Renowned Afropop and Banku Music superstar Mr Eazi launches a unique art and music collaboration with 13 artists from across Africa for his first studio album coming later this year. New artworks created in response to each album track fuse music and art conveying intense emotion and will be featured in a multi-sensory exhibition experience to take place in Lagos, Accra, London and New York. The London exhibition will take place at 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair at Somerset House from 12-15 October.
Mr Eazi has become one of the giants of modern African music. Known for his afrobeat classics ‘Skintight’ (2016) and ‘Leg Over’ (2017), the critically acclaimed mixtape series ‘Life is Eazi’ (2017 2018), and EPs ‘One Day You’ll Understand’ (2020) and ‘Something Else’ (2021). To date, Mr Eazi has collaborated with the who’s who of international superstars including Beyoncé, J Balvin, Bad Bunny, Burna Boy and Nicki Minaj.
The album will feature Mr Eazi’s most personal work, as he dives deeply into subjects like love, betrayal, loneliness, and family, expressed through three distinctive acts. A first-ofits-kind fusion of African music and art, was recorded over a two-year period between Ouidah and Cotonou, Benin; Kigali, Rwanda; Accra and Kokrobite, Ghana; Lagos, Nigeria; London, UK; Los Angeles and New York City, USA. The album is a musical scrapbook including many music collaborators and blends afrobeats, afropop, gospel, hiplife, highlife and folklore into a fresh and organic pan-African fusion.
During the album’s two-year and multi-country recording process Mr Eazi forged relationships with visual artists whose work he encountered. Noting a lack of collaboration between Africa’s exploding pop music scene and the continent’s fine art creators, Mr Eazi joined forces with 13 artists to enhance the album experience.
Each artist who has collaborated with Mr Eazi on the album was personally invited in a process he describes as ‘informal and instinctual’. The artists work in the medium of painting and range in their own career trajectory from emerging to established artists. Each individual was given true creative freedom based on the music in the song.
The artists are: Alpha ODH (Nairobi, Kenya), Chinaza Nkemka (Lagos, Nigeria), Dominique Zinkpe (Cotonou, Benin), Edozie Anedu (Lagos, Nigeria), Elangwe Sesse (Cameroon), Ikechukwu Christian (Lagos, Nigeria), Kufa Makwavarara (Zimbabwe/South Africa), Patricorel (Cotonou, Benin), Samuel Tete-Katchan (Accra, Ghana), Sandra Seghir (Dakar, Senegal), Sinalo Ngcaba (Cape Town, South Africa), Tammy Sinclair (Abuja, Nigeria), Tesprit (Lomé, Togo).
On the artworks and artist selection, Mr Eazi says
Inviting artists to create for the album was from my passion for creativity and expression. I formed a true bond with many of my artist friends. The artworks visually unlock the ideas, emotion, and energy within my music.
In anticipation of the full album and exhibition experience, two artworks have been unveiled which were created for the single ‘Chop Time, No Friend’. The artworks are by Sesse Elangwe (b. 1994) a Cameroonian visual artist who lives and works in San Antonio, Texas, and South African artist Sinalo Ngcaba (b. 1995). Sesse Elangwe’s painting titled ‘The Way I See It’ (2023), is a combination of collage, acrylic and chalk on canvas featuring clippings from newspapers about Mr Eazi, along with graffiti style markings and a solitary figure in the centre of it all. Ngcaba’s piece ‘Chop Time No Friend’, is an introspective portrait of Mr Eazi created with oil and acrylic on canvas.
MR Eazi is a musical innovator, business leader and philanthropist. As a recording artist, the Nigerian multihyphenate is the voice behind afropop hits “Pour Me Water,” “Skin Tight” and “Leg Over,” as well as groundbreaking collaborations with the likes of Beyoncé and J Balvin, and the creator of Banku Music, a fusion of Ghanaian and Nigerian sounds and culture. A serial entrepreneur, he founded emPawa Africa in 2018 as a talent incubator program designed to accelerate the careers of African artists. Hailed by CNN, Rolling Stone, Billboard and Forbes for its innovative approach to expanding African music’s global reach, emPawa Africa has since grown into one of Africa’s largest independent music companies, with a track record of breaking global stars like Joeboy and Major League Djz. Mr Eazi has clocked over 4 billion streams of his songs across DSPs, making him one of the most streamed African artists worldwide.
@mreazi @twitter & Spotify