“Fefe Ne Fefe,” which premiered today during Mr Eazi’s guest appearance on Apple Music’s The Zane Lowe Show is one of several tracks from The Evil Genius that Mr Eazi recorded in the resort town of Kokrobite, Ghana, with producer Kel-P (Burna Boy, Angelique Kidjo). With its cool highlife rhythm, smooth sax lead and palm-wine guitar sound, the uptempo yet easygoing track transports listeners to a retro vision of West Africa befitting the beachside locale where it was made.
Recorded between Ouidah and Cotonou, Benin; Kigali, Rwanda; Accra and Kokrobite, Ghana; Lagos, Nigeria; London; Los Angeles; and New York City, The Evil Genius features some of Mr Eazi’s most personal work, as he dives deeply into subjects like love, betrayal, loneliness, and family, expressed through three distinctive acts.
“Fefe Ne Fefe” appears on the album, which plays out across three distinct narrative acts, as the fourth in a five-track suite of love songs. The title, translating to “beauty is beautiful,” comes from an Akan proverb: Fefe ne fe, se obaa tu amirika ne oso ni nufumua, eye fe, enye se ebe ti ato ntia. (Translation: When a woman is running, she holds her breasts not because they would fall but because she’s a woman. That’s what makes her beautiful.)
“Now, I’ve messed up, and I’m trying to make things better,” Mr Eazi explains of his mindstate on the track. “I someday would like to get married, so I’m saying ‘Let’s go meet your dad. I want this to be something more.’”
“Fefe Ne Fefe” also features in a new social film created for Apple’s MacBook Air premiering Wednesday Oct. 11 at 12pm EST. The film is a “Study With Me” video, a tool for college students that acts as a virtual study buddy that shows you when to focus and when to take breaks. “Fefe Ne Fefe” is featured in the final break section: A beautifully dreamy rollerskating sequence that has an element of magical realism fueled by the track.
In a first-of-its-kind fusion of African music and art, Mr Eazi commissioned visual artists from across the continent to create a unique, physical art piece to represent each of the album’s 16 tracks. As he traveled through Africa recording the album, Mr Eazi forged relationships with visual artists whose work he encountered along the way. Noting a lack of meaningful collaboration between Africa’s exploding pop music scene and the continent’s fine art creators, Mr Eazi personally handpicked 13 artists, representing eight African countries, adding art curator and patron to his already extensive resume of pursuits.
For “Fefe Ne Fefe,” he tapped Togo-born, Ghana-based artist Samuel Tete-Katchan, whose piece “The Blanket” captures the song’s themes of love, forgiveness and attraction.
“‘The Blanket’ portrays a love that is pure but not holy,” Tete-Katchan says. “I thought representing the couple amidst flowers was the best way to portray the stages of their love. Roses and thorns surrounding them, their different colors represent how love can be soft, intense or painful.”
Ahead of the album’s release on October 27, Mr Eazi is inviting the public to experience the music alongside the art at several multi-sensory exhibition listening experiences. The exhibition, which recently debuted in Accra, Ghana, reaches the U.K. this week for the 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair, from October 12-15, at Somerset House in London. Media interested in covering the exhibition’s press opening on Oct. 12 can RSVP to this address for admission and further information.
Additional exhibition announcements in other cities are forthcoming.