Nigerian rapper and singer Temidayo Omoniyi aka Zlatan releases his second studio album with big features from Sho Madjozi, Buju, Bella Shmurda, Ms Banks, and Davido for a post zanku popular music venture.
Zlatan, pioneer of zanku music and dance, a high energy brand of Nigerian footwork from Agege on the Northern frontier of Lagos, has become much more than a viral one hit wonder. The artist’s debut album Zanku was a memento to Zlatan’s deft ability to capture a trend (zanku stands for “Zlatan Abeg No Kill Us”) and now the rapper is rubbing shoulders with Nigeria’s full slate of trendsetters.
Recent years have seen Zlatan making the rounds of the African music star system, appearing on Davido’s critically acclaimed A Good Time, Burna Boy’s grammy winning African Giant and superproducer Rexxie’s debut project A True Champion. Nonetheless Zlatan still finds space for his urban roots. We find the rapper and singer in full form on “Shakur” featuring South Londoner Ms Banks reminiscent of Zlatan’s collaboration with Gambian boy Pa Salieu from Coventry on the rapper’s 2021 EP Afrikan Rebel.
That said, the album is a smooth, dense listen at 12 tracks running 35 minutes. The work brings together elements of palm wine music and the unmistakable blend of r&b and hip hop that makes afrobeats pushing for a more mainstream endeavor notably on pop cuts “Level” and “Polongo” with Fine Boy Bella Shmurda. It appears zanku is a thing of the past, except perhaps for the track “Energy” featuring Tanzanian songwriter Rayvanny and South African superstar Sho Madjozi which is the energetic climax of the album.
Zlatan seems to be comfortable with the lane he’s found, depicted explicitly on the album cover chilling on top of a turquoise sports car. Perhaps it’s the recent wild success of the standalone single “Cash App” but Zlatan is making inroads with the radiowaves and international explosion of Nigerian music. “One Life” is a fine example of that lane, a perfect blend of Zlatan’s signature style, a nod to the log drum of amapiano, and the rhythmic danceability of afrobeats.
Piercing into the mainstream is no small feat for the artist who grew up in the densely populated housing known locally as ”face-me-I-face you” in his birth town of Ikodru telling The Face last April, “Growing up was hard for me because where I’m from, you hardly saw people go on to make an impact on the world.” His run-ins with the law and brief stints in jail beside Naira Marley have also come together to give Zlatan an urgency to succeed.
“There were predictions that I won’t be here for long, but God and my fans have proven all naysayers wrong. For this, I’m joyous and grateful.” Zlatan shared on social media, “I’ve burnt the candle at both ends to ensure that our album is top-notch. I worked my ass out to please my fans and not let y’all down. It’s been hard but it’s been worth it.”
Resan is top-notch as Zlatan claims, and a surefire project for the world’s appetite for Nigerian music.
Resan by Zlatan, out on all platforms.