Sonically, Kaduna born Chukwuka Ezeani (Ckay), is something of a marvel. A musical explorer, Ckay’s sound is a cornucopia of melodic influences from all around the world. From Latin guitar riffs to arabic adlibs and African drums, Ckay’s sound is an intricate blend designed to create an intriguing type of beauty.
The Boyfriend E.P does not deviate from the formula. In all of the songs, beauty is truly a common denominator.
On “Show My Side”, Ckay partners with fellow whisperer, Amaarae and pleads for his lover to come over. Thematically, the song is reminiscent of fellow beauty merchant, Joeboy’s “Lonely” released last year. It is a good enough song, but considering the seeming compatibility of their voices and sounds, I excepted more from this collaboration.
On “Jeje de Whine”, the hypnotism begins. The hook, a simple refrain of the titular phrase is almost trance-like. If there was ever a successful attempt at “Afro-dream pop” this would be it. It is simply enchanting.
“Isabella” is the closest song to generic afro-pop on this record. As such, I considers it to be the weakest song on the project. It’s production seems to borrow heavily from Rema’s “Iron Man”, and Ckay especially sounds like the lead raver on the hook. Again, it is a good enough song but nothing exceptional.
“Skoin Skoin” featuring Bianca Costa is definitely the best song on this project that wasn’t released as a single. The clear latin influences are beautiful and serve as a perfect showcase for Bianca’s verse and Ckay’s range.
“Mezebu” finds Ckay collaborating with falsetto crooner, Oxlade and Ghanian star, Kidi. Together, they get intoxicated after the effects of a bad breakup. Oxlade does what Oxlade does and Kidi is just adequate (if a little forgettable). It is an enchanting collaboration.
The project closer, “Kiss Me Like You Miss Me”, is a melodic/production showcase— the entire song has less than 10 lines of lyrics in it. Nonetheless, it is captivating and one of the most radio friendly songs on the project.
It’s almost unfair that “Felony” is on this record. However, it is the best song here, by far. Arguably, the best ballad released last year, It is a production, melodic, and lyrical masterpiece.
On the song, Ckay is at his best, creating niche music drenched in crippling beauty.
It seemed impossible that Ckay would top “dtf” from The First EP, but then came “Felony”.
Simply put, “Felony” is his best work so far.
Ckay’s strengths however, contribute to his weaknesses. His careful blend of influences make him a production and melodic maestro of sorts, but his lyricism and delivery is often found lacking. His uninspired lyrical tropes and poor enunciation can be problematic for many listeners who need more than melodies to connect to a song.
Nevertheless, there is no doubt of his ability and the fact that he is well on his way to becoming Africa’s premier “Boyfriend”.