A 1-Listen Review Of Khaid’s New EP, ‘Emotions’

a purposeful offering from one of afropop's most promising stars

Khaid’s year has progressively blossomed into a real moment of arrival. Although he’s been on the scene for a while, 2023 has seen the full spectrum of his musical abilities emerge under the light of the mainstream audience. The prime evidence of this growth has been Khaid’s trifecta of Afropop-influenced songs—with the latest being “Anabella”—which have become uber-popular hits, reaching sweet spots of melody and memory across Nigeria demographics, transcending gender, age or class status. 


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As Khaid continues to ascend through the ranks, he’s releasing honest and relatable songs which have gained ubiquity such as “Jolie” and “Carry Me Go,” which featured the Mavin Records wunderkid Boy Spyce. Coming off the strength of these records, and with a nomination in the Rookie of the Year category at the just-concluded Headies, the artist has been moving confidently. This audibly influences the succinct but purposeful release of ‘Emotions’, his new EP which features six songs, including two of the aforementioned singles. As he told The NATIVE some months before, “on this project you should expect to hear the Afrobeats Khaid”. 

Unarguably one of the most promising youngsters orbiting the afropop scene, it’s a no-brainer that we should parse ‘Emotions’ through critical ears, which is what we do in this 1-listen review. 

In usual 1-listen review fashion, all reactions are in real time while the music plays. No pauses, rewinds, fast-forwards or skips.


A mellow beat starting out this one. “I dun dey fight, I dun dey shoot gun,” is such a visual lyric. I’m tempted to say it’s Omah Lay-esque, but he’s not the first to squeeze nihilist themes into afro-inspired music. Khaid’s delivery is very heartfelt here; he’s painting an image that we’ve become familiar with over the years, which is the pensive thoughts of a celebrity. I like the direction; lyrically, it’s a bit ambiguous but that’s what this sub-genre (can we even call it that?) within afropop does; merging philosophical inquiry with touches of romantic tension. 


Vibrant drums from the start of this one. “She’s got a broken home and a broken smile”; that line comes off with a bit of contrasting feels, but I can hear the emotive scales Khaid is trying to reach here. The metaphors can be stronger; shining like sunlight in the sky is cool to the ears, but it doesn’t really sink the listener into a unique narrative. I like the artist’s vocal style here though; it’s audibly influenced by R&B, and that makes him want to flex on them. Ultimately, the flex comes off okay. Nothing too special, but you might catch a vibe under the perfect conditions. 


This beat is sounding a little like “Carry Me Go.” There’s that colourful early 2000s Nigerian Pop energy captured in the drums, the zest of their edges. “Follow who know road, e dun cut my sandals” is the kinda line that demonstrates how our music mirrors the simple poetry of our everyday lives. Khaid is in inspired form here; so far, it’s perhaps my favourite from the project. I’m throwing my hat as well, that this would be the next promoted single from this EP. 


What more can be said about this song? It’s undoubtedly one of the biggest songs of the year. In terms of sonic quality, it’s a brilliant evocation of love through the Nigerian prism, as every lyric and every beat counts stays close to home. There’s not a bone of complexity here; the writing as well as the production is straightforward, which renders an emotive stability to the record. With every song, the project’s choice of title is justified. 


Dancehall Khaid is present here. The first words are delivered in a style reminiscent of Rema’s “Divine”, but this sounds more up the Ruger alley. Cloak and dagger, holy father—there’s a cache of well-done references I’m hearing. It’s not the most evocative song, but Khaid obviously pushes his songwriting here. As part of the project, it’s a fine way to lead into the final song of the EP. 


“Baby wetin sup o…touch my weak spot o” that line alone makes this song a worthy listen. Following in the tradition of his afropop records, this is a bubbly and tender affair. Somehow it reminds me of those cheesy scenes we used to have in Old Nollywood; I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a video montage of it somewhere, soundtracking such a scene by Paw-Paw or some other enterprising lover boy. Seeing as the mood also mirrors the sentiment of a closing moment, it’s the most appropriate choice for this important role. 


‘Emotions’ fittingly captures Khaid’s ability to craft saccharine hits from everyday emotions. Combining bright, bubbly beats with purposeful touches of melancholic, heartfelt stories, the project bears a dichotomy that would shape up to be one of its narrative strengths. And perhaps the songwriting sometimes comes across as too cloying, and devoid of an original quality, but it’s evident that Khaid still has some developing to do—every artist does, actually. However, based on the enjoyability of these songs, it’s clear that Khaid and his label Neville Records has orchestrated a great run-in towards the end of the year for the talented artist. 

Stream ‘Emotions’ EP.

Featured image credits/NATIVE

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