ALBUM REVIEW

Femi One's "XXV"

Like she’s always done in her past works, Femi provokes and calls out her detractors with hard-hitting lyricism.

In Summary

• The EP proves there’s still room in her formula for some shiny new influences.

Femi One's "XXV" EP cover art
Femi One's "XXV" EP cover art
Image: Courtesy

Album: XXV

Artiste: Femi One

Genre: Hip hop/ Rap

Release: April 25

Skepticism around artistes leaving their record labels isn’t anything new. And while this is probably one of the greatest blows to hit Kaka Empire, with top acts like Arrow Bwoy and Avril exiting, it’s actually presented the stable with an opportunity to reflect on their intentions in the music industry. This prompted the signing of new, young talent like Real Jadi, Bridget Blue and Lyka Rose, and also ensured the label deals with the hard-hitting questions about existing talent by releasing Femi One’s first major project.

Femi One has been in the scene for a while now, delivering incisive raps that best represented her narrative. And despite attempts by the label trying to shift her sound into the broadly accepted pop influence, as was evident on the track “Tembe,” Femi has always excelled best in her hip hop element. Her latest EP “XXV,” which dropped on her 25th birthday, gives new life to her career and increases her visibility as she hopes to garner more fanfare.

The artiste begins the six-track EP with quotable bars on the lead single “Hiyo One,” which was first released on April 2. With the much-needed braggadocio on “Ovyo”, Femi turns basic lines into the kind of lyrics you want to chant in unison while having a good time with your party squad. Mchizi Gaza exhibits great chemistry as they easily bounce off of each other on “Mkali Wao.” But Femi holds off Mchizi and keeps herself in the spotlight with her tough-talking bars.

Over a modish trap percussion, Femi delivers the EP's most essential track “Baddest.” Like she’s always done in her past works, “Moto” sees Femi provoke and call out her detractors with hard-hitting lyricism. By the time she gets to the last song, she understands her place in the music scene and solidifies it by closing out with “Entertainer.”

Her music is still arguably relatable, and “XXV” proves there’s still room in her formula for some shiny new influences. Whereas her abilities previously popped up fleeting moments in past songs, here, she’s locked in for her most charismatic performance. And true to this statement, you’ll find yourself head-banging to most of the tracks on the record if not all.

Star rating: 3 out of 5