Nigerian singer-songwriter Mr. Eazi announced his upcoming debut album by sharing lead single “Legalize” on Friday (June 10) and introducing its unique artistic rollout.
The Banku music pioneer, who’s known for fusing Ghanian highlife music with Nigerian chord patterns, shares his affection for his fiancée and Nigerian actress Temi Otedola on the personal ode, its romantic groove beautifully underlining Eazi’s proposal in the chorus: “I don’t wanna do no koro baby make we legalize/ My whole world dey stop anytime you look into my eyes/ Even if you don’t know baby I go make you realize/ I no go let you go baby na you be my wife.” An international team of producers came together to create “Legalize,” including Haitian DJ/producer Michael Brun, Nigerian producer E Kelly and Nigerian-Canadian singer/songwriter/producer Nonso Amadi.
“I started the song in Michael Brun’s house on some edibles, freestyling. Later, I went to London and listened to what I’d recorded, and realized what the song was about. I’ve been thinking of asking Temi to marry me for a long time, so I guess it was in my subconscious,” Mr. Eazi said in a press release. “It’s more like this song is for me. A lot of the album I’m working on feels that way. I am making music for myself.”
Italian director Federico Mazzarisi shot the swoon-worthy music video in Venice. Months after Eazi had arranged to film the “Legalize” visual in Italy and purchased a ring, he decided that the video shoot was the perfect time to propose to Otedola.
“Legalize” is the first single from the Afropop superstar’s yet-untitled debut album, which is a decade in the making. He refers to his previous full-length projects, Life Is Eazi, Vol. 1: From Accra to Lagos (2017) and Life Is Eazi, Vol. 2: From Lagos to London (2018), as mixtapes. And for the rollout of his long-awaited debut LP, Eazi has commissioned various African contemporary artists to create unique pieces during live, intimate performances that will serve as the cover artwork for each single. According to the release, “These pieces will be tokenized and shared with the public through specially curated metaverse and physical events.”
For the “Legalize” artwork, the “Skin Tight” singer tapped Beninese painter Patricorel, who painted two skeletons holding hands and sharing a drink over a black canvas that “captures the intimacy of love, submission, vulnerability and the finality of death,” according to the release. Patricorel created the “Legalize” painting last month at an invite-only event in Lagos, where Eazi first performed the “Legalize” single, which Demola Falomo documented in a short film here. “What struck me was the fact that he represents love with his pieces, but he draws with skeletons,” Eazi says of Patricorel in a statement. “I think skeletons are our most human, naked form.”