Nigerian Afrobeats singer and entrepreneur Mr Eazi will release his long-awaited, decade-in-the-making debut solo album on 27 October. The 16-track album is now available for pre-order here(link is external).
The announcement arrives with the release of his new single titled ‘Chop Time, No Friend(link is external)’, and its accompanying music video shot in Dakar, Senegal, by Allison Swank Owen.
The song is a playful return to the banku music sound Mr Eazi pioneered and popularised with his early singles and mixtapes, fusing the pulse of Afrobeats with the more laid-back vibes of Ghanaian highlife music.
“‘Chop Time, No Friend’ is a very common Ghanaian saying, something you will see written on the front or side of buses,” Mr Eazi said. “It means when you are eating, you don’t think about anybody. You are just focused on your enjoyment.”
For the singer, the track’s lyrics are a way to express how he doesn’t let haters distract him from enjoying the fruits of his success. “It is touching on how people chitchat about me, but I am still focused on my enjoyment,” Mr Eazi said. “It is a celebration of self. I am saying everything I touch turns to gold. You can’t trouble me.”
‘Chop Time, No Friend’ was produced by Andre Vibez, the beatmaker behind Rema and Selena Gomez’s Billboard Top 10 single ‘Calm Down, and Ghana’s KillBeatz, a key contributor to Mr Eazi’s breakthrough 2017 mixtape Life Is Eazi, Vol. 1: Accra to Lagos.
Allison Swank Owen, who previously collaborated with Mr Eazi on the 2018 “Lagos to London: The Documentary,”(link is external) directed the ‘Chop Time, No Friend’ video.
“The main inspiration for the video was to tell the story of the incredible creative energy happening in Dakar,” Mr Eazi said. “We wanted to feature the fine artists, fashion designers, and everyday activities that make Dakar an inspiring place to be.”
While the title of the forthcoming album remains under wraps for now, Mr Eazi has shared the full list of producers who contributed to the project. In addition to Andre Vibez and KillBeatz, tthe others are Kel-P (Nigeria), Knucks (UK), Michael Brun (Haiti), M.O.G Beatz (Ghana), E Kelly (Nigeria), Type A (Nigeria), Stikmatik (UK), Yung Willis (Nigeria), Nonso Amadi (Nigeria/Canada), Phantom (Nigeria), Beat Butcha (UK), Venna (UK), KDream (Nigeria) and Mr Eazi himself.
Recorded over a two-year period between Ouidah and Cotonou, Benin, Kigali, Rwanda, Accra and Kokrobite, Lagos, London, Los Angeles and New York, the album features some of Mr Eazi’s most personal work, as he dives deeply into subjects like love, betrayal, loneliness, and family, expressed through three distinctive acts.
As he travelled through Africa recording the album in 2021 and 2022, Mr Eazi forged relationships with visual artists whose work he encountered along the way. Noting a lack of collaboration between Africa’s exploding pop music scene and the continent’s fine art creators, Mr Eazi personally handpicked 15 artists, representing nine African countries, inviting them to collaborate in a process he describes as ‘informal and instinctual’.
“Inviting artists to create for the album was from my passion for creativity and expression,” Mr Eazi said. “I formed a true bond with many of my artist friends. The artworks visually unlock the ideas, emotion, and energy within my music.”
Each of the artworks created for the album will be featured in a multi-sensory exhibition experience, which will appear in Lagos and Accra before heading to the 1–54 Contemporary African Art Fair at Somerset House in London from 12 to 15 October, followed by New York.