24 year old Nigerian born artist BNXN fka Buju reaches new heights with his newly released EP ‘Bad Since 97’. After making onto the nominee list for ‘Rookie of the year’ at the Headies Award and Barack Obama’s summer playlist with his breathtaking anthem ‘Finesse’ featuring Pheelz, BNXN was destined to join his peers and take over the world. In the length of just seven tracks and zero skips, the afro fusion singer takes you on an endless trip of good vibes, good rhythms & sounds. To his side, established Nigerian names such as Wizkid, Wande Coal and Olimade make an appearance, adding their own flavour to what can only be described as another effortlessly good project by Bnxn.
Bad since ‘97
The first track while sharing the title of the EP ‘Bad since ‘97’ is a great starter to the project experience and naturally makes you excited to hear what else Bnxn has to offer. With the combination of a high tempo from the music production side and high energy delivered through Bnxn’s natural exquisite singing abilities, the track makes a prominent effort to keep your attention throughout the two minutes and fourteen seconds, accompanied by rhythmic & catchy melodies. Although the Afro music singer makes no use of a traditional chorus, after each time the flow changes, Bnxn takes you to a next level until one reaches complete satisfaction. As an anthem that is meant to make you dance and lose yourself to the rhythm of the song, Bnxn visibly did not disappoint his listeners.
Bad Man Wicked
The second track ‘Bad Man Wicked’ off the EP serves as pure vibes that can be explored at any time of the day. Making attestment to his known nickname of ‘the king of melodies and hooks’, his bad man lyrics are a treat and just enough that it does not come across as self-absorbed. With the only exception that it may sound bland just from the first listen alone, if one gives it a few more tries, what makes Bnxn such a tuneful vocalist and the magic behind his music will reveal itself without a doubt. Whether it is the mellow voice or the lounge sounding beat, you can not take your ears off the song as Bnxn is a master of great balance.
Many Ways Featuring Wizkid
Third track ‘Many Ways’ and arguably the most loungeable song off the EP, featuring the king of afro lounge music himself Wizkid leaves a personable impact to the project so far. Under the leadership and guidance of London born Ghanian music producer Juls, Bnxn mostly takes position on the chorus while giving Wizkid the space to shine on each verse. Sounds familiar? This is because that music dynamic is very reminiscent of ‘mood’, a well-received single from Wizkid’s 2021 grammy nominated album ‘Made in Lagos’. On one hand, one may argue that this is what Bnxn fka Buju is actually known for doing and he does it pretty well. On the other hand, this is a Bnxn project and not a Wizkid project, and his second opportunity to sing alongside Wizkid, which he could have used to challenge and outdo himself a little bit more. Within this style of music, similar deliverance and dynamic can become very quickly repetitive and uninteresting. Although, this is not the case with track ’Many Ways’ at all, it could very be that a third time with a fusion of Bnxn and Wizkid under the same spell will be seen as old news for both of their fans.
Kenkele Featuring Wande Coal
The fourth track and lead single ‘Kenkele’ featuring artist Wande Coal brings the sun to this relaxing summer project. Kenkele with the direct translation of living your life carefree and in the best ways possible in Yoruba, this is exactly what the track offers to its listeners. In his verse, Wande Coal makes mention of proceeding to live life in the moment without the input of others. Thereby, one can say this track not only leads to example, but also, providing the best outlook to vibe upon. Both Bnxn and Wande have a great exchange of singing on the beat and compliment each other very well.
In My Mind
As the fifth track off the EP, second lead single that made its debut with Bnxn’s COLORS performance and first official love song worth an instant replay, ‘In My Mind’ shows the vulnerable side of Bnxn, whilst serenading his woman with playful metaphors. Most recognisable lyrics go as follows; “Because in my mind, I’m superman and you’re Lois Lane”, a new expression we are invited to use in our own personal time and sing along as he repeats himself throughout the song. In a turn of events, Bnxn later on reveals that the woman he is referring to is not around him for the right intentions and proceeds to call her out for it, going as far as comparing her to Judas. If this track ends up not being about triumph and tribulations, love surely is.
Modupe Featuring Olamide
The sixth track ‘Modupe’ with Lagos State artist/songwriter Olamide is a great follow up to the previous track in reference to a situation of mistrust. Modupe which is the direct word translation of gratefulness in Yoruba – is proof of a positive mindset coming from Bnxn and what he has been able to portray this far in his project. As always, the king of hooks delivers a chorus that sticks with you right away and obliges you to try and chant along. Olamide provides a great balance and a small distance away from the constant singing which is a great way of keeping our ears refreshed.
The seventh and final track ‘Loose Emotions’ is everything you could ask for in terms of ending a classic EP with the best outlook moving forward. In the lyrics, one can hear Bnxn coming to a realisation he is better off without a past relationship and therefore, looking out for himself. The track gives out a feeling of departure, almost as if one is aware that the EP is preferably coming to an end.
Bad since ‘97
In conclusion, starting from high energy to a lounging area, only to confront a sticky situation and fall victoriously at the end, ‘Bad since ‘97’ is an EP with so much more to offer than just memorable hooks and a mellow spirit to which Bnxn fka Buju is known for. With its versatility in themes and rich colours in sounds, we were able to bear witness to another of Bnxn’s projects with great control of balance. None of the features felt unnecessary, yet it could have easily prevailed without them. None of its content is anything new under the sun however, it makes sense. Finally, Bnxn may not have pushed his buttons however, how he chooses to contribute to the afrobeat wave of today, it is a space in which he fills well. Only time will truly tell whether he’ll push himself further or continue down this path of sticking to the comfort he’s been known for these past music releases.