Best New Music: Juls lets Maleek Berry and Nonso Amadi shimmer on “Early”
Best New Music: Juls lets Maleek Berry and Nonso Amadi shimmer on “Early”

Best New Music: Juls lets Maleek Berry and Nonso Amadi shimmer on “Early”

The crown jewel of a much anticipated debut project

You ever sat in a room with African music playing in the background and suddenly caught off guard by a distinct voice or melody? Usually the next question you ask whoever owns the playlist is ‘Who is this?’ or perhaps more dramatically, ‘Why the hell is this the best thing since (Nigerian) Jollof?’. If this happened to you over the past few months, the song was probably sung by Maleek Berry or produced by Juls, or like our case-in-point, both.

It’s no longer news that producer only projects often sail under the radar, but since Juls announced his Leap of Faith EP, one of the major points of anticipation has been a tracklist featuring some of the most promising names of modern Afropop. Though a pre-announced Burna Boy feature on the cover art Juls shared last week failed to make the final cut, fans will not be disappointed with the eventual 9-track serving. Particularly with Juls lead single and Leap Of Faith crown jewel, “Early” featuring Maleek Berry and Native fave, Nonso Amadi.

Nonso Amadi’s gentle adlibs open “Early”, a tribal chant follows, then drums set in allowing Nonso sail on the rhythm with a series of questions about time of day to an unnamed lover. Maleek Berry has been on a  row in the past few months, but his role here is relegated to a slick second verse drenched in sexual references while maintaining his exotic Yoruba-Caribbean drawl. Once again, Juls avoids production overwrought with multi-layered instruments and auto-tune for the near-minimalist sound he carefully curated and mastered with Mr Eazi.

As Afropop continues to ease its way into the global mainstream, a few things have become apparent: vocals are great, songwriting is even better, but clean production wins it all. This is the greatest success Juls, Maleek Berry and Nonso Amadi achieve with ease on “Early” thanks to the crispness of British neo-Afropop and the ambient touch of Nonso Amadi’s sub-romantic melancholy.

Listen to “Early” our best new music for this week below

Featured Image: Instagram/@MaleekBerry

Burna Boy’s “Rock your body” was named Best New Music for last week