By Affa Acho
When Grammy – winning Nigerian Superstar Wizkid, released his highly anticipated fourth studio album, ‘Made In Lagos’ on 30 October 2020. Many music fans expected the album to rank up high,in the list of some of the best albums of 2020.
Just as anticipated,the album didn’t not disappoint.Within one week of release, “Made in Lagos”broke several African streaming records; it became the first African album to debut on the Spotify Global Album chart, debuting within the top ten. The album surpassed 100 million streams across five platforms nine days after release, a rare milestone for a Nigerian artist.
The ‘features heavy’ album had guest appearances from British artists Skepta and Ella Mai, American R&B singer H.E.R., Jamaican artists Projexx and Damian Marley.Four Nigerian artists were also featured on the album, the artists are; Burna Boy, Tay Iwar, Terri, and Tems.
The four singles on the album were Smile,No Stress,Ginger and Essence. All the singles enjoyed some level of success,but it was the international-charting song “Essence” featuring Tems, that helped to solidify Wizkid’s status as a bonafide international Superstar.
‘Essence’ is the 11th track from his ‘Made in Lagos’ album.In the original version, he featured Tems on the vocals and had the track produced by P2J and Legendury Beatz.
Tems and Wizkid’s performance on the song seemed like a match made in heaven,as both artists were in top form,and complimented each other.The song debuted on the Billboard 67 and is currently number 1 on the Billboard world digital song sales chart as at Tuesday.
Music writers within and outside Nigeria heaped praises on the song.While showering encomiums on the collaboration, Nigerian music writer Henrietta Taylor said,
“The Nigerian artists make a formidable duo in the glossy Afrobeats single, with the more established Wizkid giving rising-star Tems a platform to give listeners a glimpse of her knock-out vocals”.Praising the chorus as “the hook that keeps on giving”,
U.S. based magazine NPR Music’s Editor, Sidney Madden wrote “this song didn’t really get the justice or even the fair playing field it deserved because we were all inside, we were all quarantined.
“But now that concerts and outdoor
picnics and anywhere where the communal experience of music is appreciated is coming back, this song is going to be everywhere, and it’s going to continue to go up”.
Regina Cho of Revolt Magazine deemed the song a stand-out from Made in Lagos, calling Tems’s verse “sensual”.
Essence was such a massive song that it was included in Spotify’s Song of the Summer playlist in June 2021,and in Former U.S. President Barack Obama’s favourite songs of 2020 playlist.
The high point for “Essence” came on the 12th of August 2021,when WizKid announced the remix of “Essence” featuring American Pop Superstar, Justin Bieber on his official Instagram account, giving little to no notice to his fans.
Bieber himself took to Instagram to officially thank WizKid for letting him feature on the remix, writing in a caption, “Thank u for letting me jump on the song of the summer. Essence remix out now.”
The new remix with Justin Bieber, jumped into the top 10 of Billboard’s Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.And continues the single’s rise as the latest crossover success for the Afrobeats genre.
The remix is a part of WizKid’s deluxe version of “Made in Lagos” which dropped on Friday August 27.
WizKid’s latest hit, “Essence,” is one of the biggest songs of the season,from his 2020 “Made in Lagos” album. The
Album has clinched the No. 1 spot on the Billboard world album chart, ten months after its release.
Next up, Wizkid is set to hit the road on his “Made in Lagos” tour. The 17-date trek kicks off Sept. 10 in Boston and hits major cities including Brooklyn, Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Miami through October before closing out with a pair of Canadian dates in Toronto and Montreal in January.