Two years ago, I came up with a plan to write a weekly column about any music that I felt connected to. At that point I had already been through the process of writing reviews for art pieces and drama performances.
The idea of being a critic sometimes nauseates me; I find it incredibly difficult tearing down and over-analyzing the creative output of another artist. I find no joy in putting ratings to art because art is in itself spontaneous and personal. It is why one can find himself to be so in tune with an artist’s work this minute and in the next minute, he finds himself disconnected again. Art carries an emotional space, a vacuum that is to be filled by anyone who recognizes it.
Ckay’s “Boyfriend” EP is an enchanting body of work. For some reason, I have always known him as an irresistible music producer whose production catalogue fascinated me. It wasn’t until I saw him on stage in Jos during the CBN tour that I began to take serious notice of his merit as a recording artist. His set on that night was brief, but as the songs played, I lingered on in the sounds and I hoped that it was just the beginning; he was so talented.
That was 2019. The last two years, I’ve watched him blossom into his musical space. From the danceable “Way” to the beautiful and colourful “Love Nwantintin”, Ckay grew into the competitive Nigerian music scene. The well documented successes of Fireboy Dml, Oxlade, Omah Lay, and Joeboy did not deter him from his goal. He seemed to be moving towards a unique sound and he was not going to relent.
On “Boyfriend” The EP, We see a Ckay that has found his niche, We see the romantic, laid-back but sultry and sexy crooner who can toe the ages of afro fusion and blend some sounds while not losing sight of his most important quality; his ability to effortlessly make his voice become both the song and an extra layer of the instrument. The lead single “Felony” perfectly exemplifies this. It is the final testament of an artist who has found his place of comfort.
What you get with Ckay is an artist who is connected to the little nuances of the art and act of music. The funky “Kiss Me Like You Miss Me” is warm, infectious and infused with the right amount of energy. It is a music that exercises control and restraint in its appeal but also its message is simple. We find the romantic in Ckay singing to a loved one. Ckay makes love sound so beautiful and serene.
The dreamy “Show My Side” which features Amaarae is cool and cozy and compliments “Jeje de Whine” a track of heavenly whispers. The seductive quality of this track surprises me with each listen but that is a story for another day.
In “Isabella” the rhythm captures Ckay in a way that most dancers would love; I mean, I found myself dancing in my head to an imaginary girlfriend. That tells you a lot about the track’s quality because I am hopeless when it comes to anything dance related.
“Skoin Skoin” finds Ckay engaging the complexities of romance with some of the most beautiful laid-back melodies on the album, featuring Bianca Costa, the laid-back track is actually my favorite of the lot because of the way Ckay presents the little nuances of our perceptions of our partners in simple music. He talks about finding his partner annoying in some ways but loving her nonetheless.
On “Mezebu” with the enigmatic Oxlade, we find a jam that is a blend of some of the most beautiful vocal work by Nigerian artistes.
With this EP, Ckay has arrived as the resident Lover boy of the music scene. He is both sweet, vulnerable, sultry and sexy.
The 7 tracks are a testament of an artist who has found the footing of his musical romance. Long May it continue.