‘Pheelz Good’ EP Review: How Good Does It Feel?

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“Na mentality/Na him make a man worthy,” sings Pheelz in Electricity, the most fashionable song of his current project. A thoughtful linger, and we can assign those pidgin lines the benefit of an evergreen philosophy on how one’s mentality is everything needed for success. But the lines come early enough on the song and sound cliché, that they are forgettable, lost in the feel-good chorus and hook. Perhaps, in those split moments, Pheelz could have been reflecting on his attitude. Perhaps not. Anyway, the song lacks much lyrical depth, except if you want to overthink it. It’s sweet news, though, that a Davido feature has been magnanimous enough to position the song in chart-ranking realms. In August 2022, after the song was released, it debuted at #12 on Billboard U.S. Afrobeats Songs Chart. Around September of the same year, the song made it to no 3 on TurnTable Top 100. 

Pheelz Good is an extended project which contains eight reflective songs that deal with themes of fun, love, survival and self-praise. Only two songs from the album, Electricity and Finesse, have featured artistes, Davido and BNXN (formerly known as Buju) respectively.  Sometimes, Pheelz tries to sound witty and philosophical, such as in Emi Laye Mi when he says “One man’s goose is another man’s gander/One man’s truth is another man’s scandal”. In the first line of Finesse, he sings “I’ve been living a fast life but I see it in slow-mo”. Also, in Pablo Escobar, intoxicated with confidence, he exaggerates “I swear the earth and the sea is my witness/ That the world go feel my existence”. In Stand By You, the wisecrack “I don chop breakfast, lunch and chop dinner” is welcome as a metaphor for the countless times he has been disappointed by the opposite sex. Then, in the very first track of the project, Ballin, Pheelz poses a set of questions that reveal his doubts about his newfound status as a celebrated singer. And there’s the play on words, involving his name over his project title and the title of the track Pheelz Like Summer.

While it is encouraging to see the singer show some concern for lyrical depth, his plan often goes askew. For instance, in Finesse, when he says “See many people dey outside wey dey feed man zobo/ And me I stand dey defend like Joseph Yobo”, the singer is obviously more concerned about euphony at the expense of meaning. The lingo, ‘zobo’, means deceit, and the singer intends to say, in the two-line moment, that his defensive mechanism is acute enough to protect him from being conned. But a good football student knows former Nigerian international Joseph Yobo is no example of an iconic defender and will not be remembered among the greatest defenders ever in the round-leather game. Again, the line “Forbidden love like it’s taboo” culled from Stand By You comes off as boring tautology. Yet, in spite of little setbacks like these, the Afrobeats album excels rhythmically, weaving elements of RnB, African Hip-Hop and Jazz in a synergy that is delightful enough for sorts of auditory consumption. 

Before Philip Kayode Moses, p.k.a. Pheelz Mr Producer, started making a name off his own songs, he was already a renowned record producer and beat maker in the industry. Closely associated with Olamide and the YBNL brand, Pheelz produced most of the songs in the rapper’s Baddest Guy Ever Liveth album released in 2013. But this man has not been alone in the business of being simultaneously a record producer and a singer. There’s Samklef, Krisbeatz, Johnny Drille, Maleek Berry, Don Jazzy, Cobhams Asuquo and Sarz. And there’s the very recent Chocolate City signee, who also shares some history with YBNL- Young Jonn.

It’s not a matter of whether Pheelz’s talent can be vouched for. Neither is it a matter of whether his limelight as an artiste, barely two years old, is sufficient to sustain a robust fan base. For a man who already enjoyed prolificity through his commitments to the projects of other industry bigwigs — including Teni’s Billionaire which fetched him a Producer of the Year award at The Headies 2020, Lil Kesh’s Shoki, Adekunle Gold’s Pick Up and Fireboy DML’s Spell feat. Wande Coal— there was nothing more to prove about being an astute connoisseur of beats. Getting into the real deal was timely. A ground-breaking EP, Hear Me Out (2021), was inevitable.

Perhaps it is Finesse, which sits at number five on this sophomore, that has been the most startling moment of Pheelz’s musical career. The song is wound around gentle guitar sounds and slow-moving, graceful percussion. Initially released on 3rd March 2022, the song became an instant TikTok sensation and trended with the hashtag #FolakeChallenge. It went on to mark its debut at no. 10 on the U.S. World Digital Song Sales Chart in March 2022, and it was positioned at no. 8 in Year-end Charts Billboard U.S. Afrobeats Songs. So profound was the commercial reception of Finesse that it facilitated Pheelz’s signing a deal with Warner Records.

Pheelz’s project, Pheelz Good, is a restatement of the artiste’s glorious becoming and a toast to his sonic efflorescence. The lyrics are generally cooked in an artful code-mixing of Pidgin English and Yoruba. As you sign out of the album, through the saxophone-driven, jazzy and benign track Ewele, you are left with the hope of having something of lasting impression to muse over: the desire for sheer grit to outlive the poor expectations of your imaginary enemies. 

Rating= 6.5/10