Milli – Don’t Ask Me What Happened – After a change of labels and a change of titles, Milli has finally presented his debut musical project, Don’t Ask Me What Happened.
The album had been originally planned to be released as The Childish EP under Chocolate City records, but Milli’s relationship with the label had been cut short, and he had moved on to set up his own record label, Up Next Universe.
Over the course of Don’t Ask Me What Happened, Milli continuously refers to himself as the “Leader of the New School”, and his sound is definitely new. In their introductory press release, Up Next Universe had revealed that Milli had full creative control at the label, something which he apparently didn’t have Chocolate City. Milli’s creative control shows on this EP, as the album is hip-hop, rap and R&B, perfectly infused with a trap style. Singing is easily his strongest forte, but there is still some lyrical weight thrown around on the album.
The album reveals what might be the beginning of a stellar partnership between Milli and PatricKxxLee. The 20-year old Zambian producer produces 4 songs of the album, and it’s very clear they have a very good understanding.
The album kicks off with We Up, a “dedication”, as he describes it, to Up Next Universe. Even though Milli says not ask him what happened, he talks about how “niggas tried to block him”, in reference to the creative differences in Chocolate City. This is a recurring theme throughout the album, also seen in Wave.
Milli hardly ever speaks vernacular or pidgin English throughout the album, but continuously shouts out Surulere, where he grew up.
Jealous takes a softer tone than the album’s opening tracks, and the chemistry between PatricKxxLee and Milli is obvious. The producer also features on the song, and shows off his ability to mouth off a couple of bars too. After The Hood and Animals After Dark, one can only hope Milli ties PatricKxxLee down and work with him forever. The producer’s versatility is also evident on this tape as he switches genres effortlessly from a rap style in Wave to hip hop in The Hood to a very trappy sound on Animals After Dark (which is one of the best songs on the album).
Milli goes the hardest on Don’t Ask Me What Happened with Unlooking Uncensored, a banging jam produced by Chocolate City producers Ckay and Reinhard Tega. The song starts off with what once again seems like shots at Choc City for trying to control his creativity as he raps, “Teach me how to get this fuck**g wealth//But don’t teach me how to be somebody else//Don’t tell me how to write a fuck**g verse…”
Milli wraps up what is a solid EP with Made For This, a trap-and-B song produced by Beats By Jayy, who aslo produced We Up. On Made For This, Milli sings about trying to make a name for himself in the music industry and having no bad blood for anybody. “If I burned these bridges, how the hell did I come across?” he sings.
While Milli won’t tell us what happened, he has shown us his own sound with this project, and it’s a damn good one. Despite switching the style up ever so often, Milli does a decent job of keeping the listener from getting lost with his own personal sound. This is a welcome refreshment from the typically tumultuous Nigerian music released everyday, and we can only hope more artistes join Milli’s new school.