We spoke to some Wizkid Fans about ‘Made in Lagos’

After years of promises and extended-release dates, Wizkid’s long-awaited 4th studio album, ‘Made in Lagos’ is finally here, and all faith seems to have been restored in the Starboy. Though it’s been a long time coming, Wizkid FC have received the album with open arms, ready to forgive him for the unhealthy back-and-forth over the years, and even on the night of release when we had to wait an extra hour which was filled with doubt about whether we were getting the project or not. It goes without saying that the FC have been through a lot in the past few years, from postponed album dates to controversies in his dating life, Wizkid has undoubtedly kept many of us on our toes.

Through the thick and the thin, however, fans have remained loyal to their Starboy, and without the FC, it’s hard to imagine Wizkid’s position at the top. Their very existence has been invaluable to Wizkid’s career over the last few years, and they have shown up in numbers in the past,  offering a kind of adulation that many afropop stars have never enjoyed. A few years ago, a stan group like the FC would have been hard to come by but the musical landscape in afropop has evolved so much since 2010 when the ‘Superstar’ singer first caught our attention. Since then, we’ve seen the rise of P Square’s ‘Omoges’ Korede Bello’s ‘Bellovers’, Burna Boy’s ‘Outsiders’, Naira Marley’s ‘Marlians’, but none of them have come close to the fervour with which members of Wizkid FC operate. 

In 2016, the Weeknd released his third studio album ‘Starboy’, and social media was awash with angry FC fans who flew to the aid of their beloved star. Wizkid had donned the nickname long before The Weeknd and the FC believed a line had been crossed. That was the first time we really saw the force of the FC in action, and another instance that springs to mind is when No Signal hosted an epic clash battle between Wizkid and Vybz Kartel. Many people back at home and in the diaspora had tuned in for the clash assuming that it would be a fair battle for the winner but Wizkid FC proved yet again that they would fight for their Starboy. Wizkid came out successful in every round of the clash, even at times where the opposition should have been the clear winner. With their numbers far too numerous to overpower, they are quickly turning into the most notorious stan group on this side of the world. Similar to Nicki Minaj’s ‘Barbz’ or Beyoncé’s ‘Bey Hive’, Wizkid FC have taken on a life of their own and have now written themselves into the history of Starboy. 

And the praise is entirely warranted. Back in 2016, when afropop was still in the nascent stages of its global takeover, Wizkid featured on Drake’s groovy release “One Dance”, a key moment that saw the beginning of more intercontinental collaborations. A year later, he became the first African artist to headline a show at the Royal Albert-Hall, a market of afropop’s continued growth. Wizkid had come to represent more than his music, he had come to represent his hometown Ojuelegba and in extension the Nigerian people and a beacon of hope that dreams can come true. It wouldn’t be too far off to call him one of the country’s best musical exports and he’s come to be seen as such by those at home and abroad given that he’s the youngest African artist to bag a Grammy nod. 

In so many ways, Wizkid has attained great feats throughout his career and this has in turn afforded Wizkid FC the voice to be large and loud on the internet because the work speaks for itself. Many of the FC cannot even believe that ‘Made in Lagos’ is even here today, taking to social media to express their feelings about the new album as they listen to it. The result has been deeply satisfying, a meeting of hearts and minds deeply connected to experiencing an album collectively for the first time. To this end, The NATIVE spoke with 8 die-hard Wizkid FC members about how they feel about what feels like the most defining moment of Starboy’s career. Here’s how they feel. 

@TayoAFC

Top 3: “Blessed”, “Reckless” & “Sweet One”

What was your first impression of MIL on first listen? Did it live up to your expectations?

It was beautiful! The intro immediately caught my attention, as he counted his blessings and looked back on all he has achieved so far. The album exceeded my expectations mainly because I had been worried about the sound of Wizkid’s music transitioning over the years. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but there were few instances where he had been criticised of becoming too relaxed, which led to a more chilled and calm sound. So personally, I needed an album with the right balance to convince me this was simply part of his growth. You have to understand I became a “Wizkid FC” member in the “Pakurumo” era, where his songs had faster beats and the energy you could feel was that of an artist who still had a lot to prove. Although he is calm on MIL, you get a “this is why I’ve been top dog for a decade” energy from him which I loved about the album.

Do you think pre-released singles gave a good feel of the entire project?

Not completely to be honest. I wasn’t a big fan of “Smile” when it was released as a single, as the album is called Made In Lagos and a single which had a reggae fusion sound wasn’t something I initially understood. The next single “No Stress” followed, and this made me more positive for what to expect on the album. On this song, he gave the streets lyrics in Yoruba and local pidgin and balanced it with the perfect melody for the guys and ladies. And now I see how both songs fit into the album as a whole – you appreciate the fact his talent was made in Lagos with some influence from other regions.

Comparing this body of work to the first 3, what do you think makes this one stand out?

His growth. The fact that each of his 4 albums don’t sound the same shows he has always developed as an artist, and I feel Sounds From The Other Side, his third album was a risk he took which has now paid off. His first album, Superstar where he touched on his early beginnings with a lot of energy, showed he had no problems being the centre of attention. The period of his second album, Ayo, was when he could not release a bad song if he tried. The general theme of that album was around celebrating his life, and “Jaiye Jaiye” and “Ojuelegba” are perfect examples. His international audience was already growing, and maybe that was a factor in why he took the risk and tried a new sound. As some Wizkid FC members like to say, “he was ahead of his time” and this created a scenario where he had different sets of fans who had a preference for what type of Wizkid they were getting. And this is what makes MIL stand out for me, as his growth as an artist over the years created the perfect balance for both old and new Wizkid fans to enjoy the album as one.

@kvng_saad

Top 3: “Blessed”, “Sweet One”, “Piece Of Me”

What was your first impression of MIL on first listen? Did it live up to your expectations?

First of all, MIL is a great body of work that shows how Wizkid has evolved as a person and as an Artist. This is a different kind of vibe from his previous albums, it gives you a feel good sound and relaxed vibes and I definitely love it.

Yes. In fact, it exceeded my expectations and I’m glad it did.

Do you think pre-released singles gave a good feel of the entire project?

Yeah, the pre-released singles gave the direction of the album and what to expect from it, not the normal party jams and dancehall vibes but a very relaxed and calm one, and I must say it’s really nice and commendable.

Comparing this body of work to the first 3, what do you think makes this one stand out?

Comparing MIL to other body of his work, this one stands out because it shows how Wizkid has grown as an artist and it reflects in his lyrics.

@TheGreyHunter

Top 3: “Long Time”, “Blessed”, “Sweet One”

What was your first impression of MIL on first listen? Did it live up to your expectations?

My first impression after listening to MIL was “growfffff, what a man, what an icon, what a versatile king”. This was 12:17am just after Apple notified me that my pre-ordered album has been added. It exceeded my expectations. I knew “Pakuromo wiz” had hung his boots after he released Soundman (which is the best ep from Naij btw). I thought “okay babe,5-6 sweet slow tunes max go get replay value and I go use bias cushion my wizgenda”,  but my GOAT said “don’t worry my g, no stress” jams choke bustaidddd!

Do you think pre-released singles gave a good feel of the entire project?

Honestly, I think the first two songs that were lead singles didn’t prepare me for this level of brilliance, they were good, even better on the album but not even the best from MiL. Only Wiz can do that!

Comparing this body of work to the first 3, what do you think makes this one stand out?

In comparison with first 3 albums, I’ve got bias for “Superstar”. It’s the first album I used my own monies to buy, I also bought it for people and shared on Twitter that year. It’s surreal seeing someone like you from ‘lere morph into a global art and force. This is standing out because he’s once again proven that the throne he ascended since 2010 is still his even after hiatus, and the tunes to get on these thrones aren’t one style for all but different Wiz for everyone.

@omobankole1

Top 3: “Piece Of Me”, “Essence”, “Blessed” 

What was your first impression of MIL on first listen? Did it live up to your expectations?

My first impression was the divergence of a new sound from Wiz, so smooth and thrilling. It definitely exceeded my expectations.

Do you think pre-released singles gave a good feel of the entire project?

I saw this great sound coming, not from pre-released singles from MIL but from Soundman EP. It absolutely showed a new Wiz and I’m delighted to welcome the sound.

Comparing this body of work to the first 3, what do you think makes this one stand out?

Well to me I love all 4 albums equally. It really shows the versatility of Wizkid changing sound with ease. If you listen to all 4 albums and the Soundman, you will notice the change of sounds across his music, it really shows how far Wiz gonna go in delivering better music.

@K0yinsola

Top 3: “True Love”, “Blessed”, “Sweet One”

What was your first impression of MIL on first listen? Did it live up to your expectations?

It sounds silly but my first listen was so sporadic. 30 seconds of each track here and there to prepare myself for what was coming. I think I even started in the middle of the album. I was so anxious because Wizkid is not the most forthcoming in interviews about his music and his direction so I wasn’t sure what to expect. On my first proper listen, it surpassed my expectations. I couldn’t get passed ‘Blessed’ for a while because it sounded so good but once I did, the whole album really blew my mind,

Do you think pre-released singles gave a good feel of the entire project while we were waiting?

When Wizkid dropped Smile in July, it was so different to anything he had ever previously done. It didn’t sound like any of his singles before or any singles from his other albums so I knew we were getting a completely new era of Wizkid. What this era was, I wasn’t so sure of at the time. Fast forward a couple of months, we got No Stress. I think this was an instant hit everywhere. You still can’t open an Instagram story without hearing ‘I got a pretty pretty lady wey no like no stress’. But again, this was so different to Smile so I was still unsure as to what direction MIL was going in. One thing was definitely clear though, Wizkid was going to be in his grown man melodic bag on this album.

Comparing this body of work to the first 3, what do you think makes this one stand out?

I think each album perfectly sums up not just the times that they were released in, but also the different stages of Wizkid’s career. Listening to Superstar retrospectively, you can hear the rawness of a young boy from Surulere who is driven and hungry for success. Every song was a HIT back to back *Olamide voice*. He had a lot to prove being a newbie in the game.’Ayo’ takes on a slightly more mature approach and this shows on songs like Ojuelegba and J’aiye J’aiye. This was Wizkid’s final release under EME and at some points in the album you can still hear the young man finding his sound and his feet in the industry.SFTOS, my favourite album pre MIL came before it’s time. I truly believe that SFTOS walked so MIL could fly. SFTOS had so many amazing and experimental songs(Nobody and Sexy being two of my favs) but I think it came before it’s time. Afrobeats has slowed down a lot recently and is more so about the craft, lyricism, instrumentals, etc which is why I think MIL shines and has been so well received. Wizkid sounds so confident on every single song. He’s bringing that 30+ energy that we all love to see. This is the music we all know Wizkid loves and wants to be making.


Words by Tami Makinde, Interview by Damilola Animashaun


ICYMI: A 1-listen review of Wizkid’s ‘Made In Lagos’

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