36 States is a weekly publication offering stories about culture, sports, music, business and politics of Nigeria. The blog aims to take its audience through a discovery of Nigeria through interviews, editorials and historical perspectives.

LISTENING SESSION: TUNJI IGE "MISSED CALLS" EP...

A few weeks back, I was listening to a playlist on the music app Spotify and discovered a new artist by the name of Tunji Ige. He is a Philadelphia rapper born to Nigerian parents. The track that played was called “Bring Yo Friends” which is a derivative of the Juvenile song “ Back that A** Up”. Prior to hearing Tunji version of the sample, Drake put a twist to it by turning into a ballad called “Practice”. The song by Drake was entertaining and focused primarily on using the production sample. On this track though, Tunji focused on the rhyme cadance to deliver his message throughout the track. The track brought be back to the early 2000's when Juvenile and the Cash Money crew dominated the rap scene.  To hear him spit his verses with a New Orleans slang introduced to the world by artists such as Master P along with Juvenile in the early 2000’s gave me great excitement to learn and listen more to his music.

I went back to playing the track over the next few days and wanted to learn more about Tunji through his music. I had many questions because I could tell that the song was greatly influenced by the more relevant artist in the present pop culture such as Drake, J Cole, Kanye West, Wale, Future and The Weekend. His sound is clearly a product of the artists that he has been listening to over the past decade. This brings me to the mixtape he recently dropped last month titled “Missed Calls”.

 

Missed Calls is an EP with six tracks with influences from trap music out of Atlanta, OVO sound with the melodic vibe and a youthful content that is very entertaining throughout. Some may call this a stretch but Tunji represents a form of post 808 and Heartbreak, where the melodic vibe of a track can dominate causing a difficulty in comprehending the message expressed vocally on a track.

The content is lacking depth with regards to lyricism, however the production, while similar to many sounds in today's Hip Hop genre allowed Tunji to shine as a song maker.  There is some predictability to the rhymes but the transition from track to track over the course of the EP made it engaging and caused me to play back the EP numerous times. There is a part of me that wants to give Tunji some time to develop his lyrical content but I think Tunji is more on being a great song maker than lyrically dominating a track. This is not bad approach, but to be considered in the the upper echelon of Hip Hop artistry, you should be dominant in both aspects.

My favorite track on the album is called “War”,  however, the song “22” is starting to grow on me as a because of the subtle melodic hymns at the end of the track that repeats just before the song fades out on the listener. The growing interest I have in his career has made me go back and listen to his previous EP called “The Love Project”. There is a definite growth in the layering and consistency of the tracks on Missed Calls, thus showing the growth I like to see from young artists.

Overall, as a second EP, Missed Calls captures the essence of what Tunji hopes to accomplish, which is to say that his busy life is taking him in different places and he may miss some calls in the process.  So as a fan, I plan on not missing out on his future releases. 

Missed Calls is currently available on Spotify.

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