Music Review: Blackmagic joins the neo-Afrobeat train with ‘Like This’


The incursion of Mr Eazi like the usurp of Wizkid a few years ago is quickly shifting neo-Afrobeat sound. Like the Skin Tight singer’s signature laid back vibe, producers are now opting for heavy base thumps and minimalist chillwave progressions that never peak instead of kpangolo kicks and instrumental cluster fuckery. Blackmagic is gearing up for the release of his Version 3.0 album and with Like This, he is the latest artist to tap into the Eazi-esque atmosphere.

Like This is produced by Xela, and it features vocals from firebrand singer Seyi Shay and underground rapper Big Bad. Blackmagic’s flirtations with Fela’s continues on Like This via backup vocal style and patterns, only Xela adds an extra layer of vocals with Seyi Shay’s voice. Like This is built with the mood of a late-night drive on a Friday night, mellow hollow synths are laid in the background of leveled mid-tempo bass thumps.

Though Blackmagic still shows a strong suit for making songs with catchy hooks, the heavy imagery his verses usually possess along with an unpredictable flow is non-existent here. It’s unclear if this was the intent for Like This all along, but sexual innuendos planted alongside marriage themes sounds like a score for a movie about finding love in a strip club. But Nigerian music has never been the most literal place, hence why Blackmagic’s gruff voice raps, sings (with the help of auto-tune) and manages to hold down his own despite the confusion with what the song is supposed to be.

Like This may not fall into the right playlists with people who are used to a more lyrical side to the rapper, but we’re almost certain, Blackmagic made this for a different audience anyway. Neo sound movers are using EDM to open locks on doors that were never open to Afrobeat. And while early adopters like Wizkid and Mr. Eazi will always have the first mover’s advantage, co-signs from Blackmagic who leans even further towards traditional Afrobeat is proof the sound is a welcome progression for the genre and not just a fad we won’t be discussing in a couple of years.

Listen to Like This Below



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