Joeboy Gets a Foot in the Door with ‘Love & Light’ – Dami Ajayi

It appears a new guard of crooners have been thrust upon us—and old hands that came into their own after 2010—the likes of Olamide, Wizkid, Davido should start preparing their hand-over notes.

Fireboy DML, Crayon, Rema and Joeboy, T-Classic, and slightly older guns like Mayorkun and Peruzzi are probably our best new hands—and interestingly, this cohort have sponsors/mentors among the old guard.

Olamide blew in Fireboy DML, perhaps his retirement plan. Davido and his DMW record have handed us a small Mayor of Lagos (respect Toni Kan!) and Peruzzi, who is cool, except when he lost it that one time. The nagging question is where are those from Wizkid’s camp?

Mr Eazi? Definitely not, Eazi coyly recused himself from the Wizkid prodigy narrative  and made solid moves to ensure his brainchild emPawa lives up to its name by empowering artistes navigating the dire straits that is surviving Nigeria’s chaotic music industry.

Enter Joeboy.

His real break-out single, ‘Baby’, uncannily became my favourite plug when I heard it from the mouth of a baby boy (shout-out to Olanrewaju Dada). This anecdote is confirmation of the song’s meteoric rise to one of 2019’s finest, 20 millions streaming views notwithstanding . A serenade on steroids, pulsating with rhetorical love questions and a mid-tempo sultry sound mildly reminiscent of American R & B star Tamia’s Into You—the song came fully formed, and was reportedly recorded in just 45 minutes over a beat produced by Dara The Boy.

‘Beginning’, his second single, treads familiar territory and he toes the line of Kizz Daniel who deposited a sophomore single that was mildly better than his first. ‘Beginning’ lends itself more to dance and like most love songs, it is destined to usher in brand new couples at Nigerian wedding receptions.

Love and Light is a rather weak title for a first EP, but Joeboy is clear on the positivity he is trying to reflect with this work. To him, it is all love and happiness, even if this charge falters on the Beats-By-KO -produced, Mayorkun-assisted ‘ Don’t Call Me Back’. This is one of those songs where real meaning is an undertow of what is not said in the song’s lyrics.  Joeboy sings about forlorn and past love, about moving on, about returning calls, about non-availability, but the insistence with which he sings about these seems to indicate that he means the exact opposite of what he feels. Simply put: when he says go, he means come and he means rebound when he says new.  

‘All For You’ role-reverses ‘Don’t Call Me Back’. With Joeboy’s feet shorn off the the scorned lover shoe , he returns to his crooner composition and posture, fielding propositions and issuing promises that presumably falls on the fertile soil of  his lover’s ear.

‘Blessings’, a prayer song addressed to a Christian God brings the mild-mannered and laidback Love and Light to an end, when it has scarcely begun. But this is the very nature of EPs that make them effective as ear candies.

Love and Light is a quick in-and-out but not without leaving a dent on your sensibilities from the range and delight of Joeboy’s brand of mellow and mild R&B skewed slow-hitting Afrobeats. This new kid is filling the rather capricious lacuna that the likes of Slam, Omololu, Paul Play Dairo and, to an arguable extent, Wande Coal left us.

Even if R & B is experiencing a global decline, love songs will never cease to resonate and this is where Joeboy comes in, foot in the door, Light and Love in hand as his doorstopper, while we wait for something more expansive and hopefully definitive.

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