Album review: Kizz Daniel crystallises success of ‘Lie’ with new EP, ‘Barnabas’

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Nigerian pop star, Kizz Daniel has been through a lot. A 2017 label fiasco almost dent a permanent stain on his musical career, and he was one of the few that survived such an onslaught.

After introducing himself to the Nigerian audience with the hit track ‘Woju’ in 2015, Kizz Daniel doubled it up and solidified his place in the Nigerian music industry with his groundbreaking debut solo album ‘New Era’ a year after. It featured standout tracks like ‘Mama’ ‘Sin City’, ‘Good time’, etc.

Two years after, Daniel returned with a sophomore album which he called ‘No Bad Songz’; though the title had always been disputable, on close listening, there were some criticised  songs but they didn’t overshadow the awesome experience he doled out to the listeners.

His 2020 ‘King Of Love’ album was received with mixed to negative reviews from critics, which many opined may have lead to his hiatus from music and the social space.

Daniel’s re-emergence in 2021 was slow, until ‘Lie’ cracked the code, forming the template for his new extended play which he called ‘Barnabas’. According to sources from his camp, it means ‘son of encouragement’ but underneath, the words can be likened to Bar Na Bas, a sort of self acclamation.

Being a musician in an industry as forgetful as the Nigerian music scene, Kizz Daniel knew he needed to crystallize the success of ‘Lie’ with this EP. With a strong affinity to God and cupid arrow, he towed these lines on this EP.

‘Pour Me Water’ and ‘Addict’ were heralded by him lighting his blunt. A case of a distraught and jaded soul dealing with cupid arrows. On the second track, the issue gets worse, he becomes an addict; addicted to drugs while he storied his lifestyle with his dealer, girls, and party. The lyrics and tone of the song make it more personal, should we assume this is an autobiographical note from the father of twins?

The feature of urban highlife band, the Cavemen, brought a minimal impact on Daniel’s highlife and Afrobeats mix track ‘Oshe’. Their performance would leave listeners wondering about the essence of such collaboration and who stands to gain more from it.

‘Burn’ contains strings of emotions. Laid back track, rife with lukewarm lyrics, the writing could have been better. ‘Lie’ and ‘Skin’ share almost the same theme; while the former celebrates ballad and body positivity, the latter preaches against racism; Kelvyn Colt, a rapper of Nigerian-German descent provides 16 bars to buttress what Kizz Daniel says.

Ultimately, ‘Barnabas’ succeeds in its ability to balance punchy, straight-up talk, ballad, and somber reflection with a twinge of saccharine lines.

It’s a brave return from the pop star, although it’s not close to ‘New Era’ or ‘No Bad Songz’ in terms of artistic ingenuity, however, it’s a good way to obliterate the memories of the reported bland ‘King of Love’ album.

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