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A spiritual force on Halima’s new record “EXU”


Sensational vocalist Halima is excited to release her latest EP EXU (pronounced Eshu). The London/Lagos-raised artist now residing in Brooklyn follows up her last project XYZ with a debut album on Drink Sum Wtr. Along with her life journey, Halima draws inspiration from her experience with theater, folk, and jazz and homage to her Nigerian heritage.

The project’s title and concept EXU (Eshu), is the Yoruba deity of crossroads, seen as the messenger between gods and humans. As Halima explains, “They are known for being the God of change, chaos, and unpredictability, so they are often misunderstood. But they are present in our lives to bring us to a better version of ourselves. This project is about facing Exu and resisting it. Then succumbing and realizing Exu is within you”.

This message on EXU begins with the track “Awaken.” Immediately Halima’s vocals grab hold of listeners with the layers throughout the track before you melt as she sings the chorus, “Awaken on my own, falling into moonlight. Don’t you wait for it. What you take me for?” Halima explains, “Awaken is the aftermath of a breakup, when I finally come back to myself and I’m alone. I fear all that’s left in my ego and pride. And I have to deal with the discomfort. But the end of the song, “omi-o-mo”, is a Yoruba salutation. I’m using it as a calling. Something like, ‘the water in me honors the water in you’. That after everything, my soul still bonded with yours and we see each other, that’s infinite”.

The following tracks, “Ways” and “Don’t,” are a one-two punch. “Way” starts with clicking percussions and echoing synths while Halima vocals cut through. She bounces the breakdown back and forth by repeating the word “ways” in different octaves that get caught in your head in a meditative trance before returning to the chorus. “Don’t” has a spacey instrumentation that blends well with the multiple layers of Halima’s vocals. It’s heavenly bliss that takes listeners to another dimension and leaves an impression even as it fades out.

However, “Overdue” brings you back to earth! It’s my favorite song next to “Awaken”. This track is a rush of energy from beginning to end. It begins with a thumping bassline with a smashing drum breakbeat that builds up showcasing her British taste in tunes. Halima’s soft vocals smooth out the roughness to the point they are muted and Halima’s mellow voice is the highlight, giving you a moment to breathe. Then it all comes back together reinvigorating the track. The last track is “Samantha”. It is a beautiful soulful song that wraps up the album nicely. Halima is honest with her emotions, thoughts of self-doubt, and confusion, but the message of love persists.

Halima’s EXU is a wonderful album. While it is short, it doesn’t overstay its welcome. Each track leaves listeners with an impression that they’ll want to return over and over.

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