Nigerian music has been consistently pushing boundaries and gaining global recognition over the past decade, with artists constantly evolving and experimenting with different sounds.
Asake, a Nigerian-born superstar, songwriter, and performer, has mesmerized audiences worldwide with his soulful vocals and captivating songs. Released on June 15, the singer delivers a musical masterpiece that transcends boundaries and showcases his extraordinary talent while offering a refreshing take on contemporary Afrobeats.
The Afrobeats star’s relentless rise continues with another summery mashup of fuji, dancehall, deep club, and Dire Straits 10 months after his first album.
His second album, ‘Work of Art’, opens with the thoughtful song “Olorun,” in which he first exalts the Yoruba Supreme Being before praising himself. He says he is a totally new man. He shares tales of his travels and revels in success.
In “Awodi,” his second song in the album, he talks about how his major success in 2022 started with the EP of the same name, where he explains his goal to “Trabaye.” And by the end of the year, he had become the best in the industry, producing hits that topped the charts. Although less warm, the song is nonetheless cheerful. Asake’s gentle tone is comforting as he sings of escaping the slums.
On “What’s Up My G,” melancholic notes add solemnity, and as Amapiano’s signature log-drum beat creates a light pulse, he deftly changes the cadence and tone of his voice. His agile delivery suggests that his wealth has multiple facets. Also, the chorus of voices behind him depicts his braggadocio as a spiritual act when he counts off designer labels and expensive cars. According to him, “If you don’t feel blessed, you won’t be blessed,” he informed ABC News.
“Whoever has riches should act like a king,” is a Yoruba adage, or proverb, that has a similar ring to it.
On “Basquiat,” he makes it clear that the “work of art” that his album’s name alludes to is, in fact, him. The song’s choruses serve as a gentle reminder that celebration may and should involve a community effort. He may be drawn to amapiano because, according to South African musician Thandiswa Mazwai, it illustrates “how radical Black joy can be.” Naturally, some of Work of Art’s most captivating tunes are upbeat.
“Sunshine” is a reassuring balm that captures the warmth of time spent with loved ones with its bubbling synths and rising vocal harmonies.
He speaks up like a successful hip-hop star on “2:30,” describing himself as a work of art and an excellent person, boasting about being the man of the moment and being alone at the top. He addresses these moments in between his celebrations when he bothers to get a little intimate. As he celebrates in “2:30,” he highlights his abilities and makes fun of others for attempting to imitate him.
“2:30” also allows the bass beats to echo like the talking drums of “fuji”.
The song “Amapiano,” which features Baddo, sheds some light on his strategy. The bass synths of amapiano’s “Great Guy” are transformed into a pure, rumbling sound, and the artist is obviously proud of himself.
Meanwhile, “Yoga” turns traditional séga, music produced by Africans in slavery in Réunion and Mauritius, into a contemporary call for peace. He addresses individualism in the song by arguing for the right to live and let live.
Asake learned to appreciate Nigerian music through the works of artists like Fela Kuti, Ayinla Omowura, and Wande Coal.
Overall, Asake’s album, “Work of Art”, is a testament to his talent and potential as an artist. He showcases his versatility and ability to create music that resonates with listeners on a deep and personal level. “Work of Art” is an album that further solidifies Asake’s position as a talented artist in the Nigerian music industry and beyond.