Nigerian singer Mr. Eazi is one of afrobeats’ most visible ambassadors: He’s been featured on a pair of Top Twenty hits in the U.K., worked multiple times with Major Lazer and opened tour dates for J Balvin. But despite his gift for international collaboration, one of the most affecting tracks on Mr. Eazi’s new Lagos to London release is a celebration of home-grown talent: On “Miss You Bad,” the singer trades longing verses with another Nigerian star, Burna Boy, over a handsome guitar loop.
“Miss You Bad” is actually an old song that Mr. Eazi rediscovered recently. “I wrote the hook in 2016,” he explained. “At that time, music was just a hobby, so I was writing music every weekend to distract me from work — I had to report to investors every week, so this was an escape. More recently, I was in London, I had the guitar riff, and I started to freestyle the hook. Or I thought it was a freestyle. I sent it to my friend, who also is an A&R for my label, and he was like, ‘I remember this hook from 2016!’”
Mr. Eazi penned new verses, enlisted Burna Boy to add lyrics, and “worked with the producers to make sure the groove on the drums — tsh-pa, tsh-tsh-pa — sits in between R&B and the African music I make.” “Africa works on groove,” Mr. Eazi added. “What does the groove say?”