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Wizkid’s fourth album Made In Lagos was a huge milestone both commercially and creatively for him. For the former, the 2020 project became his highest-charting album, birthed a top-10 single with “Essence,” earned him his first two Grammy nominations as a lead artist, and kept him at center stage for song of the summer conversations in 2021. Creatively, it helped to wipe away doubts about Wizkid’s artistic trajectory after his crossover success in the mid-2010s was stumped by his underwhelming Sounds Of The Other Side album. Made In Lagos confirmed that Wizkid, one of afrobeats’ modern-day princes, had not lost his way in the genre. So much so that it would even be fair to call the album Wizkid’s magnum opus, especially in support of his worldwide appeal.
While Made In Lagos is dedicated to Wizkid’s hometown of Lagos, Nigeria, his latest offering, More Love, Less Ego is a dedication to lust, romance, passion, intimacy, and emotional connections – the type of things that, if more present in the real world, could make for a better and more unified society. On More Love, Less Ego, Wizkid doesn’t directly advocate for us to share more love and to be kinder with each other, rather, he spends 13 songs on a self-centered romance binge. While Wizkid’s craving for love and intimacy, oftentimes in its most raunchy form, drives most of the album, his success in finding it and his enjoyment of it is meant to inspire us to find it in our own lives.
The easiest way that More Love, Less Ego delivers this inspiration is through the album’s production. This credit goes in large part to producer P2J, as well as other names like Juls, Sammy Soso, Tay Iwar, and more. In addition to it being a cohesive and tightly-produced body of work, the sonics of More Love, Less Ego are built to draw the hearts together. Truthfully, that’s just a small piece of afrobeats’ beauty. At its fastest pace, the genre commands listeners to dance and be free of stiff bodily restrictions, and at its slowest, it sets the room for passion, whether timid or red-hot, to float through the air and affect those nearby. On More Love, Less Ego, this is evident between the spectrum of the slow and steamy “Flower Pads” and the lively and upbeat “Bad To Me.”
Enter: Wizkid. The afrobeats mastermind, who’s easily maneuvered through different generations of the genre (“Pakurumo,” “Ojuelegba, “Come Closer,” “Essense,” and “Bad To Me” are different for individual reasons), provides new evidence to back his lasting success. With the perfect canvas set for him, Wizkid wastes no time freefalling into raunchy and slick-mannered soliloquies about love. “Low on your body, dey on your case / Turn up the booty, yeah, yeah, whine up my charge,” he commands over airy amapiano drums on “Balance.” He goes further in his mission to seduce, later adding, “When the body pull up e dey cure my pain / And I no fit pass you like my Mary Jane now.” In the back half of the album, “Balance” is complemented by “Plenty Loving.” Here, Wizkid’s approach is less direct, but his goal remains the same. “Dem dey call me Mr lover / I go give you many loving,” he says in the song’s chorus.
In his most direct moments, Wizkid is a sheer lady’s man with promiscuous habits. The Caribbean influence that found its best life on Made In Lagos lives to see another album thanks to help from Jamaican artists Shenseea and Skillibeng on “Slip N Slide.” The cultures clash for a dripping tale of intimacy and the uncontainable desires that lead to an explosive moment in the bedroom. As Wizkid puffs his chest with lines like “Don’t dеny what you feel tonight” and “And I go f*ck you ’til the morning time,” Shenseea seductively places a finger on his lips to signal less talk and more action, as she says, “Mi nuh inna no long talk / Come make me put it pon ya.” While Wizkid advocates for less ego on his fifth album, his own runs free throughout More Love, Less Ego. The catch is it does so to aid his aspirations in love instead of hindering them.
Elsewhere, the ego sheds itself on More Love, Less Ego and makes room for more gratifying things to take up space on the album. It’s best captured through Wizkid and Ayra Starr’s admitted inability to deal with additional world problems on “2 Sugar” as well as through the optimistic self-reminders for a better tomorrow on “Everyday.” Wizkid, as always, does a wonderful job of bringing artists into his world without stripping them of the things that make them so appealing and without conforming or transforming himself into something indigestible for his niche audience. Naira Marley and Skepta’s authentic contributions inject a jolt of energy that pairs impeccably with Wizkid’s cool demeanor on “Wow.” Don Toliver stays true to himself on “Special,” but thanks to the flavorful and intoxicating guitar strums that ring behind his autotuned croons, Wizkid is also able to dish out sultry compliments that perk up the ear. In its best example, Wizkid creates a similar “Essence” moment, but this time with rising Nigerian singer Ayra Starr for “2 Sugar.” In short, for Wizkid, there’s always enough space to share the spotlight.
“Love liberates / It doesn’t just hold, that’s ego / Love liberates.” These words that appear on “Everyday” from the late poet Maya Angelou couldn’t be more perfect for Wizkid’s message on More Love, Less Ego. His relentless advances for love throughout the album seek this liberation, and he knows it can only be accomplished through reciprocation. It’s why he closes the album with a call for just that on “Frames (Who’s Gonna Know).” “Give me more of you,” he sings. “Give me something / I’ll never want to lose.” There’s always a risk in pursuing a fulfilling offering for the heart, and while those risks may be daunting, embracing them rather than trying to overpower them will serve you well. Quite literally, it doesn’t hurt to approach it with more love and less ego. On More Love, Less Ego, Wizkid fearlessly liberates his desires for love, and in turn, he’ll be graciously awarded for it sooner rather than later.
More Love, Less Ego is out now via RCA/Starboy Entertainment. You can stream it here.