S2 by Wizkid: Soundman Strikes Again

S2 by Wizkid: Soundman Strikes Again

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Recently, I began to framework what a book on Wizkid might look like. Nothing concrete yet, but at this point of his career, it is a universal fact that he’s the most consequential artiste of his generation and arguably the greatest Afrobeats artiste of all time. One of the chapters I’ve jotted down is “The Cool Unruffleness of Wizkid”, which is inspired by the cucumber-cool persona of the man himself. He is the most aloof superstar we’ve ever seen – not in some ill-tempered way, not even in a surly manner; he’s just cool and unbothered with anything. He doesn’t release music no matter how loud the fans’ demands are, but he’ll do it when he decides he wants to. That mystique has served him well, and like Jay Z, any rumoured project is highly anticipated. Cue: Soundman 2, a four-track EP that is named after a 2019 predecessor, Soundman Vol. 1. This, however, is different, and it’ll only take one listen to show again why Wizkid is as revered as he is, as loved and wanted as he always is.

Ololufe featuring Wande Coal

When Wizkid released the track list to S2 two days before its release day, the hearts of a million millennial fans raced at the sight of this title. As far as Afrobeats classics go, one cannot go farther than the 2007 love ballad of the same title by Wande Coal. Regarding vocal greatness, you’ll be hard-pressed to find three voices superior to Wande Coal. When one now considers the enduring friendship between these two, it is understandable that many would think Wizkid’s Ololufe is a remix of Wande’s Ololufe. Not quite. The S2 version is sweet and mid-tempo and would have succeeded even without the log drums that make it unmistakably Amapiano. I know South Africans have been a little worried that Nigerians are “jacking” a sound that is theirs. Still, Wizkid is an example of why Nigerian acts are heads and shoulders above their African peers: the ability to straddle something that isn’t yours. Yes, this isn’t Amapiano from the townships of Jo’burg and Soweto. Wizkid doesn’t even try to make it that. But his floating on the beat and keys with that boyish voice, combined with the tenor of Wande Coal, makes it a unique version of Wizkid. The entirety of this record is a lush experience. You may call it “luxury Amapiano’, and you wouldn’t be wrong. Sorry S.A.


There’s a pocket of rhythm that Wizkid appears to have mastered by now. It started circa his third album, Sounds From The Other Side, where he combines the flow of hip-hop with the riddim of ragga before dissolving into a R&B type bridge and hook – all the while using Nigerian pidgin and Yoruba words. Everybody does it now, but nobody does it as effectively as Wiz, and he owns that lane. Diamonds provides a mellow contrast to the thumping tempo of the E.P.’s opening track. On it, Wizkid doesn’t try to be modest at all, singing, “Mr Big Wiz, Mr Bigman no one test/ Mr Louis V, sipping ‘42 with 20 girls…” Diamonds essentially is a flexing record. It’s a type of record you play while indeed sipping Don Julio 1942 and celebrating life. And for someone who only recently suffered the loss of his mother, who can begrudge Wizkid for unwinding. As he sings on the bridge, what will be will be. Although it is a lively tune that is bound to age well in his discography, he also uses it to hint at the other realities of life that fans may not be privy to: I fit to tell you why I live so dangerously/ Men dey go through things for real / But we dey sure we see better days. Speak on it, Brother Wizzy; speak on it.


The penultimate track on the E.P. sounds like it was recorded early morning, perhaps after a night of extreme pleasures – of ikebe and ‘jay. Those two are self-explanatory, no? If you’re in any confusion, Wizkid clears it up for you instantly: two thick babes and two slim babes will make any man’s night one for the record books, which is the theme for Energy. It’s another seductive record that Wiz has come to be known for since Fever. The melody is the attraction as it is the world’s interpretation of what an Afrobeats track sounds like, the five-beat pattern with strings and keys and the occasional drop of African percussion. The result is a smooth groove that allows the singer to croon on effortlessly. The incredible thing Wiz has been able to achieve with his style and sound is how he makes things look easy. Anybody could sing on this beat, but nobody can make it sound like Wizkid does. That’s special.

IDK featuring Zlatan Ibile

Another genuinely great attribute Wizkid possesses is an ability to give room for others to shine. He did with Tems, and the result is evident. He did with Burna Boy and everywhere shook. On IDK, he allows Zlatan to spazz out and fire off so many street quotables that are bound to inspire countless TikTok captions. Interestingly, as I write this, I’m in my office suite, which overlooks the TBS (Tafawa Balewa Square) that Zlatan references. I can see several people trying their bend-down select (thrift) clothing in time for Christmas. But I don’t think it’s spiteful; it’s just to draw a contrast to the point he is now where he collects VVS (diamonds). As expected, the verse has already attracted praise from the listening fans, but the baseline is where the gem truly is. It’s a slowed-down sample of Dennis Edward’s Don’t Look Any Further, made more famous by Biggie’s Get Money and 2pac’s Hit ‘Em Up. Who knew a flip into Afrobeats supported by choir vocals could make it sound this good? I can hear it performed in the O2 arena with a full orchestra or as a standalone acapella version. Let it be known that you heard it here first: IDK featuring Zlatan is one for the record books. Wait and see.

Overall, S2 is a sonic success, and kudos must go to P. Prime produced all four tracks. Wizkid is at a point in his life now where he’s super comfortable with his sound and knows how to operate it to perfection. It does just about enough to remind people why he’s still king and how he’s still very in tune with what the streets of Lagos desire. Ideally, he describes himself as Soundman. He was right when he first coined it and is right again on S2.

Jide Taiwo is a writer and media executive. His second book E File Fun Burna: The Incredible Stagecraft of Burna Boy, is available now.

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