Tuesday, 23 April 2024

Ayüü’s ‘Toxic Sweet’ is an indicator of his artistic growth

Toxic Sweet is an exploration into the duality of love and complexity of human attraction.

– Ayüü

In Nigeria, Lagos is very much regarded as the main base of musical creatives discovered in the country but it would be a perilous mistake to ignore the recent rise of artists from the capital city of the country. In recent times, some superstars like Psycho YP, Tay Iwar, Lady Donli, Ayüü etc have all come from Abuja to stamp their mark on the industry with their genre-bending alternative style of music.

Ayüü particularly has been one of the most consistent performers out of the capital city to grace the music industry. Ayüü, born Daniel Ayu, is a Nigerian-UK based artist and a force to reckon on the alté movement. Ayüü’s style incorporates elements of R&B, Pop, Hip-Hop, Soul and Dancehall into his own iteration of Afrobeats.

Since his debut album ‘AYÜÜNIVERSE‘ which was released in 2019, Ayüü has gone about improving his pen game and overall artistic capabilities which was obvious in his releases. After nearly three years, Ayüü is back with his sophomore album titled ‘Toxic Sweet‘. A nine-track album that explores the two aspects of love as well as the complexity of human attraction.

Ayüü’s ‘Toxic Sweet’ album cover.

The project opens with ‘Serpent‘, a mid tempo track with heavy bass lines and calm underlining chords that creates a relaxing atmosphere for the listener to pay attention to what comes next. Ayüü eases through the verses and hooks unharried and it sets the tempo for the next track ‘Makarena‘. The transition is lit and the energy remains constant. On ‘Makarena‘, Ayüü draws influences from the Caribbean, creating a song steeped in R&B as well as Dancehall. He also imitates the Caribbean rhyme scheme on his delivery as he sings about an experience with a woman. His delivery is at his peak here and it is the highlight of the track.

Toxic Sweet( Self Righteous)‘, the project titled song, is another interesting cut. On this track, Ayüü paints the picture of a toxic relationship he is still very much interested in. The production hits peak so far on this track with soft guitar riffs.

The soft tempo continues on ‘Vice Versa Freestyle‘. GJtheCaesar’s quick introduction was not something I expected and it happens to be arguably the most memorable part of the song, closely followed by Ayüü’s breathtaking hook and verse. Dopeman Twizzy adds a much needed dimension of soft vocals to the track. ‘Guns&Roses (QuestionYaHeart)‘ starts with a guitar solo, a lead single and positioned in the middle of the tape to serve as a break point. The song continues the toxic love theme as Ayüü narrates a bitter experience  with a woman. The theme and production takes a different dimension on ‘High Road‘. An uptempo Afropop track in which Ayüü talks about his struggles in trying to deal with his haters and detractors.

Ayüü's 'Toxic Sweet' track list.
Ayüü’s ‘Toxic Sweet’ track list.

2Much‘ is a return to the original theme of the project. The production is the highlight of this track and it is no surprise to find Le Mav behind the boards for this one. It 65 seconds duration keeps things running smoothly to the next track. ‘H.M.T‘s one track that would not sink in easily with listeners but once it does, it would be a great track. Ayüü’s artistic capabilities were all on show on this track and the featured guest Andre Wolff performed well.

Ayüü closes the album with the second installment of the project titled song in ‘Toxic Sweet pt 2 ( Assumptions)‘. Ayüü admits he is still quick to assume after a sober reflection on himself. Also, the toxic sweet theme gets it base when he says “Ain’t nothing sweet about my toxic”. This is the perfect outro for the tape as this songs wouldn’t have fit in any other position.

All through the tape, the notable highlight is the growth which is evident epsecially in Ayüü’s songwriting and delivery. It is obvious how he has developed since his debut thereby increasing the appeal of listeners for this album. The project has an almost perfect sonic and thematic cohesion and this is an important thing to consider when creating a body of work. The production is perfect all through the tape and this is no surprise as Ayüü only worked with familiar producers who understands his sound. For what its worth, this is a tape that would resonate well with listeners. Ayüü took his time to craft this and we just need to thank him for blessing our ears. This is a solid tape.

LISTEN: Toxic Sweet Album by Ayüü.

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