Whatever the case is, this album will have its crowd and that might just be the appreciation it needs.
Yung L is a big of an enigma. Talent has never been in short supply. Like a lot of Nigerians, the first time I caught whiff of this singer was on his 2013 E Kelly-produced single, ‘Fever.’
Despite the awkward, subtly misleading and rough exterior to the beat, he found a mesh that helped the beat come alive. In that essence, lines from that song are permanently etched in this writer’s memory, “My people like it when I come around…” Well, I’m not gay, but the excitement with which I receive anything related to Yung L since his 2014 sleeper hit, ‘SOS‘ has spiked.
An incredible song, ‘SOS‘ was the culmination to what we witnessed and endorsed on ‘Fever.’ Filled with what seems like reggae/dancehall vibes, he switched to attractive afrobeats on an impressive level. The song went nuclear and its video became memorable for a scene in which sexy women lined a corridor before twerking like spirits possessed with sex appeal.
After the buzz that ‘SOS’ built, the anticipation built. But again, of the singles that followed, only‘Inna Mi Yard’ and later, ‘Pass The Aux,’ ‘Anya’ and ‘Gbewa‘ made any kind of impact. After his 2017 debut album, Better Late Than Never, things went quiet. Then, he released Jollification EP which had good songs and produced some impressive videos. However, it never cracked the mainstream.
Like never before and just after his long-term associate and collaborator, Endia finally released an album, Yung L releases, Juice and Zimm – his second project in less than a year. The consistency that’s been slightly missing while the world watches is finally here.
The EP opens up to the reggae vibes of ‘No Worries.’ Sung in patois, the song is an anthem of the stress-free in a world that aims to stifle with pressure. Its beat aids this message as peace sails into the soul. ‘Tropicana Baby‘ follows with a mix of konto and dancehall. Lyrically focused on the body and spirit of a sexy woman, the beat is suited to a good tw*rk session or sensual reverse whine.
Interpolating the classic guitar chords from American rapper, Eve‘s 2000s smash hit, ‘Blow Your Mind,’ Yung L crafts the dancehall tune, ‘Eve Bounce.’ It’s amazing how a Hip-Hop song could be flipped into dancehall in 2020 – music is amazing. Again, the song lyrically piques on ‘wash.’ For the hook, Yung L also samples Mario‘s ‘Let Me Love You.’
‘Too Much‘ is another lyrical obsession over a woman’s body with yet another Caribbean energy that is getting quite excessive for this album. Frankly, I want to know what this song was created to achieve. ‘Island Thing’ is the same thing, albeit on a slower beat.
For the first time, we step away from dancehall and Caribbean vibes. ‘Ready’ is an impressive R&B song that represents the zenith of Juice and Zimm – Tay Iwar, you beautiful bastard. Lyrically, the male protagonists on the song aim to take a relationship to the next level and they inquire about the readiness of their respective faceless women.
Sarkodie feels like a risque addition to the song, but it just about works out. ‘Light It Up‘ brings us back into dancehall – 2000’s dancehall to be exact. The song is good and it conveys great vibes, but the entire dancehall treat we’ve gotten so far from Juice and Zimm threatens to devalue it.
As with anything Yung L releases, Juice and Zimm showcases his ability to make good music. However, the EP is ever so slightly one-directional. Although they come on different BPMs and styles, the dancehall soul of Juice & Zimm overshadows the subtle differences in style.
Yes, artists can have a style. But in 2020, the expectations of a listener have gotten more aggressive and with an appetite that’s gotten voracious. While something like this might have worked in the 2000s, it will be harshly treated in 2020 – unfair, yes. But that’s the world we currently lived in. Yung L has the talent and artistry to diversify and he should have.
There is a reason why ‘Ready’ was the saving grace for this EP – it’s fresh and unique. More importantly, it’s an amazing song. While there are good songs across this EP, the appetite in people like this writer that wants some diversity will make them overlook the good songs. That said, this album will have its crowd and that might just be the appreciation it needs.