lyrics in Essence.
Nobody is asking Wizkid to be profound or to even make sense but, at least, give us vivid imagery of what you’re talking about. It’s perhaps why he comes second-best in some of the songs where he featured other artistes. On Roma, Wizkid’s prodigy, Terri, sounds exciting, confident, and clearly bests his boss. Burna Boy also provides the activation energy on Ginger, outweighing the blandness of whatever Wizkid is saying.
Perhaps we were filled with expectations that Made In Lagos would be an album detailing the struggles of living in Lagos, but to Wizkid, it’s just about him being a product of the city. The closest to our ‘supposed’ concept of Made In Lagos is Blessed, where both Damian Marley and Wizkid look back to their previous years and are thankful for the blessings of the Most-High. “Let’s celebrate life/Kick back and take five/And give thanks to the source that create life.”
Overall, Made In Lagos is a step forward for Wizkid. We somehow have to accept the current sonic pedestal Wizkid is on. The theme is so clear, it’s all about the thrilling feelings of love and everything associated with it. Gone are the club-banging sounds of Soco or inspirational messages of No Lele. Made In Lagos is big, polished, feature-packed, and loaded with radio and playlist friendly records. It’s the type of album that will boost streams but it runs contrary to what made Wizkid appealing in the first place.