Essentials: Boy Spyce renders emotive tales on debut eponymous EP
an introduction to Mavin's latest act
an introduction to Mavin's latest act
These days, it’s become tradition for Mavin Records to unveil a new artist early into the year. A year ago, it was Ayra Starr, and before her, Rema, who were both launched into fantastic careers off the back of their debut EP’s. Last week, Boy Spyce, Mavins latest act, played to a similar tune by releasing a self-titled EP and following the path of the label’s previous signees. In usual fashion, the EP generated its fair share of buzz, but Boy Spyce was even more celebrated for reasons that may not be apparently obvious.
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While Boy Spyce may be new to some, the young artist has actually been inching towards this moment. Last year, the youngster’s cover of “Essence” was a regular fixture across social media, which earned the newcomer the attention of industry heavyweights along the line. In a little over a minute, the cover displayed the groove of his delivery, a soft voice that almost sounds too good to be true. Expressing the flair for storytelling, he described himself as “one broke boy from Isolo” before mapping the relatable story of being in love with someone who is beyond your social bracket.
So it came as no surprise when Mavin Records announced the artist’s onboarding. Boy Spyce re-entered the popular consciousness, but this time under markedly different terms. Now, he has a project helmed by some of the best professionals in the continent, and the ears of an ever-ready Afropop audience. As on previous freestyles and early records, Boy Spyce’s voice is stunningly vulnerable, conveying his well-crafted lyrics with necessary flushes of drama.
“Dreams” is a perfect opener, on which the artist flexes his songwriting skills by charting the trajectories of two characters, depicting the often striking ways people can grow apart. “Feel so incomplete, as you dey park your bag to leave/ And I dey look you through my window; boy you have to chase your dreams, you have a plane to catch by six,” he sings over the pensive, minimal production, subtle violin effects in the background. Some records were obviously crafted for the excitement of dancefloors. “Bad Things” follows the archetypical direction of sensual records, replete with coded talk and bad boy vibes. “Off your heels and your grey gown” is as descriptive as they come, and Spyce keeps his vocals on that pulse throughout the song, later singing “girl I’ll do some things to you/ many, many, many bad things.” Highlife-esque strings roll into bright drums on “Wayo”, with the artist hyping up a love interest in brazy fashion. Romantic affiliations are again centred in “Nobody”, and here his tender demeanour reaches perfect form when he sings on the hook, “Cos love no go work if your heart no dey beat/ The ship no go sail if your feelings dey sink.”
The EP closes out with “Destiny”, which is right now my favourite song off the tape. It’s not as though Boy Spyce’s lyrical abilities aren’t flagrantly captured across the other songs. What happens on the EP closer is the natural result of a man’s heart singing its truest melodies, finding lessons through his journey.
The lingo of Spyce’s Isolo area and his native Benin are combined to sweet effect as he sings of hard work and perseverance being necessary motors for success. “Person work hard you dey call am grace/ When you dey sleep, e dey work for rain”, he sings on the most quotable lyrics, with Andre Vibez’s mellow production setting a comfortable vibe which strengthens the song’s message.
With the track record to show, Mavin Records have seemingly mastered how to break artists into the market. Still, it is testament to their ingenuity that these eponymous debuts don’t sound overtly intentional. On his debut, Boy Spyce does well enough, breaking out on his own and showcasing his skillset. However, it fell short at some points, with beats that were too similar and repetitive. Nonetheless, his vocals and impeccable songwriting save the day as Boy Spyce is never shy to pluck the unlikely metaphor. With the clarity and wisdom in these songs, it shows that the best is yet to come and he’s surely one to watch out for.
Stream ‘Boy Spyce’ below.
Featured image credits/BoySpyce