[Review] Asa’s V and the art of experimentation.
Growth across all facets of life comes with an insatiable hunger. A hunger that’s birthed from not being too comfortable with one’s current position, but the willingness to try even if it means failing.
For Asa, this meant trying new sounds, working with new artistes, and veering a different path from what we would naturally expect from her.
Aaaa! Asa as an artiste.
Having sat on her throne for 15 years as the unrivaled queen of soulful and deep music with a seamless blend of culture and folklore, Asa suddenly takes us on a new ride. She observed the trend of music in Nigeria, noted its distinct sounds, and chose to create a new one— what I'll call testing the waters.
First, she teased the album on social media by sharing a picture of herself with Wurld and Big Wiz on different occasions and had heads turning with whispers as people tried to speculate the possibility of a collabo.
But after releasing her first single titled Mayana, her fans were slightly disenchanted. Where’s the Asa of Awe? They asked. Could she be venturing into afrobeat? Is she conceding to the school of thought that Nigerians only want to dance? Though her fanbase was a tight, large, composed, and less noisy cult from social media conversations, we could tell that it didn’t quite sit well with them as there were fewer conversations or hype about it.
However, some waited, if hopefully, to get swept off their feet when sounds from the album come flooding in.
Waves of Ocean.
A few weeks later, Asa released Ocean —another single off the album—which was accepted because, unlike Mayana, it didn’t totally veer off her style, she found the balance, people got talking and again, the album was anticipated.
For the first time, Asa’s project wasn’t themed, unlike others which had a sprinkle of love, consciousness, heartbreak, masculinity, and inspiration all laced in her discography.
Her 10 tracked album which revealed features from Cavemen, Amaarae, and Wizkid, cut across life while exploring genres like highlife with 'Good times' ft Cavemen, afro-fusion on 'IDG' ft Wizkid, 'Morning man', ‘show me off', and ‘Nike’, afrobeat on 'Mayana’ (you can hear the saxophone and kicks screaming I can do this too!) and afro-pop on 'All I ever wanted' where she sounded like Bruno Mars as she delivered smoothly.
One could tell from the production that Asa came through with more Afrocentric sounds, thus bringing us more vibes and gbedu without losing her core of depth and superb lyricism. This goes to further prove what a music genius she is because even in experimenting, she didn’t lose the ability to connect with listeners through her lyrics and the enjoyability her songs come with.
At the heart of this project is an Asa that is daring enough to veer off what her fans expect and experiment with new sounds. This is a bold move knowing how non-unique the afrobeat sound is in Nigeria. It may make her lose the uniqueness of her sound thereby unraveling the mystique behind her and making her lose some brand equity/fan share.
Could this be the beginning of a new music culture for Asa? We saw it happen with AG Baby and Big Wiz, how they reinvented themselves and came up with a different sound. Will this end with being just a test or would we hear more of this from her?
While you ruminate or take a guess at the answer, listen to Asa’s V here and share with us your thoughts in the comments.