As always, I preface my reviews on Waje by making a full disclosure that I am biased towards her art. No, I have never met her in person and she doesn’t even know I exist, but as most of her fans will tell you, we are okay just having her incredible vocal talent as part of the Nigerian music industry. She has been consistent as a vocal powerhouse, projecting her very strong voice over meaningful lyrics spanning love balads and social conscience issues without thought for cheap commercialization. Until now that is.
You see, this EP aptly titled WAJE 2.0 – is set up as a sort of rebirth for the Artiste. She has not been shy over the years about how the lack of extreme commercialization has affected her music journey. She is a commercial success by any measure, but you can appreciate that her refusal to jump on every beat just to trend on the radio station playlist, comes at a cost. So I can forgive her for this her attempt, which from all indications is her trying to take herself less seriously and just have fun.
The songs are driven primarily by uptempo beats heavy on the bass and, for the first time, sacrificing deep meaningful lyrics or vocal maneuvers that she has been known for in the past. I mean, there is “Fanta Baby, Coca-Cola Baby” as part of the very catchy ‘RARA’ track that is reminiscent of the ‘dance out’ songs used by couples at every Lagos wedding. It should have opened the entire album in my opinion, to set the stage for the listener not to expect the usual Waje.
Sadly, that was the only track that earned multiple replays from me. Granted, I’m an old man who grew up in Lagos a la Yinka Ayefele and Sunny Ade. The kind of music you didn’t need to be intoxicated to appreciate. Thankfully though, Waje included the tracks ‘Everything’ and ‘In-Between’ which reminded us that she hadn’t completely thrown away the vocal dexterity and meaningful lyrics we have grown accustomed to. The track ‘Everything’ was perfectly positioned on the album to slow us down from the high of RARA. Genius.
Overall, the album scores 3 out of 5 stars ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ not because it deviated from the brilliance I know she is still capable of, but because the first 3 tracks, which were supposed to introduce us to her cheesy commercial side, fell flat. The Tiwa Savage feature was as unnecessary as the entire Track 3 – ‘ALL DAY’. Pointless, super brief, lack luster and thrown in almost as a token. It did the entire album a disservice if you ask me… but you didn’t. So please disagree fiercely with me in the comment section below (or on Twitter) but only after you have listened to her entire album. See y’all around peeps.
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I need some time to digest the EP.