Recently, boohooMAN collaborated with Nigerian singer, songwriter and entrepreneur, Mr Eazi. We worked together to create a fresh tracksuit edit, and we are as impressed with the results as we are with Mr Eazi’s smooth, Afrobeat sounds.
In less than a decade, this artist has succeeded in pioneering his very own style of music, called Banku music. Here’s everything you need to know about the African powerhouse that is Mr Eazi and what makes his Nigerian afrobeat music so easy to listen to.
Who is Mr Eazi?
Mr Eazi was born Oluwatosin Oluwole Ajibade in Port Harcourt, the capital of Rivers State in Nigeria, on 19 July 1991. In 2007, when he was 16, he moved from Lagos to Ghana where he enrolled in a mechanical engineering programme at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Kumasi.
It seems that Mr Eazi perhaps had more of a calling for music than mechanical engineering because in 2012, he launched his music career with the single, “Pipi Dance”. The single was followed by “Bankulize”, featuring Pappy Kojo, in collaboration with UK-based DJ Juls. Mr Eazi released his 13 track, debut mixtape About to Blow in July 2013.
The dancehall-influenced single “Skin Tight”, featuring guest vocals from Efya, a Ghanaian singer, gained an international audience and renditions and house remixes soon followed.
His second mixtape, Life Is Eazi, Vol 1 – Accra to Lagos was released on 10 February 2017. It debuted at number four on the Billboard World Albums chart. Mr Eazi has said the mixtape is a tribute to Nigeria and Ghana, the two countries that have influenced the evolution of his Banku sound. Life is Eazi, Vol 2 – Lagos To London was released 9 November 2018.
Mr Eazi’s career highlights
Although he’s not yet even 29, Mr Eazi is proving to be quite a global trailblazer. Not only has he released two mixtapes and won numerous accolades for his Banku music, but he’s excelling at business and social enterprise as well. Having dabbled in several business enterprises, Mr Eazi launched his emPAWA Accelerator Programme in 2018, establishing a platform to empower 100 African musicians a year.
The program awards up-and-coming Nigerian artists with a grant to spend on filming a music video, and Mr Eazi provides these musicians with mentorship, marketing services and other support.
As for Mr Eazi’s music, he has released three mixtapes, and two of his collaborations have featured on the Top 20 in the UK charts. His collaboration with RAYE, Decline, which was released in 2017, reached number 15; Bad Vibes featuring M.O and Lotto Boyzz, which was released in 2018, got to number 18. His track, Bad, with Steel Banglez made it to number 29.
In April 2019, he performed at the Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival.
His recent single, Kpalanga, which was released in January 2020, is a gorgeously mellow track. Kpalanga translates to Go Crazy, and the track is dedicated to servicemen and women around the world.
Mr Eazi’s music style
Mr Eazi describes Banku music as a fusion sound, that is, a mixture of Ghanaian highlife and Nigerian melodies. Highlife is a music genre that is typically played with Western instruments, but the structures of the music can be traced to Akan music from present-day Ghana.
What makes Mr Eazi’s afrobeat music even more special is his deep voice, laid back vocals with ballad-like qualities, and his use of Ghanaian Pidgin English. Add to that the percolating rhythms and the R&B vibe, and you’ve got a truly unique music genre.
If you’d like to experience the contemporary West African pop genre that is Afrobeats for yourself, look up Mr Eazi. And while you’re here, take a look at our latest tracksuit edit, designed in collaboration with the hottest independent artist on the Afrobeats music scene.
CHECK OUT MR EAZI’S TRACKSUIT EDIT: