Nigerian singer, songwriter, and entrepreneur Oluwatosin Ajibade, otherwise known as Mr. Eazi, is bringing new life to his music. Known as the pioneer of Banku, described as a blend of Ghanaian highlife and Nigerian chord progressions, Mr. Eazi has collaborated with artists including Beyonce, Bad Bunny, and Major Lazer, along with other Nigerian stars like Burna Boy, and is a global star in his own right. Now he is on a mission to make his music an immersive experience by pairing each single off on his upcoming yet-untitled debut album with commissioned works by various African contemporary visual artists (he refers to his previous full-length projects as mixtapes).
“I feel like with this collaboration with the artists, we are [making] this accessible to my fans who would have normally not looked towards art in this form and introducing them to this world,” he said. “And taking the veil away from [the thinking] that this one is for ‘dadabees [a West African term for children of wealthy family] or the elite.”
Already a champion for the arts, Mr. Eazi, motivated by a desire to give back to Africa's music industry, founded emPawa Africa, a talent incubator that supports rising African artists. His other ventures include emPawa Distribution, a digital music aggregator, and more to come. His latest collaboration builds on Eazi’s ongoing initiative to support African creatives through his platform as an entrepreneur and a global music star and to “build cultural capital for creatives across the continent.”
For the first single "Legalize," a song inspired by his now fiancé, Eazi features artwork by Beninese painter Patricorel. The artist painted a piece of two skeletons holding hands and sharing a drink—meant to capture "the intimacy, love, submission, vulnerability and the finality of death," according to the release—live during the debut performance of the song at an intimate, invite-only concert in Lagos. In fact, Eazi plans to debut each single in this way, with unique pieces meant to serve as cover artwork created during live performances, which will be "tokenized and shared with the public through specially curated metaverse and physical events.”
Read more in ArtNews and view the short doc about his first single with Patricorel below 👇🏿