Best New Music: Trill Xoe Sets The Bar High With “Let Me In”

the producer's first official release in three years

The Nigerian music scene is an interesting place right now. Existing side-by-side are variant genres and traditions, all drawing from diverse aspects of our shared cultures. Beyond pop musicians and its aspirations, a number of gifted creatives are reinventing the sound with overt influences cued-in from several genres around the world. During the mid-2010s, a high level of sonic bending led to the birth of the alte culture, pairing that kaleidoscopic musicality with exciting detours into fashion, film and visual art. 

In more ways than one, Trill Xoe belongs among this class of musicians. A producer and A&R at Native Records, he released his debut project ‘Blood, Sweat & Tears’ in 2018, featuring promising musicians whom he steered towards his vision. He’s also a pioneering member of the 44db producer collective, underlying his place in the culture both on a sonic level and as a member of the wider community. Over the years, he’s doubled down on those ambitions, emerging with a portfolio that ranks among the best of his generation. 


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Still charting solid off the co-produced “DECLAN RICE”, we caught up with Trill Xoe some months back to discuss his journey into music, as well as his future plans. He made it excitedly known that his much-awaited sophomore tape wouldn’t be awaited for much longer, sharing some plans he had for the tape which would be titled ‘Lucent’

Trill Xoe has begun the run-up to that project, and in breathtaking style, too. Being his first official release in over three years, “LET YOU IN” can be parsed both as an enjoyable new record but also as an reintroduction to his production and curatorial skills. The song features the promising Azanti and Mahgi, a musician Trill Xoe has been working with and developing for quite some time. Always in tune with the ebbs of what’s happening beneath the glistening board of mainstream afropop, Trill Xoe’s pairing works to give the record an unpredictability which the listener eases into on first listen. 

Shimmering with an ominous sequence, the brilliance of the production is audible early on. Swaggering drums are introduced, mellow but groovy, just about the same time Azanti enters the record. Thematically, it’s a very Afropop record; bemoaning the unavailability of his heart and affection, it tallies the emo perspective that’s been adopted by many new-age musicians. “I can’t let you in ah ah, it’d be bad for me and you,” sings Azanti with breezy longing, the melancholy of that sentiment matched with the vibrancy of the overlapping rhythm. 

On his part, Mahgi takes a different direction to Azanti’s, bringing a fuller sensation to the record through his interlude-esque verse. The beat also expands on itself to bring that emotion of longing to life, incorporating brazy trumpets, dropping percussions, and synth runs lending to an atmosphere with audible cinematic flourish. Existing closer to the progressive R&B tradition of Bryston Tiller and Drake, “LET YOU IN” thus sounds like two songs in one, paired with the overt Afropop influence audible in its first half.

Trill Xoe obviously has the direction of his next sonic phase on lock and “LET YOU IN” is a brilliant take-off in that direction. Where producers making projects were once considered novelty, fortunately the scene has changed in a positive direction, and producers like Trill Xoe are most equipped to push it onto the next phase. 

What that might mean, as heard on this new record, is producers creating experiences that transcend the primal creative instinct to create songs. Already working in that intersection between creativity and criticism, Trill Xoe’s bag of tricks is ever deepening, and it wouldn’t be surprising that ‘Lucent’ turns out to be one of the noteworthy projects to drop this year. Already setting a high bar, this colourful, coordinated collaboration has begun that process in typical auteur style. Tell everyone: Trill Xoe is back.