On May 31, 2019, premier Nigerian record company, Mavin Records announced the signing of its latest act.
ALSO READ: MAVIN unveils new artist, Crayon
His name; Crayon. He is signed to producer, Baby Fresh‘s Blowtime Enterainment – an imprint of MAVIN Records.
As Pulse later discovered, the artist who calls Iba, Lagos his home is called ‘Crayon’ due to his multifaceted style of music and sound as well as his versatility. A pack of Crayons has quite a number of colours – to him, each colour represents a shade of his sound.
While he featured on MAVIN Records’ May 2019 single, ‘All Is In Order’ opposite Don Jazzy and Rema, we got the first evidence of his talent and versatility on Friday, July 12, 2019. MAVIN released the singer’s debut project, Cray Cray – a 6-track EP.
As with anything that comes out of MAVIN, the branding is heavy and the music is worthy. The production is wonderfully handled by Baby Fresh and Ozedikus.
‘So Fine’ is vibe music that shares a striking resemblance with ‘Corny,’ ‘Redemption‘ and ‘Fever’ by Rema, Runtown and Wizkid respectively. The drum arrangement and percussion and the beats per minute are basically the same. They just differ for content and melody.
With a video already shot, it is ‘wash’ music, on which Crayon croons the topic of love and affection as he adulates an unnamed woman’s beauty. Crayon is so attracted to her, he sings, “Call my number, I go respond… You are enough...” He offers her safety and reassurance everyone craves.
The Baby Fresh-produced song might not resonate with millennials, but it will be a shoo-in with Generation Z women. It will endear Crayon to them, perform well at concerts and will grow on people overtime – it’s a love song. Great strategy from Mavin.
‘Unusual’ is more fast-paced and it shares a similar beat arrangement with Rema‘s ‘Dumebi’, but with more African folk percussion and a different melody. The Ozedikus-produced sound prides itself on the underlying bass that accentuates the percussion as well as a marimba-like chord that keeps coming back.
On it, Crayon switches from a lover-boy to a man in control, calling the shots at an ‘unusual figure 8’ and making reference to a woman’s buttocks in Yoruba. He’s presumably about to or intends to bed this woman.
The best song on the album is the Baby Fresh and Ozedikus-produced ‘Bamiloke,’ an anthem about money and success. Topically, it lacks cohesion, but the celebratory idea to is can be easily grasped.
As the start of the song, Crayon sounds like Reekado Banks. The beat also shares sounds familiar with and seems like a faster version of Teni‘s ‘Power Ranger.‘ This will definitely be the hit on Cray Cray.
It’s already the most played song on SoundCloud by some distance.
‘Gock Am‘ comes a close second for the best second on this EP. It’s another ‘vibe’ kind of music. Ladies and gentlemen, Crayon definitely has bags of talent. What he does with this song’s hook is simply unreal.
Throughout the song, he finds different pockets to deliver another sort of cadence, style and technique that leaves your mouth gaping. And the part of, “She go like padlock boys for the friendzone…” is funny.
Ozedikus lies beneath the shadows, churning a beat that helps Crayon tell a story of a sought-after girl that he serious wants – no, desires.
‘Confidence‘ has a rude introduction. The beat sounds like some of the best lo-fi afrobeats songs of 2018. Some of those songs are ‘Soco’ by Starboy, ‘Immediately’ by Mystro and ‘Posh’ by Mayorkun.
But Baby Fresh, please take a bow, this beat is insane! Crayon does justice, flaunting his talent. Make no mistake, while this beat will carry most acts, only a few established acts can do justice to it. Crayon does.
With this song, it becomes apparent that if Crayon settles down, he could be a good songwriter. There’s something about this song. This song could be a sleeper hit – it has potential. On the topic of confidence, Crayon addresses a few angles without dropping the ball once.
I also like the Fuji edge to how Crayon says, “Confidence” on the hook.
‘Aye‘ is an afrobeat from the stable of Fela himself, it was produced by Ozedikus. The beat tells a story of strife and hustle. Remember my comment on Crayon being a good songwriter, well here is a confirmation.
The song basically uses determination to illuminate the saying, ‘When there’s life, there’s hope.’ Lyrically, the song is the best on Cray Cray, yet is the second weakest song over all. It will resonate the least with fans.
There is a songwriter in Crayon somewhere, but sadly, the Nigerian dance scene does not care and money must be made. However, I hope he explores that side of himself – call it sentiment.
His talent is obvious and versatility is evident. But the most impressive thing about Crayon is that he never stands still. He changes cadences and techniques on songs multiple times without ever dropping the ball. This is most evident on ‘Gock Am.’ We also see a lot of adaptability.
He shares a lot of similarities with Rema and with both of them, it looks like MAVIN has secured the bag for the next five years – at least.
Nonetheless, most of the songs on Cray Cray sees the Baby Fresh and Ozedikus try to recreate proven and formidable sounds in different ways. As such, a lot of the beats sound unoriginal and too familiar.
That said, nothing is new anyway. For Mavin, it is a strategy that sees them warp the familiar into a masterstroke. They always make simplicity seem out of this world and that is definitely a bonus, not a weakness.
But from a musical standpoint, sounds that seem to familiar can put finicky and attentive listeners off. Will that stop the songs on this EP from being hits? My man, hell no! Crayon will be a star.
Can we also discountenance the similarities in sounds too? No.
MAVIN is the most strategic label in Nigeria. When Rema EP dropped, ‘Iron Man,’ its weakest song was a lead single with a video. It was also track one on the EP. What turned out to be the biggest song, ‘Dumebi’ was track three. It worked out and ‘Dumebi’ grew organically.
Now with Cray Cray EP, ‘So Fine,’ its weakest song serves as its lead single. It also has a video and is track one on the EP. ‘Bamiloke,’ its best and most radio-worthy song on the EP again sits at track three.
I wager that that it’s intentional and strategic. The idea is to introduce people to the weakest/safest song, prepare their minds and then shock them with a string of better songs on the project. This way, the artists escape the one-hit-wonder tag and songs grow organically.
Songs that grow organically succeed incredibly and are more durable on the airwaves.
• 0-1.9: Flop
• 2.0-3.9: Near fall
• 4.0-5.9: Average
• 6.0-7.9: Victory
• 8.0-10: Champion
Pulse Rating: /10
Enjoyability and Satisfaction: 2.0/2.5
7.0 – Victory