Made in Lagos and Wizkid fc have been in a toxic relationship for the past 3 years; they have been faithful but gaslighted and cheated on at almost every turn, during the promotion of sound from the other side, Wizkid was already talking about the next one- Made in Lagos; he said “the next one, people will understand”, he teased about dropping it in October of 2018 and fans waited and were left disappointed, December of that year fans thought they were getting the album but instead got a new track “Fever” and a festival called “Made in Lagos”. 2019 came with so many teased dates but October felt like the month we were finally going to get it but instead we got “Joro” and Starboy fest in which he shut down the 02 arena for the second time; a legendary night for Afrobeats one for the history books.
As the date moves further away some music fans started to question whether he had lost his mojo and fans started becoming agitated and aggressively asked for the album until he whet their appetite in December 2019 with a surprise “Soundman vol1” extended play but fans weren’t satisfied and from all indication Wizkid hinted fans that they would be getting the album in the first half of year 2020 but Covid-19 happened and fans started to worry that they might have another detox on hand.
After months of social media silence he went on to his Instagram to thank everybody that was involved in creating this album and teased the date as July 16 fans again got their hopes high but instead we got the first single “Smile”, but I couldn’t help but think that he had become too comfortable with making low tempo songs (since the beginning of 2018) and he had pigeonholed himself. At this point we start to get a sense of what ‘Made in Lagos’ was about. ‘Made in Lagos’ started with the wrong rollout. From the title it gave the audience an expectation of local Yoruba gbedu, when the first single “Smile” dropped, it was met with mixed reactions because the expectation of a gbedu and a low-fi reggae beat with heavy bass are totally opposing. The first artwork followed these mixed reactions when the artwork showed of notable Lagos landmarks it triggered the excitement for our gbedu.
During the month leading to the album, we also started seeing clips and pictures of different parts and lifestyle of Lagosians. Wizkid also pushed this idea forward with change in jewelry adding the Nigerian flag ring to his collection during his activism by speaking up against the police brutality- END SARS movement, when he also shared that he has been a victim of police brutality in Nigeria. The actual narrative of “Made in Lagos” actually came to light with the visuals of ‘Smile’. It showed Wizkid’s state of mind, showcasing his blessings (his children). With his laid-back vibe he portrays he is at peace with himself. Leading to the release, Wizkid talks about his state of mind and the maturity and respect he has gotten from the craft, the conscious planning he took in planning and creating the project.
On “Reckless” the opening track, Wizkid lets us into his current state of mind; he talks about the misconception he keeps getting “I no dey give a man more than what he deserve cause dey still dey bite the hand wey dey feed them” and goes on to say that after all said and done they will still play his music, ascertaining himself the top dog. He talks about his family and they are the only ones he is going to go the mile for. Funny how he said “we go still shout amazing grace” and ends the project with a tracked titled grace. “Ginger” opens with a Burna boy assist leading Wizkid to assert the execution. The production is absolute madness, The 1:48 mark of this song is a jam with Burna adlibs all over your expectation of getting a verse to no avail; that switch up by Burna at the 2:41 mark is euphoric.
Wizkid opens “longtime” with a balance adlibs that prepares the Skepta delivery. You notice the drop in the beat has similarities with bad energy. Wizkid changed that with his approach on the track, the drop later helped with the balance it up, the electric guitar infused the record to be enjoyable but the track could have been shorter. On all Wizkid albums we have gotten different variations of whine from “slow whine” to “dutty whyne” to “dirty wine” now we have “mighty wine” which is one of coziest moment on this album. Wizkid talks about his lover and how he reacts, the horns carry the record support with the echo, although this was a little too, long could have made it short to create a smooth landing for “blessed”.
The record opens with the hustle and bustle of Lagos, the lady hawking her cold mineral and the trader ringing his bell to attract buyers, the horns opening the record provided the fresh breath for Damian Marley to open the track “I might be rough around the edges, maybe yes/ I keep it nappy and I do what makes me happy and nobody can deny me that I’m blessed” Damian talks about life and his sons; almost like they are both experiencing the same thing. Wizkid opens up about some of his struggles and the disappointment he has received and enjoying life with guys. He also prays for his children (his blessings), he talks about his state of mind at the moment for now he doesn’t want any competition he just wants to live a simple life and appreciate everything that comes from his output and he isn’t pressured. This song sums up the album and his state of mind.
“Smile” is such a beautiful record with the visuals you appreciate the message about him learning from his mistakes and he talks about his commitment to do anything for his love (children, friends, lovers family), H.E.R appreciates her lover and sings how he makes her smile. They both complement each other on the record. The heavy bass with low-fi Reggae instrumental was a perfect choice as it makes you want to step as Wizkid showcases his Caribbean flow, the bass ending creates a perfect landing for “piece of me”, the solo guitar throughout the record was kind of distracting, both artists came through with their delivery and were so in sync with each other, but the beat could be delivered differently.
“No Stress” is the complete song that gives us Wizkid in his vibe. He was conscious and playful on the record the production would also help you dance better, the adlibs, echo, change of flows, makes this record standout. He represents that in the visuals- special shout out to Meji Alabi for portraying the right images.
Juls opens “true love” with laid back drop allowing Tay Iwar to move within his realm with an exertional tone. This allowed him to show his maturity in the sound and the delivery, displaying his Alté influence on this one. To show you he listens to the new cats in Lagos, Wizkid flips with his Caribbean vibe. The bass guitar here is a joy to listen to. The transition to Projexx with his reggae flow took this song to another level. He comes home here with “sweet one” with the local slangs infusion in his raw Wizkid element. The horns here might not be appreciated enough because of the high influence it has on the record, but this record is one of the finest moments of the album.
The outro creates a good place for “essence” to land. Tems wins us over with her power voice opens the floor up to dance. Wizkid flowed with the same pace complementing her so well. Wizkid finally feeds the gbedu appetite and he taps Starboy Terri giving him the platform to shine and Terri grabbed it with both hands. His delivery was top notch; safe to say his best so far. Black Jerzee trusted to drop a gbedu vibe was the right pick and an interesting one with the highlife influence.
Wizkid closes Made in Lagos in celebration alluding that we should all embrace our struggles and be positive. He prays we all see the light. “Gryate” is a feel-good record to appreciate everyone whose been riding with him and in the same spirit he ends with amazing “Grace”; he’s at peace with himself and talks again about his struggles and reflecting on his journey so far “dem no fit run my race, steady I dey my lane”.
The project is cohesive in its central theme. Made in Lagos shows Wizkid is influenced strongly by Lagos. He shows his variety as a bad boy which he is, and a man who has “blown” like the dream of almost every Lagosian hustling to make it out of the streets and now he is enjoying the proceeds of his success with his family, also portraying his state of mind at every opportunity he gets, he is at peace. Special shoutout to P2J who produced more than 60% of the records. The horns and saxophone throughout this album are a beauty. The production is very incredible and Wizkid’s switch in flow is commendable too. You see his growth in making sure he gets his flows balance and the details in his adlibs too are excellent, this shows the planning and process put to make this project which you would appreciate once you understand the theme Made in Lagos.