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On ‘Journey Just Started’, Gezee Is An Upbeat Traveller With A Strong Sense of Home [EP Review]

Rising Nigerian singer-songwriter, Gezee, unveiled his aptly-titled debut EP, Journey Just Started, on the 17th of May, 2024. The project is the culmination of a five-year wait, beginning with the release of Gezee’s debut single, ‘Lowlo’ in November 2019.

Gezee Journey Just Started Cover art.
Gezee Journey Just Started Cover art.
Journey Just Started Tracklist.
Journey Just Started Tracklist.

Clocking in at fourteen minutes, the six-track EP is a reintroduction to Gezee after years of quietly building a strong following. Thematically, Gezee yields an upbeat, feel-good package with pockets of divine beckoning. It is supported by the party-starting lead single, ‘On My Way!’, released in March 2024. Kezyklef, Jhay2unez and Major Bangz served as producers on the project.

On the cover art, Gezee lends an on-the-nose credence to the project’s title by hoisting a duffel bag. A further, background detail doubles down on this, with the structure hearkening to the First Niger Bridge located in the South-Eastern part of the country. This cultural homage also plays out in the records, establishing Gezee as a traveler who can never lose sight of home.

Gezee.

Iwotago’ ushers listeners into the journey with upbeat traditional instrumentals, indicative of Gezee’s Eastern heritage. The track title is an Igbo expression that loosely translates to, ‘Do you understand?’. He begins the track by echoing the relatable sentiment of people having one too many to say, without more:

Too many advice, too many advice

I don’t know where to start o

Do it like this, do it like that

I don dey confuse o

He continues, letting listeners into his laidback approach to life (‘Soldier go, soldier come’/’I no dey do pass myself’). By relying on ‘Iwotago’ as a refrain, Gezee emphasizes this laidback approach and gives no room for objections. This yields an enjoyable, feel-good Afro-Pop number with relatable, witty lyricism. The record gives way for a more mellow, introspective, Gospel-esque cut in ‘Fada’. Here, Gezee leans closer to the existential, calling on God for clarity and provision as he awaits a breakthrough. He notably delivers:

Everybody want to live the life they deserve

They just want to live in big paradise

Cruise around the town in a black Cullinan (RR)

Be the champion and be number 1

Having dwelt on a mid-tempo Afro-Pop playground, Gezee enters his Amapiano bag on the project’s lead single, ‘On My Way!’. On the track, he paints a straightforward picture of an unmissable revelry. While the catchy record fits well into the project, it pales in comparison with the quality of ‘Iwotago’ and ‘Fada’.

Gezee.

Hot on the heels of ‘On My Way!’ is ‘Ova’, another party-leaning record with a more sensual undertone. Despite having more going for it, ‘Ova’ does not do enough to restore the EP to its initial quality. This leaves the redeeming act in the hands of ‘Good Energy’, which thankfully delivers. As he did on ‘On My Way!’, Gezee justifies his reliance on an Amapiano soundscape. He does this with heartfelt lyricism and a further infusion of Igbo expressions and Eastern highlife. He sings:

I don’t want anything wey go kill my vibe

Mu nokwa here nu na anuchalu wine

Mkpo my guys asi na fa na abia with Samantha, even with Chiamaka

The local industry is rife with feel-good records of varying quality about good vibes, positive energy and stress avoidance. Accordingly, artistes seeking to tow this line must make substantial efforts to attain relative distinction. ‘Good Energy’ is a standout track on the project, and this can be attributed to Gezee’s unique, giddy take on the subject matter. He rounds up the project with ‘Insha Allah’, which features the introspection evident in ‘Fada’. The transition from ‘Good Energy’ leaves more to be desired. However, ‘Insha Allah’ is a resonant record which ties up the project neatly.

Gezee.

Gezee’s long-time-coming debut, Journey Just Started, is a feel-good project which promises better things to come. This is notwithstanding the conventional song themes, the uneven quality in the middle tracks and the transitions. Gezee admirably infuses his Igbo heritage as he invites his listeners to kick back and enjoy life’s simple pleasures. The songwriting and vocal delivery are also commendable, with Gezee packing the punch where necessary.

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