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Mr Eazi Previews Debut Album With New Video ‘Chop Time, No Friend’

Mr Eazi has announced his debut album will arrive Oct. 27, and he’s premiering the music video for lead single “Chop Time, No Friend” with Rolling Stone. Though his debut is forthcoming, he has already released five bodies of work over his decade-long career; he was already a West African star as a Nigerian native and Ghanaian transplant before Afrobeats fully staked its claim in the U.S. He’s since become a leader of the genre’s globalization, crossing over into key byways of pop music’s mainstream. Though he’s behind his own well-known Afrobeats hits like “Skin Tight,” “Leg Over,” he’s gone on to pull corners of the Black and Latin diasporas together with songs such as “Keys to the Kingdom” with Tiwa Savage on Beyoncé’s The Lion King: The Gift and “Como Un Bebé” with Bad Bunny and J Balvin.

The vibrant “Chop Time, No Friend” visual was shot on Eazi’s first trip to Dakar, Senegal and features fine artists in the city’s creative scene as well as the everyday folks in their community that inspire them. The phrase ‘chop time, no friend’ is in pidgin English, often plastered on busses in Ghana, Eazi tells Rolling Stone. “It’s like saying, ‘Be in the moment,’ he explains. “Like when you are eating, you are focusing only on your food. You are eating first. It’s almost selfish in a way. When it’s chop time, I don’t have a friend. You know how you go to a restaurant to eat, but then you’re on your phone? Or you are in such a beautiful place, but you’re not taking it in?” The spirit of the saying rebukes those urges. 

The song has been tweaked over the course of two years by Eazi and two forces in African music: KillBeatz, a producer who has worked with Eazi intimately for years (as well as Burna Boy and Ed Sheeran) and Andre Vibez, the producer behind the global smash hit “Calm Down” by Rema and remixed by Selena Gomez. When Eazi and KillBeatz casually got together for a session, Eazi immediately responded when KillBeatz played the instrumental he had made. “The first thing I said was, ‘Chop time, no friend,’ and I just went straight up,” says Eazi. “It was one take up until the last verse.”

Later, while living in and working in Benin after a week-long trip to the West African country became a year-long residency for Eazi, he invited Andre Vibez to work with him. He played him his forthcoming album, feeling like something could elevate his “Chop Time, No Friend” demo. “He’s like, ‘Yo, yo, yo, let me work on this,’” Eazi says. “He started working on it and he finessed it.” 

“I got the stems for the song and gave it a new vibe, first with the drum progression and played one or two synths and got a live saxophone on it,” Andre tells Rolling Stone. He had made “Calm Down” a year prior, but it was just a month into its release at the time. KillBeatz embraced Andre’s new contributions to his original. “It really is a privilege to be co-producing with an OG like KillBeatz,” says Andre. “He’s one of the top African producers who has also inspired me in different ways.”

KillBeatz is Ghanaian and Andre Vibez is from Nigeria. Eazi takes pride in their work together. “That’s who I am, a product of Nigeria and Ghana,” he says. “That’s a unifying moment. The record is really personal to me.”


The music video was directed by Allison Swank Owens, a filmmaker by way of Chicago and South Africa, who previously collaborated with Mr. Eazi on 2019’s Lagos to London: The Documentary. Her other clientele includes ​​Erykah Badu, A$AP Rocky, and Flying Lotus.  “The biggest challenge was trying to fit all of our ideas into one video!” Owens says of shooting in Senegal. “Dakar has so many amazing creatives and locations that we really could have filmed for a whole week. We could only film for two days and I think we did a good job of highlighting everything and everyone that we could.” She calls the Senegalese artists, creators, influencers, and the production crew they worked with “incredible” and “some of the kindest, hardest working people I’ve ever met in the industry.”

Eazi is mum on the title of his debut album for now, which was recorded between Ouidah and Cotonou, Benin; Kigali, Rwanda; Accra and Kokrobite, Ghana; Lagos, Nigeria; London; Los Angeles; and New York City. Its 16 tracks are each accompanied by elaborate single artwork that Eazi commissioned from 15 artists that represent nine African countries. Mr. Eazi is a member of the class of Rolling Stone’s 2019 Future 25. 

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