Rules do not apply, music is not defined by the language but by how good it is and this is what ClassiQ attempts to evoke with his new EP, ”New North.”
In an industry where few languages lead the race as dominant tools for mainstream appeal, ClassiQ stays true to his roots as he conjures up images of what is to come on ”New North.”
After the likes of Zaaki Adzee and Eedris Abdulkareem, who achieved tangible success on the pop scene infusing the traditional language in their music, very few names have emerged from the region with the majority of their talents abandoning the path in their search for commercial acceptance and a wider audience.
Only a few identifiable names in Morell and ClassiQ are consistently infusing their local language in their music and repping for the North.
Indigenous rapper, ClassiQ, released his debut project, a 16 track mixtape titled ”Sarki” [King] in 2014, but it wasn’t until he got featured in Vector’s ‘King Kong’ the following year that more people began to take notice of his skill. He then followed this up in 2017 with the ”Rebirth EP”.
The ”New North” is the latest offering from the Arewa Mafia front-runner, one he says are a selection of songs that tells his story but have failed to make it on his album.
“These are just a selection of songs that didn’t make the album but I couldn’t afford for y’all not to hear them,” he says.
The first track, ‘Bad Man (Karya Su Ke)’ places us right into his world and what he is about, rapping in a mix of English and Hausa.
‘Culture’ stays true to its title from the opening sound of the traditional ‘Gurmi’ [Hausa Guitar] instrumental to the rich melody, ClassiQ takes his listeners on a journey down to his very base as he namedrops prominent individuals from the North.
‘Sai Godiya’, which translates to ‘Giving Thanks’ is more vibey and one that commands your presence on the dance floor as he is grateful for all his successes.
ClassiQ has enjoyed a working affiliation with Chocolate City in recent times and a result of that union comes in form of support on productions and guest features.
On the next track, ‘Manager’, he features the label’s in-house producer/singer, CKay as they tell a story of love and he assures his interest of his ability to take care of her. This is more mellow and brings out a different side to his delivery.
There are few projects in 2018 that do not have any strain of trap influence on it and ‘Up & Away’ with Ice Prince is that record that encompasses those elements of stuttering hi-hats and drunk heavy hooks.
His versatility is further portrayed on ‘Sharp Sharp’ which opens with a voice reciting Yoruba street slangs as he brings some solid bars to the beat.
‘‘Shortie wanna chill with the topshot… Zamani with the swag, I’m a likkle bit of Panshak”
‘Binta’ where he confesses love over a flipped flow and ‘Wonder Me’ featuring Yung L are the last instalments of ClassiQ’s attempt to introduce us to the New North. [Even though he adds the previously released ‘Gudu’ with M.I Abaga as a bonus joint]
This is a project built on melody, soul and mixed with Northern swagger. For a tape that he loosely terms as a playlist, ClassiQ definitely does enough to make you want to hear more of him.
”New North” is intact with grains of the rich music that is associated with the Northern Nigeria as he seamlessly captures the combination of playfulness, danceable musical instruments and earnestness that marks the cultural sound.
While the EP is strikingly fun, enjoyable and makes for a very easy listen, one expected more in content as it is tough to have a ‘New North’ without telling stories of recent happenings in the region.
However, the beauty of the music blinds you from the lyrics, as there is enough quality here to elevate his status as a contender for the heir of the throne when we wake up to the ”New North.”
3-Worth Checking Out
ClassiQ, MI It’s a Northern affair on ‘Gudu’