Nigerian pop star Wizkid extends his global domination with Sounds From the Other Side | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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Nigerian pop star Wizkid extends his global domination with Sounds From the Other Side


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It’s difficult to talk about superstar Nigerian singer-­songwriter Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun, aka Wizkid, without describing his trajectory in terms of U.S. music history. That’s partially because his Afropop sound so thoroughly blends contemporary Western pop sensibilities with those of his own sub-Saharan background that it’s hard to see where one ends and the other begins. July’s Sounds From the Other Side, Wizkid’s first full-length since signing with RCA, is filled with joyous, frictionless combinations of ever-shifting Nigerian percussion and uncomplicated U.S. pop melodies, which Wizkid sings in English; he straddles these worlds so effortlessly that it feels as if there’s nothing to be straddled in the first place. Sounds gives further credence to a point that local writer David Drake made in a 2014 Fader feature—that Nigerian radio hits are providing the rubric for the future of Western pop. It doesn’t hurt that in 2016 Drake (the Canadian rapper, that is) had a huge hit with “One Dance,” whose lithe string melody and swaying beat both sound ripped from Nigerian pop—oh, and it also features a contribution from Wizkid himself. Drake is among a handful of North American R&B and rap stars who appear on Sounds From the Other Side (presumably to provide stateside listeners with familiar voices), but the highlights are all Wizkid. The sweltering single “Daddy Yo” carries all the euphoria of summer at its hottest—in fact it’s even better, considering that you don’t need to worry about heat stroke.   v

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