I am hard-pressed to declare Peruzzi an original artist. Here is why: he has had his 2Baba moment; cue in his uber-competent guest verse on Amaka.
He has had his Davido or Wande Coal moment; cue in the viral pictures of his vulnerable self, immortalised, presumably post-coital, on a hideous bedspread reeking of a short-time motel.
He has had his Runtown moment: he chose to drop an album stark into the tide of yuletide, Heartwork failed to float like Runtown’s Ghetto University.
Hell, he has even had his Olamide or Lil Kesh moment; he called himself out against Teni when she best him by winning the Best New Artiste at the Soundcity MVP Awards (Nna, nominations di okay, chop humble pie, biko!).
What an eventful year, you would say. And we may blame his current meltdown on the intensity of spotlight. But it would seem Peruzzi is always in the news for the wrong reasons: Be it a fleeting but gorgeous guest verse, a tabloid-type grimy rendezvous or his unwholesome cyberrant about failing to win an award. In all of this, his Heartwork album has been slept on—and deservingly so.
Here is an unwritten rule: you don’t drop an album at Christmas season except you had been fiery hot all year long.
On the umpteenth listen of Heartwork, the thought suggested itself; perhaps the album’s release date was premeditated.
This is Peruzzi’s attempt at furtively dropping an average project just to tick the debut album off his bucket list.
But our radar at ThisIsLagos picked the trail of his mixtape-type Extended Play album. Lasting 30 mins, holding a clutch of 11 odd songs (inclusive of a skit featuring Brodda Shaggi and DJ Ecool), Heartwork is summarily a heartbreak for the hopeful Peruzzi stan.
Fam, there are no stellar moments here.
The sonic production is entirely stuttering in ethos and the soundbites are familiar, popularised by the staggering hits of Davido. It is no longer news that Peruzzi has been purported to be the scribe of the DMW stables, scrawling hits out of the baby boy lifestyle and a sputtering of Twi.
Representing himself on just four tracks (Did You, Craze, Majesty, Sangbana), his range and themes oscillate between dance, lust and adulation but rather unremarkably. The music feels like a placeholder and the careful listener, always looking out for the magic, will have to settle for the lack of it, a let-down so tragic.
On tracks featuring fellow songbirds, the experience is also similar. On Champion Lover, you have a Burna Boy stretched out on his most average delivery of 2018.
On Dina (pronounced Dayna as in the Daddy Showkey big hit so that it rhymes with vagina) you have a vulgar dancehall song borrowing the bassline of the monster hit by Chaka Demus and Pliers, Murder She Wrote.
On Try, he teams up with Davido to remake Rihanna’s Man Down-lite.
On Ola, alongside Mayorkun, they try for a jaunty spin-off of a similarly titled Dagrin song but this misses the alphabet H.
Bleed, the most introspective and pensive song on the album featuring GoodGirl LA, is perhaps the rally-point of the album (forget, for a minute, that it reeks of Rihanna and Future at the same time) buried under the clutter of uneven, unoriginal and unremarkable sonic experiences.
Indeed, Peruzzi’s Heartwork is a study in heartbreak.