It takes serious talent to say so much with so little, but anyone who’s listened to the Lagos-bred rapper, Phlow, knows just how gifted she is as an artist. And she’s putting all of her skills on full display here with, ‘Asuai,’ a brief but gripping mini-EP, produced entirely by Swedish beatsmith, Ryko.
In a little more than five minutes, Phlow pieces together a tightly knit narrative that follows a young girl falling in and out of love. You get the head-over-heels vibes on “Little Girl, Big’Ole World” and “Building Walls,” the latter of which features such striking imagery as “Want to color you with all my thoughts.” But like most things, the love can’t last.
The relationship begins to fall apart on “Cracked Windows,” and Phlow realizes it’s time for her to end it on “The Exit.” Here, too, she pulls you in with her story-driven and vibrantly written lyrics. When she spits, “Remember all the times my lungs would fill with you, I’d savor,” you know exactly what she’s getting at.
Of course, ‘Asuai’—it means “My Year” in Ukwani, a dialect spoken by the Delta Igbos in Eastern Nigeria—is notable for its rich, diverse instrumentals. Phlow and Ryko apparently connected via Soundcloud and began laying the groundwork for this project, which boasts beats from the producer’s ‘feng/shui’ tape. They take on a new life here, though, especially the dusty and ‘80s-reminiscent beat on “The Exit.” ‘Asuai’ is now available for stream, courtesy of Str8Buttah Productions.
1. Little Girl, Big’Ole World
2. Building Walls
3. Cracked Windows
4. The Exit (feat. Maka)