featured image: Credit: Kin Kwesy
ANNOUNCES TITLE OF FORTHCOMING DEBUT ALBUM
ART EXHIBITIONS IN GHANA + LONDON THIS FALL
THE EVIL GENIUS DROPS OCT. 27
Afropop superstar Mr Eazi has shared the new single “Advice” and revealed the title of his long-awaited, decade-in-the-making debut, The Evil Genius. “Advice,” produced by Ghana’s M.O.G. Beatz, is the third single from the project, which is set for release on Oct. 27, 2023 through Mr Eazi’s own emPawa Africa. Listen to “Advice” HERE. The Evil Genius is now available for pre-order HERE.
Mr Eazi followed with a stirring performance video of the drill-infused “Advice” for Vevo’s original content series Ctrl. Mr Eazi recorded “Advice,” with its dark, grimy tones, during a particularly heavy moment in his life, as he watched some of his longest-held relationships crumble under the weight of his success. “When you first come up [as an artist], everybody is in love with you,” Mr Eazi says. “Then they want to draw you down. People begin to betray you. If you’re able to survive this stage, you go untouchable. But this is the hardest stage.”
The lyrically-dense “Advice” namechecks a number of African martyrs including former Democratic Republic of the Congo president Joseph Kabila and Ken Saro-Wiwa, a Nigerian writer and activist whose 1995 hanging inspired domestic and international outrage. “I was coming from a place of having that energy,” Mr Eazi says.
Recorded over a two-year period between Ouidah and Cotonou, Benin; Kigali, Rwanda; Accra and Kokrobite, Ghana; Lagos, Nigeria; London; Los Angeles; and New York City, The Evil Genius features some of Mr Eazi’s most personal work, as he dives deeply into subjects like love, betrayal, loneliness, and family, expressed through three distinctive acts.
The Evil Genius title is Mr Eazi’s way of embracing a perception that his business smarts and ambitions disguise hidden agendas. “There’s been this low-key notion that Eazi is this calculated bad guy,” Mr Eazi says. “I started to fight this narrative. Then it hit me: This album is me fighting the people pleaser in me, and accepting that image. By the time you listen to this project from beginning to end, you will have met ‘The Evil Genius.’ If you still think I’m the bad guy, so be it.”
In a first-of-its-kind fusion of African music and art, Mr Eazi commissioned visual artists from across the continent to create a unique, physical art piece to represent each of the album’s 16 tracks. For “Advice,” he tapped Nairobi, Kenya-based artist Alphonce Odhiambo, known as Alpha Odh, whose acrylic painting speaks to the track’s defiant lyrics.
As he traveled through Africa recording the album, Mr Eazi forged relationships with visual artists whose work he encountered along the way. Noting a lack of meaningful collaboration between Africa’s exploding pop music scene and the continent’s fine art creators, Mr Eazi personally handpicked 13 artists, representing eight African countries, inviting them to collaborate in a process he describes as ‘informal and instinctual’.
Ahead of the album’s release on October 27, Mr Eazi is inviting the public to experience the music alongside the art at several multi-sensory exhibition listening experiences. The exhibition debuts in Ghana — a significant country for Mr Eazi, where he began his recording career and first rose to fame — at Gallery 1957 in Accra, during its Accra Cultural Week, September 13-18.
Following this inaugural presentation, the exhibition will travel to the U.K. as part of 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair, from October 12-15, at Somerset House in London. Additional exhibition announcements in other cities are forthcoming.
MR EAZI TOUR DATES (w/ ChopLife SoundSystem)
Thursday, August 31 | Chicago – Joe’s on Weed St.
Saturday, September 2 | Washington DC – Karma
Sunday, September 3 | Houston – Rise Roof Top
Sunday, September 24 | Atlanta – Revolt World @ Pangaea Studio
ABOUT MR EAZI
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.
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