Wizkid’s ‘More Love, Less Ego’ album is not Grammy worthy


Popular Nigerian singer, Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun, better known as Wizkid, requires no further introduction at this time. His record-breaking album Made in Lagos solidified his position as the most well-known Nigerian/Afrobeats artist, if it wasn’t already. The Star Boy has released More Love, Less Ego, possibly the most eagerly awaited album of the year, two years after that groundbreaking project.

His hot 2020 hit with Tems, “Essence,” was inundated with attention thanks to its sleek riddim and elegant modal drone. And Wizkid has honed his sound to a tuneful tee over the course of his career. A lot of loud anthems were used in earlier projects. However, the signature Wizkid song is distinguished by soft chords and gentle drumbeats. Meanwhile, his vocals are hidden within the track and sound like a lot of close-knit conversation.

However, More Love, Less Ego is just an average album. It coasts around Wizkid’s comfort zone and wouldn’t have earned him a 2023 Grammy Awards nominations even if the album was released during the entry window.

This is officially Wizkid’s fifth studio album, which is a relatively low total given that he has been continuously active in the industry for more than ten years. He almost immediately became a superstar. He made a name for himself with the legendary, timeless songs “Pakurumo,” “Don’t Dull,” “Tease Me,” and “Holla at Your Boy” on his album of the same name. Despite the fact that it took him some time to follow Superstar up, he managed to keep his position at the fore of Afrobeats with a variety of unique singles and features that cemented him as a pioneer and trendsetter.

The production of the album is the simplest means by which More Love, Less Ego transmits this motivation. Producer P2J, as well as other individuals like Juls, Sammy Soso, Tay Iwar, and others, deserve a major portion of the credit for this. More Love, Less Ego is an unified and well-produced body of work, and its musical composition is designed to unite people. The beauty of afrobeats is actually far more than that. The genre requires dance and freedom from rigid physical restraints at its quickest tempo, and at its slowest tempo, it creates space for passion—whether subdued or smoldering—to float through the air and influence people surrounding. On More Love, Less Ego, this is evident between the spectrum of the slow and steamy “Flower Pads” and the lively and upbeat “Bad To Me.”

More Love, Less Ego track list

“Money & Love” sets the tone for More Love, Less Ego right away. Wizkid quickly settles into his routine, luring a potential partner with his sexual and material ability. “Big lollipop, baby lick like ice cream, Big bad Wiz, Mr. Shift-Your-Panties,” sings Wizkid over a catchy groove composed of rumbling percussions, swinging drums, lush melodies, and soothing bass guitars. Fuck you to Buju Banton or Buju Benson, girl, I’m going to make you sing to any album. The confidence with which Wizkid delivers his rhymes is infectious. He sings the line, “My money’s long from L.A to Okokomaiko,” with the same opulent swagger that performers like Rick Ross convey.

The next song is “Balance,” and the instrumental grabs my attention right immediately. Although the beat first appears to follow the Wizkid song format (simple driving drumline and minimal chords), the varied sounds chosen by producers Kel P and KDaGreat give the song a distinctive flavor. 80s pop may be heard in the percussion and shimmering electronic pianos.

Before the album’s release, the lead track, “Bad to Me,” was made available. It pays homage to the Amapiano movement that is currently sweeping the continent. Sharp snares are interspersed throughout the rattling shakers, thudding log drums, bouncy guitar synths, and straightforward electric piano melodies.

“2 Sugar,” a song with Ayra Starr, comes next. The vulnerability and depth in the songwriting are displayed in this song.

The song “Everyday” opens with a voiceover that discusses the meaning of the album’s name and the distinction between ego and love.

From beginning to end, “Slip N Slide” is a seductive, erotic tune. To give the song a genuine Dancehall rawness, Wizkid enlists Shenseea and Skillibeng, two Dancehall sensations.

One of the album’s quicker songs is “Deep.” Wizkid admits to his sweetheart that he isn’t in it for love and only wants to be intimate with her.

“Flower Pads” proceeds in nearly the same direction. A voiceover declares at the beginning of the song, “This one’s nasty.” And it most certainly is. This song, in contrast to “Deep,” is more enjoyable to listen to.

“Wow” follows immediately after that. The instrumental’s boisterous mallets and percussion-heavy drums are reminiscent of “Soco.” Once more serving as a stylistic link, Wizkid brings together Naira Marley’s local street energy and Skepta’s international swagger.

P.Priime creates “Pressure,” whose effect is quickly felt. I start to question why Wizkid didn’t hire additional producers in light of this. Although P2J is unquestionably gifted, many of the beats he produced share the same components. P.Priime gives the album new life; his drumming has a different angle with subtle rolls and live accents; his chords have a different feel, including jazzy flourishes; and he uses the Amapiano log drums in combination with 808s to give them a unique zest.

I’m brought back down from the high of “Pressure” by “Plenty Loving.” The song, which was produced by P2J and is influenced by Amapiano, features structured shakers, percussions, rippling log drums, a simple 2-chord progression, and accents from the saxophone and flute. Wizkid uses perhaps two or three different vocal patterns in the song, keeping the melodies straightforward as well.

The sixth and final song, “Special,” supports what I previously said about the advantages of working with various producers. With highlife-inspired guitars and low frequency kick drums underpinning his signature percussion, Juls gives the song his signature laid-back vibe.

The album More Love, Less Ego shows the least progression in Wizkid’s discography. On the majority of songs, the melodies he selects start to meld together and sound familiar. The few outliers stand out obviously as a result of their rarity. He rarely deviates from his voice range while at rest. Rarely does he use harmonies and improv to support his voice in his songs. Given the album’s title, it was a little disappointing that there didn’t seem to be any lyrical development or emotional vulnerability. The songs that are primarily about sex have the sharpest topical emphasis. The remaining lyrics are about love, money, and feminine bodies.

There isn’t even a hint of personality in the form of beliefs, life stories, wishes, or any other characteristics that enable artists to develop close relationships with their listeners. The tracks don’t seem to have been written or produced with a lot of thought or effort.

It is telling that none of the songs on this album are out rightly bad, even as none of them are unmistakably horrible.

That said, More Love, Less Ego wouldn’t have bagged any Grammy nominations even if it was released during the 2023 entry window.

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