A Pulse Review of Zinoleesky’s ‘Grit and Lust’


This new reality includes the luxury and resources with which he pursues his pleasures while maintaining the awareness that his money cannot buy love or loyalty.

In ‘Courage and Lust’the above tracks are compressed into 8 tracks through which Zinoleesky engages in a backwards 180° sound.

After establishing himself as one of the exciting crops of talent adding some refinement to busking, Zinoleesky found success through the South African Amapiano sound he imported into Afrobeats in the covid-inspired creative boom of 2020.

When his infectious melody, witty, relatable writing, and leisurely flows are combined with the log drum-driven variant of Nigerian Amapiano, Zinoleesky’s music was able to appeal to listeners on the streets and to the broadcast demographic. This is a hit that took what can be considered too long that it risked exhausting listeners with an excess of sonic familiarity.

After scoring Amapiano hits for the past 2 years, Zinoleesky refreshes his sound on his second EP. ‘Courage and lust’. The project sees Yoruba and Pidgin unfold with occasional changes to English as he embraces trademark melody and delivery to convey his bordering on sexual desires while maintaining a more solitary profile that he has built over the years.

the pop record ‘Staff’ that he released in preparation for the EP suggested the sonic direction Zinoleesky’s new sophomore EP might take. The freshness offered by the theme awakened optimism in listeners for a new sound and ‘Courage and Lust’ to some extent it met this expectation.

Zinoleesky has no profile or personality beyond his music. This has allowed him to adopt a calm and almost reclusive sheep persona that he doesn’t shy away from acknowledging. “Just being myself, don’t take it personally.” says in the first line of ‘Staff’ as he talks about his ambitions while echoing a belief in God common among street performers. The reverb, drums and limited percussion offer a westernized pop sound that aims for a 180 degree sound but a desire to retain their audience.

Even when the theme of love is explored, it is from the point of view of pleasure and the use of sexual innuendo as in ‘Odinaca’ where the lyrics are as suggestive as the title. Having moved away from Amapianpo, Zinoleesky still retains familiar flows that sit comfortably in the pop groove and allow for a refreshing change rather than a drastic one.

While dealing with the pressure that comes with fame and success, Zinoleesky likes to present the image of someone who expects less to avoid the inevitable disappointment that accompanies human relationships. “If I love you I hope you break my heart” says in the Young John produced ‘Run Up’ where he shows his individualism, drive and cunning in what is the best track of the project. The rhythm as in ‘Yan Yan Yan’, leans towards the South African variant as opposed to the heavy drum driven Afrobeats variant.

Zinoleesky has been around for a while, and like any artist of his ilk, he wants to scale to the next level of his career and that means expanding his listener base. Already enjoying a healthy return to streaming on streaming platforms, Zino is looking to strengthen this foundation and this requires the assistance of artists with impressive international profiles. Her duet with air Star it offers some goodies but doesn’t pack the spice to get listeners excited. This is also similar to his collaboration with Oma Place where they both deliver a grief-fueled familial love track that’s decent filler nothing more.

General, ‘Courage and Lust’ it sees Zinolessky gradually shed his Amapiano cloak while retaining his melodies and the flow he seeks to carry into the next phase of his evolution.

Knowing when to switch it up is important for artists and while ‘Grit and Lust’ doesn’t have the impressive sound that will inspire feverish consumption in listeners, it is a much-needed evolution.

Zinoleesky’s writing, voice, and delivery style still carry the same imprint that reduced the prominence of the change in sound. The production is also tailored to its sound and does not reach high levels except for ‘Run It Up’ and ‘Rocking’ where a famous medley of ‘Awilo’ was interpolated.

General, ‘Courage and Lust’ it’s a key intersection in Zinoleesky’s evolution as he explores a 180 sound and shows a new direction that would eventually be honed on later projects.

Songwriting, Themes and Delivery: 1.5/2

Pleasure and satisfaction: 1.5/2


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