EP Review: Ycee – First Wave
Album Title: First Wave EP
Label: Tinny Entertainment
Release Date: April 7, 2017
Tinny Entertainment really lucked up finding this kid – fresh to death, image-wise. Dude came out with that overseas flex that was so convincing it worked almost to his disadvantage on his first official single, Condo. After over-leveraging his ‘foreign fresh’ on that joint featuring Patoranking, to much confusion on his identity – He re-asserted his “Nigerianness” on the 2015 smash-hit, Jagaban.
After penning his distribution deal with Sony, he has to impress, and he can. The kid has oodles of potential; an easy inherent cool that his peers would pay for, and the outsize success of Jagaban and Omo Alhaji, means Sony’s investment in moving units for the kid makes sense. The Festac boy with the quintessential stylish, carefree millennial image has finally dropped his first album, or sorry, EP, The First Wave.
The record opens up with Wavy, where he reasserts his waviness and flips a middle finger to those who wondered where he fit as an artist; is he a rapper, is he a singer? He addresses them here; ‘fuck your hypocrisy and mediocrity, hip-hop heads wey dey look at me awkwardly….we our parents’ insurance policy’ – as lyrical performances go, track one is as good as it gets on this EP.
Link Up with Reekado Banks sounds like a typical radio joint, on which his verses are delivered in a Future Hendrix-like mumble. This song has already been pushed as a single and is the only familiar song on the record. By the sixth joint, Don’t Need Bae , it’d be unsurprising if the listener isn’t wondering where the wave is – the record is mad predictable, it’s very much a conventional Afrobeats/Afropop/Afrofusion, or whatever the label du jour is. Yeah, this is an EP, it’s not ‘serious’, but there’s a certain expectation on this kid because the vibe he created isn’t a rumour as he brags on the Maleek Berry assisted Juice. Given how his biggest hits to date have been driven by refreshing production, nothing on First Wave quite hits those same heights except this joint. Adey successfully created a millennial anthem with this vibey mid-tempo beat, the only joint that bears out the ‘wave’ Ycee promised on the EP. Bubbly featuring Falz does exactly what it says on the tin, a recession-defying champagne show; it’s one for the clubs, not close listening.
But there’s strategy here, Ycee is a ready made popstar. He’s ready to cross over as is. He’d fit comfortably with the London or US diaspora; from the way the speaks to his brand, he’s global urban cool which works but the music sells the brand in the first instance. The First Wave was a long time coming and perhaps as a result of the wait, Ycee himself struggles to surf on the record but there are hints, as on Juice that he might soon get it; what made him so exciting then is that he didn’t sound like everything else on the radio. It’d be a shame to see him just fit right in now. He is much more than this EP lets off and after such delay in releasing this oft-promised project, then hearing him lend his fresh insouciance to DJ Consequence on In A Benz, expectations were raised again but, alas.
Top tracks; Juice.
This EP is rated 5/10
You can follow the writer, Tola Sarumi on Twitter :- @AfroVII