#YNaija2021Review: Barnabas, Water & Garri, Pandemic…See Our 10 Best EPs/Mixtapes of the Year

2021 was the year of recovery.

Sometimes it seemed like music was all we had to get us through the most trying times of the year.  From long awaited debut records to cross-generational statements, these were the best of the best.

10. LV N ATTN- Lojay x Sarz

Truth be told, Sarz’s attachment to any project instantly lends it an air of credibility. And every time, he proves why he remains the sound MVP even after all these years in the business. After doing some impressive work with the likes of Wizkid and WurlD, Sarz adopts newcomer Lojay as his latest muse for this brief but catchy run through dance ready pop numbers.

9. Pandemic- Ruger

With the bouncy self-titled opener, newcomer Ruger declares himself figuratively as both the lockdown and the pandemic. He is definitely on to something as his breakout track Monalisa would pretty much define the year in music. The record makes quite the welcome announcement with Ruger’s post-pubescent vocals shifting shapes and genres at will.

8. Rising- Falana

On Rising, Falana is as confident as she’s ever been penning songs that center the female experience in all of its beauty and complexities. Falana sets about on a musical journey through different emotions relating to love, loss and freedom. Her sound is easily identifiable as global but is also rooted within her Nigerian and Canadian identities as well as the different corners in the world that have welcomed her at some point.

7. If Orange Was a Place- Tems

While in the midst of her unprecedented success as a guest vocalist (and the not-so-secret weapon) of the globe-trotting Wizkid hit Essence, Tems struck while the iron was hot with her second EP. While If Orange Was a Place is not as defining as her debut EP For Broken Ears and feels slight even, it does a fine job of reintroducing Tems to her global audience on her own terms. And conditions. Cheesy but we had to try.

6. Providence- Ladipoe

Providence is the body of work that reintroduced Ladipoe to a bigger audience following the runaway success of Feeling, his single with an ascendant Buju. What does it say about Ladipoe? Easy. He is one of the most intelligent rappers in the game and his sense of musicianship is constantly being sharpened in a way that allows his rhymes find the perfect vessel for impact. Providence does this quite well. Bring on more.

5. Barnabas- Kizz Daniel

Bonafide star or perpetual underachiever, wherever you are on the Kizz Daniel divide, it is safe to agree that Barnabas is somewhat of a return to form for the singer who used to pack in the hits during his G-Worldwide era. With his delicate vocals gliding across seven songs ranging from plastic pop to contemporary highlife, Kizz Daniels demonstrates on Barnabas that he is still very much in the game.

4. Ase- Davina Oriakhi

Davina Oriakhi’s sophomore EP more than delivers on the promise of her 2017 effort, Love To A Mortal. As an artist, Oriakhi appears to have grown into her own committing to the work to improve her songwriting and smoky delivery. She is interested in the spiritual and her themes come across as moody or contemplative, but she sings with a renewed confidence that can only get better with time.

3. Boyfriend- Ckay

This year’s breakout star followed up the outsize success of his global crossover hit Love Nwantiti with this feel-good EP. Boyfriend is a natural extension of Ckay’s media image as this chilled back lover boy searching for love and good vibes. Boyfriend is composed of catchy melodious mid-tempo tunes that play well on lazy afternoons and evenings.

2. Love & Isolation- Tay Iwar

The sixth body of work by the eccentric Tay Iwar was inspired by his reflections of being on lockdown in 2020. Like most things that Iwar lends his name to, Love & Isolation is excellent, polished and impeccably produced. The concerns are introspective as Iwar finds interesting and creative ways to detail the complexity of feelings that range from loneliness, confusion to the longing for intimacy.

  1. Water & Garri- Tiwa Savage

With the sprawling opening track, Work Fada, perhaps one of the finest things Ms Savage has done in her entire career, she proves she means business with this record. Work Fada is so good that nothing on this five track EP can quite match the splendor but that doesn’t mean the record dips in quality. Quite the opposite as Savage already with little to prove demonstrates why she remains ahead of the competition.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.

cool good eh love2 cute confused notgood numb disgusting fail