Rhythm and Blues (R&B) and Soul music — R&B/Soul (if you would like to address it as such) — is slowly but gradually making a grand comeback to the Nigerian mainstream music market and this I love to see.
Not to be the complacent fellow but I feel the Nigerian music sound is over-saturated with Afrobeat(s), Afro-Fusion and as of recent, the borrowed Amapiano sound. Please don not misinterprete my intentions behind saying this, because truly we already hit the jackpot with the first two music genres stated above, they have become the most exported non-physical commodity out of the country and Africa as a continent. Truth be told though, we have reached that state where we need to start diversifying our sound, musically speaking, so as to avoid the dreadful slope of being pigeonholed as a ‘one genre country’ or even worse a ‘monotonous continent’ when it comes to making music.
Damn! I really needed to air my mind. Now that it is out there, let me say welcome back to my space (ehn! Why am I sounding like a YouTuber or podcaster? LMAO.)
Good to note, Undercover will be a series where I (the writer of course) will bring underground, fast-rising and/or underappreciated music projects and artistes your way in a bid to shed light on them, making you see the gems I have found in them.
That was a long ass introduction, let us go on a trip to Caezar-Ville.
Caezar-Ville by Zoriian:
• Major genre: R&B/Soul
• Sub-genres: Electronic (EDM) and Trap-Soul and Reggae-Dancehall
• Other genres: Afrobeat
Who is Zoriiann? You might ask. I do not know myself (LMAO) but one thing I can attest to is the fact that this young blood is undeniably a talented music maker. I got to know about this solid project—Caezar-Ville—just yesterday (Friday the 14th of May) but what a delight it has been for me to come across this project.
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Straight from the jump, he wore his hearts on his sleeves, letting the emotions flow on the first track, Broken and ever since, Zoriiann never let go of the momentum even while switching gears, changing from one genre to the other with so much ease like water flowing through a newly installed pipe.
Oh! I failed to mention. Caezar-Ville has a total of 10 tracks spanning a 27-minute duration. The first track being R&B/Soul, the second, the third and the last relishing Electronic Dance Music (EDM); R&B/Soul makes a comeback on the sixth through the ninth tracks but the seventh record, Sunset Dreams brings a touch of Afrobeat embedded in its production while the ninth song off of the tape, A Girl is a Gun is enrichingly flavoured with Reggae-Dancehall vibes.
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One thing I appreciate about Caezar-Ville is Zoriiann’s simplicity, not doing too much, always sticking to the scripts. Zoriian’s aim for the project was to sing from the heart, sharing his love and heartbreak stories, which he did just perfectly, not deviating to branch into other topics, not even for once. Very impressive and outstanding if you ask me; like I said earlier Afrobeat(s) and Afro-fusion is the norm and there is that imminent temptation to dive into them but in Zoriian’s case, he kept it real, a hunnid, speaking undiluted truths on the tracks from his hearts to our ears.
Another art I find very impressive is the very relatable sensible lyrics. Not for once did Zoriiann try saying something he was not comfortable with just to please the crowd.
For we know and can admit that in our music, our artistes are accustomed to spicing their individual songs with catchy phrases and slangs every once in a while. Yes, they add flavour to the songs when such is done but many a few have begun to make that art of adding slangs much boring, so much that they just spit anything that enters their mouth out on their songs.
Zoriiann, all through Caezar-Ville kept his lyricism intact, painting vivid pictures in our minds as we listen as if they were his canvas, tracks like Broken, Baddie, Sunset Dreams, A Girl is a Gun, Excitement and Entitled are testimonies to that fact.
Outstanding is the diversity of genre on Caezar-Ville. All of the tracks have an element of laid-back, chilled R&B/Soul ambiance around them but on Entitled, Baddie and Love it Here (sequentially listed out), I like that Zoriiann tried rapping a little bit, providing a nice turnt feeling over their Trap instrumentals to complement the EDM over the previous two track before Entitled in Never Before and You Got Me.
My favourite tracks, if I had to choose will be Broken (track one), Entitled (track four) and Sunset Dreams (seventh record). Especially Sunset Dreams‘ second verse, whatever that verse was laced with is just too ingrained in it, for me not to love it—“Hit me with that / Hit me with the whine so / Touch on you nice / On your body make you dance so”—I just cannot help but continue to hear the talk-pause pattern way of bringing those lines to life.
The Caezar-Ville surely serves as a nice vacation resort to me which I would highly recommend for anyone looking for a tourist escape.
I would point out though that I feel Zoriiann should have explored more with his vocal range because to me he seemed just a little bit too comfortable on many of the tracks (which is nice by the way) but could have shown more vocal dexterity like he did on Never Before and One in a Million, hitting those high notes and/or using stress patterns to emphasize the syllables in some words so as to make them have a deeper meaning and probably I wished he should have experimented with more sound, production wise, not just the predominant laid-back chilled feeling he attached to the songs and yes one can still make solid R&B joints on Hip-Hop-type, Pop-type beats. Apart from that, I am very impressed with Caezar-Ville as a whole.
Without featuring a single artiste on his debut project, Zoriian showed that going solo is not always bad, as far as you hone your skill(s) and deliver just as expected.
On a scale of 1-10, 1 being the least, 5 the average and 10 the most, I am giving Zoriiann’s effort on Caezar-Ville a solid 7.5/10, it would have been 8/10 if not for the stated reasons.
Do not take the words of mouth just for it, do well to listen to Caezar-Villeby yourself: