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By Emmanuel Chidera Amoke

Artistry is often a reflection of the artist’s personality and experiences, shaping the uniqueness of their creations. July blessed us with a collection of albums that showcased the diversity and talent of musicians from different backgrounds. These albums not only graced our moments but also resonated with audiences on a profound level.

Kizz Daniel: Maverick

The Nigerian hit maker, Kizz Daniel released his Maverick album on July 28 and it garnered massive responses from fans and critics alike. Known for his catchy tunes and infectious energy, Kizz Daniel’s recent album was eagerly anticipated. The album’s success can be attributed to the artist’s growth and evolution over the years. 

In his early days as a signee to G-Worldwide Entertainment, Kizz Daniel sought support from established stars like Davido and Tiwa Savage, who featured on the remix of his hit song “Woju.” However, as he matured as an artist, Kizz Daniel became more confident in his craft, no longer relying on co-signs to make hits. This growth and evolution is evident in his recent recruitment of a new artist to his label FlyBoy INC. Pryme being the first signee to FlyBoy INC was also featured on Maverick in the track “Show You Off.” 

Maverick boasts a 20-track project featuring collaborations with some of Africa’s best talents, including Pryme, Johnny Drille, Blaqbonez, and Yemi Alade. Notably, Kizz Daniel’s children Jalil and Jelani also get a tribute on the album in the song “Feran You Two,” adding a personal touch to the project. 

The album’s pre-released tracks, such as “Buga” featuring Tekno, “Cough(Odo)” featuring Becky G, “RTID (Rich Till I Die),” and “Shu-Peru,” were all massive hits even before the album’s release, intensifying the albums anticipation. “Buga,” in particular, transcended borders, captivating audiences across Africa and the world. 

Kizz Daniel’s lyrical prowess shines through in tracks like “My G” and “Anchovy,” where he confidently addresses detractors and speaks his mind unapologetically. With lines like “I get manager/So don’t worry about me, worry about your hairline/Underrated, but I’m still cashing out/E go shock you say I get money pass your fav,” Kizz Daniel proves his ability to create quotable and relatable lyrics. 

Overall, Maverick marks a promising era in Kizz Daniel’s musical career. The album’s success and its ability to appeal to a wide audience solidify his position as one of Africa’s top artists, and with his official introduction of his first signee, he prepares to compete with industry veterans like Don Jazzy, Olamide, Davido, and Wizkid. 

Shallipopi: Planet Pluto

Shallipopi, one of Nigeria’s fast rising artists with a distinct musical style, released his debut EP Planet Pluto on July 10, 2023. The album showcases Shallipopi’s unique blend of Afrobeats and conversational street tone, capturing the attention of listeners who were initially skeptical of his music. Like artists Portable and Naira Maley before him, Shallipopi’s rise in popularity can be attributed to his creation of a distinct musical pattern and good timing. 

Shallipopi’s virality gained momentum with his hit single “Elon Musk,” which introduced him to the mainstream. The song’s mischief-toned groove, combined with references to the world of digital trade and Bitcoin, resonated with young Nigerians, endearing him to a wider audience. 

Planet Pluto opens with “OBAPLUTO,” a captivating track that sets the album’s tone with signature log drums and an alluring mystique. Throughout the EP, Shallipopi delves into various themes, from hedonistic dancefloors in “EX-CONVICT” to the theme of love in “MELANIN TOUCH.” His ability to effortlessly switch between different styles while maintaining his unique identity showcases his versatility as an artist. 

Collaborations with Zlatan and Fireboy DML on the remix of “ELON MUSK” further cemented Shallipopi’s appeal and solidified his position in the music industry. 

Shallipopi’s ability to craft anthemic records is evident in “AHEAD AHEAD,” where he demonstrates a keen awareness of his audience’s preferences and expectations. The EP’s standout track, “MELANIN TOUCH,” departs from Shallipopi’s usual style, delving into the theme of love with direct and vivid storytelling. This display of versatility showcases his willingness to explore new dimensions in his music, making PlanetPluto an EP that resonates with listeners across genres. 

In conclusion, Planet Pluto benefits from Shallipopi’s spontaneity of thought, presenting a collection of energetic records that shed light on contemporary Nigeria’s cultural activities, especially among the youth. The album’s overall vibe and Shallipopi’s charismatic persona contribute to its success and resonance with listeners, establishing Shallipopi as a promising artist in the vibrant Nigerian music industry. 

Lil Kesh: Rhythm & Tunes 

Lil Kesh released his six-track EP Rhythm & Tunes on July 21, 2023. The EP features collaborations with hitmakers such as Zinoleesky, Joeboy, Chike, and Young Jonn. Lil Kesh’s music is known for its catchy melodies and braggadocious lyrics, and Rhythm & Tunes is no exception. 

The EP opens with the melodic stunner “Bus Stop,” where Lil Kesh crafts one of his best love tunes yet. The track showcases Lil Kesh’s ability to create captivating melodies while maintaining his signature flows. The EP then progresses into a collection of hits that are enjoyable but may not offer many surprises. While the project aligns with the mainstream Afrobeats sound, Lil Kesh’s distinct musical style and confident delivery still shine through. 

Rhythm & Tunes serves as an appetizer ahead of Lil Kesh’s highly anticipated sophomore album, generating excitement among his fans. With collaborations featuring some of the industry’s hottest acts, the EP demonstrates Lil Kesh’s ability to connect with both established and up-and-coming artists, solidifying his position as a prominent figure in the Nigerian music scene. 

