Wiz Kid invites us to dine with him on this sophomore Project but he is too busy bickering over irrelevant stuff to realize that what he serves us at this party is stale for the most parts. At 18 tracks, ‘AYO’ is as ordinary as ever, with no particular form of brightness or color. It’s a sad shame. ‘Celebrate’ is supposed to tell a positive story of togetherness and positivity and focus, but Mr. Balogun doesn’t do much on the Shizzi production.
‘AYO’ – the title track – is a great attempt at taking us a bit down memory lane. The song rests on the shoulders of the popular Reggae vibe, and production on it is fair. Lyrically, this is not bad as well. And that’s all there is to it.
The lyrics off ‘Show You The Money’ are clumsy, and the remix isn’t any different as it features a wobbly Tyga who struggles to keep up with the general weakness in melody with no real personal brilliance of his to brighten things. The song is just a waste of some dope beat but I doubt this concerns Wiz in any way, not like money is an object. Wale comes in on the previously released “Drop” but his delivery is a surprising fusion of lameness and rusty rhyming, so bad you begin to wonder if he was forced on the record altogether.
Wiz – who has been on the receiving end of a few knocks in the media for a number of activities that we won’t concern ourselves with here; especially his on-off, slightly-veiled discord with Davido – still enjoys a teeming, avid fan base so topping the iTunes chart shouldn’t be any tasking. But this Project is disturbingly weak, empty and a display of career inertia at best. I love this kid. I love how his music reaches across all the fabric of society into the international communities and all that, but the love shouldn’t stop us from saying things as they are, because this is an unexpected slide and we must admit.
‘Ojuelegba’ is a brilliant effort, strong and laden with positive substance plus an amazing production. It is one of the few worthy songs off the album, even though ‘AYO’ as a whole is a cold meal with no specific garnishing that makes us want to eat or rather play the tape a second time. Ironically, it is the older materials off the album that strike big conversations the most – which again is another angle from which to consider ‘AYO’ cold and stale maybe.
The glorious ‘Jaiye Jaiye’, the lewd ‘Caro’, and the amazing ‘Mummy Mi’ are some of the highlights of this record. ‘Omalicha’ and ‘Kind Love’ are okay efforts, but after those everything else is hogwash from our favorite Starboy. He enlists Banky W somewhere in the mix but even Mr. Wellington is incapable of making much of a strong thing out of the confusion that is ‘Dutty Whyne’. All Ayo Balogun really has in abundance are his descriptions of the female body and talks of how much his money is long. No real writing or singing skills, no improvements, nothing. This says a lot about the emptiness in ‘AYO’. Wiz is not the best Singer around, but he has served us some strong fiery vibes in the past; songs that rest on lazy lyrics and great productions so that in the end we nod and dance away his musical insufficiencies. But not anymore. He has since failed to improve; rather he relies on recycling his already tired lyrics, bringing forth a collection of timeworn deliveries that do not tickle our fancy. It is disappointing, his ineptitude is disappointing.
Ayo Balogun’s sophomore album is an 18-tracker that doesn’t arouse us in the least; rather it deadens whatever aspirations we have of the young man being the future of the Industry. ‘For You’ is made with a tune that modifies Mafikizolo’s hit song ‘Khona’ at best. It has Wiz featuring Akon on it but even the latter cannot resuscitate the dying effort that Wiz kid deposits in the studio. It is a painful effort as they both wade in the muddy waters of ‘For You’. And then you hear the lad ask: ‘are you feeling my singing?’ and you just want to kick the wall, or demand a refund after copping the album.
There are few highlights on this Project and another of them will be how Wiz attempted a fair move at redoing a Beyonce for the Album release. Again, the album cover is glorious and proudly African, something unexpected of the tattoo-wearing youngster. But that is all there is to ‘AYO’. There are no real issues discussed; no strong themes that address economic or societal imbalances, nothing really but a lousy set of vocals and lyrical mishmash all across.
Lyrically, this is still the weakest full length Project from an A-list all 2014 long, can’t nobody tell me nothing. Personally, I think Banky played a terrible role at mentoring the lad this time around, as this almost feels like an unmemorable 18 (+1) tracks put together after an unrestrained week of binges and sluggish, dispirited music-making in the EME Studios. Wiz Kid needs to wake up, this is not a good enough effort. The kid needs to wake the hell up!
‘In My Bed’ is cool but doesn’t deserve a mention because he fuses completely unrelated subjects on the song, plus it has his trademark shoddy lyrics. What else? I guess we are done here. Oh, the Seyi Shay collaboration… that one is astounding! Terrific composition and balance stand out the song. O’ my! The songbird breathes new life into a tired, lazy Wiz Kid helping notch the killer ‘In Love’. Her voice is soothingly convincingly seductive on the piece which details a love story of sorts. The joint is smooth as silk, resonates in us and does a lot more than words will explain. And it’s so amazing when we hear a Wiz delivery that is above par once more. We love how he made that a possibility on ‘In Love’. By and large, this song is the best new cut on the album, after which we could maybe spot ‘Ojuelegba’ somewhere in the narrative.
Go out there and cop the Album, listen and tell us what you think.
Henry Igwe (@ChibuzoHI)