Long before the release of this record in August 2015, LeriQ had made a name for himself as the wunderkind producer capable of bottling the erratic talent of singer Burna Boy and working with him to grind out some of the most left of centre pop records to happen along this decade. Burna Boy soon proved too hot to handle for Aristokrat Records and while LeriQ turned his attention to other acts signed on to the label, (Pucado, Mojeed, Kamar), not a one of them came even within distance of Burna Boy’s mainstream success.
LeriQ looked inwards and assembled half of the entire music industry to put together his own project. Titled The Lost Sounds, the record is less a discovery of new soundscapes and more a rejuvenated take on old and existing genres.
Capital Records dream team of Ill Bliss and Chidinma open up proceedings with the bump and grind of Where You Dey. Nothing new here really as Ill Bliss brags about his achievements and worldly possessions while Chidinma declares no love for fair weather friends. It’s all done very competently and the finished product oozes a shiny grease that makes the record pop.
Pop legacy artistes abound on the record to gift LeriQ with some legitimacy plus bragging rights. For a change, 2face does not phone in his solo star turn, Answers and the result of his effort is a bouncy mix delivered in English and his native tongue. Wande Coal proves he is the stuff of superstars with Wish List, a mellifluous ditty where he does impressive vocal work. Wizkid sticks out like a sore thumb with his lazily written Say You Love and the less said about Timaya’s exasperating dancehall contribution, Aunty, the better.
Lifting the profiles of all of these songs is LeriQ’s formidable gift for creating big sounding beats that are a call to dance. His unique, pulsating tech thrillers sometimes call to mind the work of American super sound man Timbaland and LeriQ may well be his musical godson, what with his schizophrenic, monster creations.
It is a brave new world, so the newbies and alternative artistes are also represented generously. LOS and Kamar Tachio go back and forth on Multiply. Redsan and Shaydee’s All I need has a swoony Hip Hop/R&B vibe while up and coming Wurld shows impressive vocal and technical polish on the ear wormy Let You Go.
From the far South of the continent, Cassper Nyovest bounces in on Hell Of It, assisted by Kayswitch while Ghanaian Efya is let down by LeriQ himself on the dreamy, experimental Show Me. The mixing and matching of sounds works better for Nneka on the banshee clawing and scratching of Stand Still. Seyi Shay gives a passable account of herself on Xtasy, rescuing a potentially boring song from the brink.
Of course there would be no LeriQ without Burna Boy and vice versa and the duo reunite on two singles. The first is the French Comment Tu T’appelle, really an ensemble with Dammy Krane, Mojeed and O-Zone that plays as a low key rehash of stuff both LeriQ and Burna have done earlier. Turn Up makes more sense and is the better song but even it can’t hold a candle to the duo’s best work.
LeriQ is the undisputed star of this compilation but as is usually the case with genius, indiscipline is a problem. LeriQ must have been faced with so much material that picking songs that would fit into a thematic concept must have been exhausting. So he does the next conceivable thing, packs in as many of them as he can manage, leaving the poor listeners entertained to a stupor. Fatigue soon sets in and at some point, it is a struggle to sustain interest in the project. This underserves the work that LeriQ and his guests have put in as every song has a redeeming quality. Well except maybe Timaya’s.
With music like he’s produced here, LeriQ should be around for a long while.
–– Wilfred Okiche (@DrWill20)