Review: Kizz Daniel Struggles For Consistency On “TZA” 

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Kizz Daniel’s new EP, TZA (short for Thankz Alot) is named like it was given a working title as it was created, a disposable title that nobody bothered to change. It was released along with some landmark details from Kizz Daniels’ personal life: the introduction of his wife to the public for the first time, as the couple took to Instagram to post goofy videos of themselves dancing to songs from the EP. But while it was born under such jovial circumstances, TZA is Kizz Daniel’s least romantic project thus far, and it leans towards a toxic brand of anti-love more than anything else.

At the time of its release, the latter half of its four songs were already out in the public and had been for three months. Twe Twe also received a remix with Davido that spent five weeks at the top of Turntable’s Hot 100. All this to say it was dependent on the EP’s new singles, Sooner and Showa, to prove its necessity as a fresh body of work. 

TZA keeps itself sonically simple without being inanimate, a quality that, in the era of over-enthusiastic log drums, has become alluring once more. Producer Ayzed handles the entirety of production on the first two tracks, and he provides a simple, steady rhythm for Sooner, consisting of little more than drums and a piano, while Showa runs without drums for most of its duration until they beautifully appear at the outro. In this way, the EP is demarcated sharply into two halves—this pair of simple percussive tracks, and the other half, where producers like P.Priime, Blaisebeatz, and Killertunes enter the fray for a more upbeat soundscape. 

Kizz’s music composition is once more his biggest attraction, but perhaps it has become a little too obvious to the singer that his ability to craft melodies can paper over a lot of middling lyricism. His propensity to favor simple, time-tested writing and sounds has already been acknowledged (and even praised), but on TZA, standards drop even lower than can be expected and permitted from him. Take the EP’s closer Twe Twe, named in the same half-serious manner as the EP was. His chorus here, now familiar to you, has him repeat the word thirty-six times each time it rolls around, and you can only do so much to ignore the immaturity of the entire affair. 

The track appears here in its original version and not the more popular Davido-assisted remix, a curious choice probably due to executive, non-music factors. Kizz Daniel provides enough zest on his own, beginning with a half-humorous, half-supercilious line about his detachment from the current economic situation of the country and most of its citizens— “Won ni things ti won”, he says, before adding “Alhamdulilahi owo mi po dada,” acknowledging that his financial reality is out of the reach of the country’s economic downturn. Then he pivots to the song’s main story or its closest resemblance to it: a woman whose attention he attempts to win. 

This song, like Kizz Daniel’s biggest hits of the last two years, bank on his melody, especially on the extended chorus, as its main attraction. The result is that you should not expect much by way of a message on his biggest singles. When you do attune your ears to listen past his melodies and into his lyrics, it hits you just how different Kizz Daniel is from the impassioned lover that gave New Era its romantic tint. 

Growth as an artist is allowed, even commendable, but Kizz Daniel appears to have grown retrogressively in the years since then, that by the time he debuted his third album, King Of Love, the version of love on display possessed an ugly underbelly. On TZA, Kizz Daniel doesn’t delve into anything so sinister, but it is hard to miss the overarching anti-love theme of the music. To Busy To Be Bae adopts a sex-first, love-never approach to women, as he unceremoniously urges one out of the house to make room for the next— “Baby stand up move on, a new girl is coming/ And your presence is dulling.” Only on Sooner does he show some semblance of affection that travels both ways, but it is tainted by the revelation that he is already in a relationship with someone else—I’m falling for you/ But I’ve fallen for somebody too/ And I wish I can have the two.”

Ultimately, TZA possesses neither the cohesion nor attention to detail to justify its existence as a standalone project, but for fans of Kizz Daniel who are already accustomed to his languid approach to writing—and the consequent compensation with his melodies—it is a welcome dose of more of the same. As a project that was meant to accompany the announcement of marriage and provide a sneak peek into his much-hidden personal life, however, TZA paints an unhealthy, uncharacteristic view of Kizz Daniel as a lover.