It’s always a little meta to discover a Nigerian artist that rejects the pull of contemporary pop trends. Understandably so, pop music is after all, this giant machine, sucking in impressionable amateurs looking for their big break, gestating them in its great electronic underbelly and churning out perfectly coiffed, autotuned clones, chasing the newest hit beat. To step out of that current is to risk becoming niche and only ever playing in the mid-level leagues. But the trade-off is being able to make music that is more than a catchy hook, to have a sound that pays homage to the musical canon and remains evergreen. Its a choice every artist eventually has to make and it seems Edez has chosen.
The singer’s new single “Omo Oba” sounds like a union between the gravelly ministrations of Bez Idakula and whimsical stylings of Asa’s sophomore album Beautiful Imperfections. There is a clear reference to the doo-wop era of the American 60’s, sparse drums, finger snaps as percussion, scat sung adlibs and a horn section at the ready to add drama to clipping verses. Just when you think there couldn’t be anymore homages to the era, Edez throws in honest to goodness barbershop quartet harmonies. Now all of this would have been overkill on any other song, but Mema who produces “Omo Oba” does a fantastic job of walking everything through the tightrope and successfully crossing over from sample to fully realised song.
Edez manages to bring everything back home with some pretty interesting songwriting that incorporates Yoruba and pidgin. He is an easy story teller and by the end of the song you’ll find yourself snapping your fingers along to the beat. Sure “Omo Oba” is pretty niche, but for once, that isn’t really a bad thing.
Listen to “Omo Oba” here.