Cheque: Chequemate

Nigerian Afro-trap singer and songwriter Cheque released his latest EP, Chequemate, on July 27, 2023. The six-track EP marks his third project since breaking into the music scene in 2020 with the infectious single “Zoom” from his Razor EP. Cheque’s music is known for its seamless blend of trap beats and Afrobeats elements, appealing to a diverse audience of trap and Afrobeats enthusiasts. 

The EP reflects Cheque’s bold and daring personality, with lyrics centered on themes of family, prosperity, love, and positivity. Collaborations with Fireboy DML and Crayon add moments of Afro-pop brilliance, showcasing Cheque’s ability to create captivating musical experiences. 

Chequemate opens with the motivational track “Shine,” incorporating traditional Hip-Hop sounds to deliver an uplifting message. The Fireboy-assisted “Hustler” reflects on both artists’ journey to success, reminiscing about their previous collaboration on the hit track “History” from Cheque’s debut album, Bravo.

The EP also features the track “Way Too Young,” an ode to youthful energy, and “LPD,” which stands for “Louis (Vuitton), Prada, and Dior,” exuding braggadocious vibes with edgy delivery and confidence-laced lyrics. 

Another highlight of the EP is “Sunflawa,” featuring Crayon. This track, which was pre-released as a single, captures the essence of Cheque’s style, blending trap beats and Afro-pop elements to create a captivating backdrop for the duo to croon about their love interests. 

The EP concludes with “God Bless Me,” where Cheque fully embraces his essential trap music element. This track reaffirms Cheque’s authenticity and his commitment to his unique style, making it a powerful ending to the project. 

Overall, Chequemate is a testament to Cheque’s growth and artistry as an artist. With each track showcasing his passion, talent, and dedication to delivering exceptional music, the EP solidifies his position as an artist who doesnt mind being consistent with his style, even though it moves away from the mostly energetic Nigerian music style. His seamless blend of trap and Afrobeats, paired with captivating storytelling and collaborations with other talented artists, creates an EP that leaves a lasting impact on listeners and showcases Cheque’s potential for continued success. 

Adekunle Gold: Tequila Ever After

Adekunle Gold’s album Tequila Ever After, released on July 28, 2023, is a musical masterpiece that showcases the artist’s growth in his musical career. The album’s title, Tequila Ever After, not only reflects Adekunle Gold’s witty and catchy style but also gives a glimpse into the overall theme of the work. 

Adekunle Gold shared that the making of the album was inspired by a life-changing shot of Tequila, which put him in a fantastic mood, inspiring a collection of his best music yet. This emotional depth and authenticity are evident throughout the album. 

The album opens with the captivating track “Chasing Peace Of Mind,” featuring the soulful voices of Ami Faku and Habib Koite. This beautifully crafted piece sets the tone for the rest of the album, showcasing Adekunle Gold’s mastery in blending melody with professional creativity and heartfelt lyrics. 

Throughout Tequila Ever After, themes of gratitude, self-love, and appreciation for life’s journeys resonate in almost every line of the songs. Adekunle Gold’s genuine artistry shines through as he takes listeners on an emotional journey. 

One of the album’s standout tracks is “Party No Dey Stop,” a collaboration with the incredibly talented Zinoleesky. This track, which was initially released as a single, quickly became a fan-favorite due to its infectious production, impeccable delivery, and the seamless artistic complementation of both acts. “Party No Dey Stop” undeniably stands as one of Adekunle Gold’s best works, leaving a lasting impression on listeners. 

As the album progresses, Adekunle Gold showcases a new side of himself, transitioning to a “Rock Star Mode” infused with a touch of Afro-Caribbean flair. Tracks like “Soro,” “Tio Baby,” and “Ogaranya” exude confidence and well-deserved bragging, reflecting Adekunle’s growth as an artist and his willingness to explore different musical styles. 

The collaborations on the album further highlight Adekunle Gold’s versatility as an artist. The song “Wrong Person” with OdumoduBlvk brings electrifying energy to the track, while “Look What You Made Me Do” with Simi delivers another powerful Afropop ballad with sharp-edged lyrics. 

Adekunle Gold pays homage to his Lagos heritage in “Omo Eko,” infusing Amapiano beats with his soulful voice, creating an irresistible and uplifting atmosphere. Through this track, he celebrates his roots and invites listeners to embrace their heritage, finding joy in being true to themselves. 

The album concludes with “All My Life,” a heartfelt ode to his lover, assuring her of his enduring love. The song’s catchy chorus and soulful melody showcase Adekunle Gold’s ability to captivate listeners with his emotional range, leaving fans eagerly anticipating his future endeavors. 

Tequila Ever After is a true testament to Adekunle Gold’s growth as an artist. Each track reflects his passion, talent, and dedication to delivering exceptional music, solidifying his position as a true musical talent in the industry. 

In conclusion, the albums released in July 2023 showcased a diverse range of musical styles, themes, and artistic expressions. These artists displayed growth, versatility, and a unique perspective in their music, leaving a significant impact on the contemporary Nigerian music scene. Each album reflected the individual artist’s personality and experiences, making them authentic representations of their artistry. These albums will undoubtedly continue to resonate with audiences for years to come, elevating the artists to even greater heights in their musical careers.

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