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Psycho YP & Azanti Remain In Top Form On YP & Azanti Vol 2. [Album Review]

When the duo initially combined for the first volume of this series, it wasn’t just great music that was delivered. It was great music that was of it’s kind and uniquely peculiar to the fact that two very different artists combined together to deliver magic.

YP & Azanti Vol 2 cover
YP & Azanti Vol 2 cover

In an industry that’s incredibly saturated, it’s difficult to find a particular sound or brand of music that’s not already occupied by great and upcoming artists alike. On the plus side, there’s more than enough music for everybody. The downside though is there’s probably too much music out there and you’ll have to comb through hordes of noise and ‘mid’ to find something phenomenal.

So how does one standout when there is already established brilliance in almost every sphere? Well, the solution is simpler than it seems. Offer something totally different. Hence the question beckons, how can one do that when there is so much unique sonic profiles out there already? Once again, the answer could be quite simplistic to solve. For all the uniqueness that exists in the world, there is only one type of chemistry that can be unearthed when 2 artists come together. It’s like colors in all their resplendent beauties. They’re all special in their own ways, but red plus blue would never give you the beauty red plus green would.

Tracklist
Tracklist

Contrary to popular misguided opinion, Afrobeats is a culture not a genre of music. Under this umbrella term, exists multiple genres of its pop, RnB and Hip-Hop variants etc. And because it’s a culture, that spirit of collaboration has been something our artists have embraced but haven’t exactly utilized to the highest level of dynamism. There is collaboration in all shapes and forms. Superstars giving emerging acts co-signs on remixes, two artists on the rise combining for sheer sonic spectacles, veterans having A&R input into other artists works and writing etc. However, joint collaborations on a project scale is something very rare.

Matter of fact, asides Psycho YP and Azanti, if you were to ponder about another duo—that are primarily solo acts—who regularly combine for projects, you probably wouldn’t be able to think past Ajebutter and BOJ. Which is crazy, when you consider the amount of potential collaborations in the brief flashes of magic we’ve seen on songs. Imagine a Baddo x Asake joint EP, or a Davido x Kizz Daniel one. The options are limitless, and the fact that the industry was stunned into shock when Ruger x BNXN announced their joint EP earlier this year, really speaks to the state of things.

Enough prelude to grasp the context of the ingenuity that YP and Azanti are pulling off on this scale. It’s one thing to do what nobody is doing. It’s another thing to do it really well. Vol. 2 builds on the fundamentals that made vol. 1 excel and even makes some major tweaks, to make it brilliant in it’s own right, rather than a glorified sequel to a great project. Whilst Vol. 1 fuses R&B and Hip-Hop in a unique formular, Vol 2. retains the identity of this series but slightly deviates off R&B roots into pop in a way that pays off for the project in sounding fresh and even being more accessible to the mainstream.

EP opener, Don’t Need Nobody is heavy on the ambient, atmospheric vibes with roaring synths and minimal percussion. YP & Azanti adopt impressive flows and a topical narrative that sorts of set the tone of the album and hints at what’s coming. Somebody is the record that’s the most primed for mainstream dominance. It has such an effervescent bounce that treads the thin line of Afro-R&B and Pop, the way Wizkid’s Essence does. And of course, Azanti delivers the goods on the chorus which has very strong sing-along quality. YP also understands the assignment and knows this isn’t the type of beat that necessitates the hardest bars or flows. Just something rhythmically groovy and it works.

Lekki Epe leaves the sophisticated scene of R&B fusion and heads down into Lamba lane. Although Azanti maintains his lush, rich vocals that’s synonymous with R&B soundscapes, the beat has less swing than Somebody and doubles down on the percussion. This is the party starter on the EP, and on the song the topical narrative still ties to the over-aching theme of having a good time, without strings attached as Azanti repeatedly sings, “I need your body.”

Clear Road heads into Amapiano fusion territory, and YP dimensionalizes his usual purist approach to rap by infusing it with the sort of flow cadences you’ll hear on a Shallipopi record, whilst Azanti totally abandons his R&B roots and goes full pop. Both artists try something different and deliver absolutely well. This might not be the best song on the project, but it’s arguably the one where both artists push themselves the most artistically.

Breathe ft. Malik heads back into R&B territory, and with a splash of implicit eroticism loaded with innuendos and unspoken yearnings, the song stands out for what it is. I Know has an electronic/synth pop twist to it that scores it points for dynamism on the production front. Both YP and Azanti keep it simple with their deliveries though. 2 Hot 2 Handle is this writer’s favorite track at the moment. It’s built on the same fundamentals of bops like Somebody, but the structure of the beat allows for better melodic rapping.

Lowdown is Afro-Swing suffused with Highlife synths and colorful, electrifying piano notes. It’s another mainstream friendly record that has the potential of taking off if serviced well. EP closer, Should’ve Been Here is also minimalistic on the production and heavy on the ambience, just like the opener and it works in closing the whole thing out.

Psycho YP and Azanti have once again delivered another collaboration that’s not just a decent showing of them, but a project that has them at their respective bests—pushing each other to new heights. It also does something refreshing and new in comparison to its predecessor and that would go a long way in ensuring it stands on the merit of it’s own success. This writer hopes some songs here get more aggressive push than the records of this duo is known for because there is really hit record potential here.

Final Verdict:

Sonic Cohesion: 1.6/2
Unharried Transitions: 1.5/2
Expansive Production: 1.5/2
Songwriting & Delivery: 1.7/2
Optimal Track Sequencing: 1.7/2

Total: 8.0/10

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