The beginning of a new era of pop and soul music is here as Nigerian multi-platinum selling recording artist, Asa releases her fourth studio album, Lucid. The album, which dropped yesterday chronicles Asa’s 12-year journey from her critically acclaimed debut eponymous album, to now.
Between the years, the guiding constant in her work remains: What does it sound like when love governs life? As Asa sees the next stage of her artistry, this album answers the question.
As the western world familiarises itself with Nigeria’s booming afro-fusion and afro-beat, the Paris-born, Nigerian native singer-songwriter fuses indie pop, jazz-driven, and soft-soul, taking cues from Fela Kuti to Miriam Makeba; King Sunny Adé to Sade; Tina Turner to Lenny Kravitz.
The album is a continuation of the music marked by maturation unbound by age or time that fans fell in love with from the start.
With Lucid, the listener travels with her storied songs and sounds, but Asa is right at home. Here, her emotive range strikes again. Whether it’s piercing through the surface of the soul with “words like dagger” as on The Beginning or when she croons with conviction and calmness over steady guitar chords on the soft melancholy of being held hostage in a hard love affair in the album’s opening Murder In The USA. Throughout standouts on Femi Mo, Good Things and My Dear, she switches between English, and Yoruba, but the emotion laced in each lyric needs no translation.
Asa’s art is not foreign; it’s human— encapsulating both the universal and the personal. On Torn, her tone tender and robust, what she emotes is less about romance and more about what it looks like to feel in every instance, from every layer with less raw, and more luculent lyrics. Unmoved by the heavy forces that bring forth a project of this emotional weight, Asa stays in her own pre-paved lane— remaining true to her sound and, more importantly, herself.
Lucid is about love in different guises. Asa discards the rigamarole of romance so oft sung about to simplify love in a way that still keeps its complexities intact. The playful and painful sides of love juxtaposed, turn the desperate and angst-filled sides. She doesn’t just sing about love but rather satiates the human hunger to describe the emotion that’s so common, yet misunderstood. Sentimental moments turn into timeless tunes, and Asa’s vision and voice remain ever so clear. With a voice as soothing and reverberating as hers, Asa amplifies her voice on Lucid.
including Kash Doll, Iman (aka Iman Shumpert), IDK, Bandhunta Izzy, Jazz Anderson, King Los, Travis Thompson, Dae Jones, and 2019 BET Experience rap battle winner Young Devyn. Comedians Affion Crockett, Chico Bean, Jess Hilarious, Karlous Miller and host Lil Duval came together for the first ever comedy cypher.
Presenters for the evening included R&B superstar, Teyana Taylor, and Academy Award-nominated actor and star of Queen & Slim, Daniel Kaluuya, Rap City host Tigger, and Rick Ross.
For the first time ever, the BET Hip Hop Awards also included a live battle rap hosted by Ultimate Rap League founder Smack featuring noted battle rappers DNA, Geechi Gotti, T-Top, and Shotgun Suge. DNA reigned supreme and won a $25,000 cash prize.