Mr Eazi, the crooning singer and rapper, sits on the symbolic border of two distinct cultures and countries: Nigeria, where he was born and raised, and Ghana, where he went to college and spent his young adult years recording music. He has become a major artist in West Africa’s flourishing music industry, which is centered largely on Lagos and has produced a number of Nigerian superstars, such as Wizkid, who is an associate of Eazi’s and has done more to popularize the Lagos sound than anyone.
But in Eazi’s music, there is as much a unique Ghanaian influence as a Nigerian one: Songs like the smash hit “Leg Over” have the energetic pulse of Nigerian Afrobeats, but with Eazi’s slow, lulling delivery that the artist says is inspired by the chilled-out vibe of Ghanaian life. He calls his signature blend “banku music,” a reference to Ghana’s traditional staple food. “You eat it with soup—banku has three different flours, so it’s heavy, and it makes me relaxed and tired,” he says. “The first time I ever recorded a song, I went straight from the banku joint to the studio, so I was sleepy. Some people say I sing like I don’t really care. Like, ‘Yo, bro, are you really singing?’ That’s banku.”
Eazi also reps Ghana in his wardrobe, which is characterized by a mix of contemporary streetwear and traditional
textiles—including his now-signature straw hat—from the Ashanti region and the north of the country. He’s handsome and stylish, with a slim build and close-cropped hair, and has a penchant for playful jewelry, bright colors, and narrow-cut blazers and turtlenecks. Asked about his fashion sense, he told us ahead of a big show in New York (tonight at PlayStation Theater) that everywhere he goes, Ghana and Nigeria go with him.