This is my first experience with Emz. He came highly recommended so I decided to do a review of his album; My Side of The Story.
Before I hit play, I took a little time to peruse the non-musical details of this project. The cover art is a shot of the famous Cathedral at Marina, Lagos. A tad overused piece of Lagos architecture but it made me curious to hear his side of the story. These are my thoughts on each track.
“Anger is escalating on a daily basis” along with other audio excerpts from various protests introduces us to this project. It is worrisome that similar excerpt recordings like these are now in lots of songs. This shows the state of the oppression tactics being applied by the leaders.
The bass is hefty on this retro instrumental and I’m a fan. Emz‘s voice comes in and it’s very raspy and bears a striking resemblance to that of Teeto Ceemos. This is some OG talk. “Welcome to the album,” he says, I’m eager for more.
Another very old school beat. It’s already clear that he’s an “old head”. The song sounds like it was pulled from the early 2000s.
“Some put their faith in the bank but na God dey save” and soon after “you gotta find Nemo in places that oil spilled”, this first verse is littered with gems. Maka comes on the hook and solidifies the throwback sound of this song. I don’t think her performance on this song is great though. The song tells a story of lost hope in the country, a story a lot of people can relate to.
A love song of sorts. This album sounds like it was pulled out of a slightly dusty shelf of old hip-hop classics. It is a compliment. It’s very nostalgic in every way possible. I don’t know who exactly is rapping on this track with Emz but I like his voice a lot even though I feel like the math scheme didn’t come off as clever as he might have intended.
He drops a Tiger Woods bar as well that just doesn’t sound right. Emz on the other hand seems comfortable on this beat, his delivery is very smooth and gives off a Ghost of SDC vibe. Unfortunately, I think this song is the weakest so far.
4th Mainland Bridge
I love this hook, “E joor, kilo shele gan gan…” sounds anthemic. The energy of the track is nice and the instrumental is solid. You just know it’s a song to go off on.
“Black thoughts for the root of all evil” took a couple of seconds to sink in and it was appreciated when it did. Jive is flowing seamlessly on this beat. I love this one.
A shout-out to his favourite emcees and some classics. The smoothest he’s sounded so far on this project and the title is very apt. “If skills sold… I’ll probably be lyrically Ghost of SDC“. Ha. I called it. You can hear the influence. A song I can personally resonate with. He’s definitely an old head.
His flow on the last couple of tracks has been impressive and the streak continues here. The beats are not flashy but they embellish his raps very well. Eifee has some gorgeous vocals, sounding quite like The Weeknd. He’s rapping as smoothly as any guy would hope to talk to a girl they admire.
This song is absolutely perfect for a nice evening drive. I love it.
Lagos City Blues
Who doesn’t love tales of the Lagos life? This one isn’t a sweet story though, “it’s dog-eat-dog” he rightly says. The tale he’s telling is far from blues, it’s the harsh reality. Jive is back on this one. He sounds a little like Tec of SDC. He’s totally ripping this track apart. Two stellar appearances. I’m definitely interested in checking him out.
Overall, the album feels too short with only 7 songs and it definitely leaves you wanting more by the time it’s done. That would also be a good thing as it speaks to how enjoyable the tracks on it are. Emz appears to be a seasoned wordsmith who makes the kind of music he grew up on.
My Side of The Story comes off as a tribute to an era of hip-hop that is now past and will be most appreciated by the old school audience even though there’s nothing dated about his technique or penmanship.
With some good features and nostalgic instrumentals, he tells stories of love; of hip-hop, women, and Nigeria, while expressing his disappointment at the state of the latter.