You see that photo above? You see that uninspiring piece of digital creative work that sits above this text? That is Wizkid’s album cover for his next project. That thing, with its messy mix of colours and a reworked image of Wizkid wearing funny shades, will be what fans will forever have as the image of his next big material - "Sounds From The Other Side."
How did this happen? How did he get to this point and sign off on it?
I hear your thoughts. I smell your positivity. Wizkid is doing great things. His first body of work under Sony/RCA Records “Sounds From The Other Side” will be released on July 14, 2017. This year alone, he has picked up awards and shiny trophies from iHeart Radio, Echo, BET and Billboard. He is winning alright.
But the key thing bout winning is that you stay winning. One mistake, and a bullet could lodge a bullet in your leg. And also winners have to watch out for the toxic arrogance that comes with winning. That arrogance erodes your good judgement and make you sign off on very senseless things. Check out Meek Mill who thought a decent run in his career and a superstar girlfriend was enough to make him launch an attack on a pop god. He is still recuperating from going against Drake.
Wizkid’s messy album art might not be a great deal on the surface, but it does enough to put away potential new listeners who would want to discover new music.
“I’m trying to fuse the sounds from artists out here [the US] with my local producers back home, and international producers as well to do something special – like a little playlist for summertime.” He described in an interview with Revolt TV.
Conceptually, Wizkid is selling this project as the culmination of the new wave and spotlight on sounds and talent from Africa. Although he is predominantly utilizing Caribbean sounds for the project, he is also working with local producers. And throwing in elements that are actually from the ‘Naija side’ of life.
This artwork fails to capture that. It captures nothing, Inspires nothing. Shows no correlation to the actual source of his sounds. Most importantly, Africa gets no part on that album art.
See this photo below.
That was the initial image used on the project. It wasn’t perfect, but throw on some lettering, tweak it some more, and you will get a befitting cover art for this project.
Contrary to what many of you believe, Wizkid is still an upcoming artist in the US. He is operating from a position of no-power with the US market. The structures are present for his push, the music is coming through, but he needs more work to chart on his own. That’s why this project is important. It will be the start of his real onslaught on that market.
And to be fair, we also have to understand that Wizkid does not have the final say on what becomes the artwork to his new project. There’s a branding team for all that. He is required to throw in some input, and look the other way.
But as Wizkid project art goes, this is a step down from “Ayo (Joy)” album art. It is also a further step down from his debut album art for “Superstar”. Ideally, artists should grow, not regress in every direction. This art game is regression.
And for readers and fans with the mentality that album artwork doesn’t matter, here’s some new knowledge for you:
Album art is the bridge between liking a single song and learning more about an album, band, or producer. The art remains a vital space to grab attention, contextualize a song, or tell the story of a whole album.
It’s the image that leads the right people to your music and turns passive listening into active listening. That means turning casual listeners into super-fans. People consume music with their eyes before it gets to their ears.
Wizkid should know this. His team should know this. An album art like this should never come near his brand. At best, it should be some amateur work, created by a fan with very little skill on some cheap digital design tool.
Tsk, tsk, tsk...