#YNaija2020Review: Afrosoul, Get Layd, For Broken Ears… See the 10 Best Mixtapes/EP of the Year

2020 was a weird and difficult year.

The coronavirus pandemic shuttered the music industry with one fell swoop as governments issued stay at home and no travel orders in a scramble to keep the raging pandemic under control. Still, artistes found a way to create new music and to present them to the world via internet.

Sometimes it seemed like music was all we had to get us through the most trying times of the year. These were the best mixtapes/Eps to keep us company.

10. Vibes and Insha Allah- Reminisce

Vibes and Insha Allah may have flown just a little under the radar but the EP works for the most part because it manages a strong blend of Reminisce’s hip hop bonafides and artistic ambition with crowd-pleasing production designs, all without appearing forced. He talks fatherhood, politics, nationhood and his place in the circle of life.

9. Everything You Heard is True- Odunsi (The Engine)

Odunsi (The Engine)’s sexy new album is a terrific report on the state of contemporary R&B. The genre appears to be in safe hands with Odunsi as he sweeps audiences into you his alte world of sweaty nightlife partying and necessary misdeeds. The music on the record conjures up pre-lockdown images of funkily dressed patrons swaying to the waves of live, undiluted music.

8. What Have We Done- Omah Lay

Omah Lay’s second body of work in a breakout year is a 5-track reminder of why the country fell for his smart pop confections in the first place. All the songs were written and performed by Lay himself with production credits from Echotheguru, Tuzi and Tempoe. On the record, he grapples with the reality of his newly found fame while finding time to obsess over more worldly matters.

7. Oxygene- Oxlade

Oxlade’s six-track debut EP is an interesting mix of what is new with pop music today but with important nods to what has come before. Oxygene has a wide remit, accommodating something for everyone with soft rhythmic sounds, mid-tempo lounge/ house music, Afro R&B and soul. Oxlade demonstrates his proficiency as a vocalist, hitting some impressive notes effortlessly.

6. Five Stages- Somadina

Somadina’s concept driven Five Stages charts her tough but necessary journey from heartbreak to recovery in five songs. Her songwriting is cleareyed and her vocal talents shine through the production and arrangements by Odunsi the Engine and Ikon.

5. Afrosoul- WurlD

To be honest, WurlD could put out a record of himself just breathing and we would be quite taken by it. But then he goes and makes an effort to put out great music. Afrosoul, his seven-track EP is another entry into his impressive body of work. With production from heavyweights Del B, Kel P, Shizzi and TMXO, WurldD showcases his showstopping vocal range and dynamic songwriting.

4. Restless II- Simi

The follow up to 2014’s Restless EP is a thoughtful and critical look at modern relationships. Simi picks up on the hidden nuances and unspoken experiences that are often missing on pop records such as this one. Her songwriting is still astute and the production by regular collaborators Oscar and Sess is some of the year’s finest.

3. For Broken Ears- Tems

Following her runaway hit Try Me, Tems stuns with the soulfully reinvigorating For Broken Ears. The songs on the record are a fine showcase of Tem’s undeniable talent as she serves as the EP’s only songwriter and lead producer. Darkness is often highlighted but Tems reclaims her hurt and finds freedom and power in them.

2. The Live Report- M.I, A-Q

Two of the finest emcees this side of the planet collaborate for this hip hop stunner that burns with the fire of a thousand suns. The Live Report is an impressive amalgam of both rappers’ abilities. M.I’s effortless charm and A-Q’s ferocity. While both men serve lyrical masterclasses, it is Beats By Jayy’s stellar production that glues the project, making it more than a sum of its parts.

1. Get Layd- Omah Lay

The record that announced Omah Lay as the undisputed star of 2020 is also the year’s best. Lay has that vocal zip that can take a verse or chorus and energize it such that the rest of the country is soon singing along. He does this five times over- with anthems like Bad Influence and You on the ready-for-streaming Get Layd.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

cool good eh love2 cute confused notgood numb disgusting fail