The Review: YP and Azanti take us to the Apex Village with the release of their joint EP, YP & Azanti, Vol. 1

At such an early stage in their careers, most artists would be focused on growing their individual careers and discographies, but Apex Village signees PsychoYP and Azanti subvert expectations with the release of their joint EP, YP, and Azanti, Vol. 1.

The EP itself is a mix of genres, never staying too long in one place, often shifting around between the realms of r&b and afropop, with a bit of trap for good measure. Clocking in at 8 tracks and 23 minutes, it’s short enough to not tire you out, but also lengthy enough to show you the range of sounds the two artists can deliver. 

YP’s versatility is especially prominent on this record, as his style is more trap sounding and heavy-hitting. Yet he doesn’t sound out of place at all, instead complimenting newcomer Azanti’s vocals without overshadowing him – a very difficult task given his talent. 

There’s also a lot of young talent involved in the making of YP and Azanti, Vol. 1. The standout track Caro employs the skills of upcoming producer collective 44DB Collective, with member Malik Bawa also being credited as a producer on Nobody. It’s a testament to the growing list of young creatives in Nigeria, a talented pool of individuals that’s only getting larger by the day. 

Despite the softer tone of the EP, YP still finds a way to incorporate his fast paced rap sound, with New Bag and Long Way From Home buttressing the fact that YP is in fact a rapper, and an amazing one at that. The latter features heavy 808s, really delving into his trap roots, although he sounds a little too much like Travis Scott on some verses. 

Azanti’s control over his voice is a significant highlight on this tape as well, particularly on Ji Masun, a laid-back guitar-driven tune. He provides well delivered vocals, with perfectly mixed harmonies and ad-libs. This also translates to YP’s verses, giving us some of his best vocals on this EP. He might be a rapper, but the occasional sung verse definitely doesn’t hurt his portfolio. 

Both YP and Azanti had a hand in the mixing of the EP, and that’s an essential aspect of this project. It gives it a personal touch, with the sounds being curated as needed in order to blend well with their vocals. It’s especially clear on tracks like Nobody and Ji Masun, particularly the latter which has a lot going on in the background. Nothing ever feels like it’s overpowering the rest of the song, the harmonies are just that, harmonies. 

Azanti isn’t as established an artist as YP, and this tape allows him to show us what he can do, while also solidifying his sound. The opener Posted Up is the only solo track on the project, and faced with the responsibility of carrying a song on his own, Azanti fares pretty well. He not only introduces us to the album, but also to who he is as an artist. 

It’s also worth noting that the EP was brilliantly written by Azanti & YP. It’s very clear their talents combine together, with Azanti doing largely the singing, his songwriting is part of what makes this project what it is, an amazing introduction to what looks to be a bright future for the two artists. 

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