Street music is primarily distinguished by its catchy and danceable beat, street relatable lyrics, and delivery that embodies the confidence and swagger of the street. To successfully make street music, at least two of the three elements must be present with the beat being the primary ingredient.
While the absence of street-relatable lyrics might be forgivable, the delivery must be boisterous and convincing enough to make up for it.
After her single ‘Tikuku’ gained some level of acclaim across social media and streaming platforms, Candy Bleakz showed that she might have what it takes to excel in a male-dominated soundscape.
Her debut EP ‘Fire’ is an announcement of her intention to stake a claim in Nigeria’s street-hop. And while ‘Tikuku’ might have raised hopes and expectations in some quarters, it’s however uncertain how far this 6-track EP has delivered on these expectations.
‘Fire EP’ opens with ‘Red’ an Amapiano self-adulation from Candy Bleakz who’s probably still basking in the euphoria of her recent fame. The beat is everything it needed to be and Candy Bleakz was able to deliver street-catchy lyrics through a simple melody.
However, what is instantly noticeable is the weakness in her delivery. Her vocals lacked command and she struggled to retain attention despite the melodic quality.
Candy Bleakz describes her sound as House Street which judging from ‘Water’ is a mixture of South African variant of House music with Nigerian Street-hop. ‘Water’ incorporates some traditional African elements into street hop with the backup vocals drawing from Swahili-styled music.
In ‘Water,’ Candy Bleakz’s lyrics are pretty much incoherent as it fails to deliver a clear message which isn’t an issue in street music. However, her delivery again failed to make up for the pointlessness of her lyrics and despite Zikay delivering a great beat whose percussion is laced with Shekere and Talking Drum, ‘Water’ amounts to a great beat and forgettable vocals.
No song better captures the abjectness of Candy Bleakz’s delivery than ‘Dragon Anthem’ where she inexplicably delivered a sleepy and uninspiring melody over a beat that was practically at her mercy.
In what was supposed to be an anthem for her collection of fans, ‘Dragon Anthem’ lacks the confidence and artistry of an artist who’s convinced of her abilities. The only good thing about the song is the Zlatan-styled backup vocals and the fact that it doesn’t exceed 2 mins 12 seconds.
‘Atenu’ is a delivery disaster class in which Candy Bleakz tried to deliver street relatable content that indicts individuals who lived fake lives. The repetitive nature of the chorus was likely intended to make it strikingly memorable, similar to Jerry Shaffer’s ‘Shedi Bala Bala.’ However, the opposite is the case as it’s again flat and uninspiring.
Candy Bleakz tried her hands with Drill in ‘Sango’ where she tried rapping. While this attempt to display her versatility is commendable, the song is not. The lyrics are awful, the chorus doesn’t cut it, and the delivery is a disservice to the beat.
While the argument can be made that listeners have only had to listen to male street-hop acts hence the vocal difference might be an upset of the status quo. However, Candy Bleakz’s delivery is so weak that this argument might not be enough.
Delivery is an artistic ability that isn’t limited to genre of gender. When MZ Kiss dabbled into street-hop, she had the command and artistry needed to deliver the song although she lacked the real life personality to match.
For Candy Bleakz, the opposite seems to be the case. Candy Bleakz has talent, however, the absence of artistry, confidence, and style in her music robs it of vital elements of street music.
In terms of enjoyability, ‘Fire EP’ has some good singles such as ‘Red’, ‘Water ‘, and ‘Tikuku’ that were limited by poor delivery. As far as album sequencing goes, little could have been done to offer a different listening experience considering the tracks on the EP.
As far as Production and Sound Engineering go, the percussion is a beauty, and the blend of kicks, strings, and horns sonically lifts the project.
Album execution, I think the A&Rs could have done a better job in steering Candy Bleakz’s vocals, melodic sequence, and writing in achieving a better delivery.
Overall, I believe the weak quality of ‘Fire EP’ is not due to a lack of talent but rather an affliction of consequential flaws in the soundscape Candy Bleakz attempted to explore.
Songwriting, Themes, and Delivery: 1/2
Enjoyability and Satisfaction: 0.5/2