Global music superstar and business visionary Mr Eazi has shared “Legalize,” the first single from his forthcoming debut album, and one of his most personal tracks to date.

Produced by an international team of Michael Brun (Haiti/USA), E Kelly (Nigeria) and Nonso Amadi (Nigeria/Canada), “Legalize” and its accompanying video celebrate Eazi’s love for his fiancée, the Nigerian actress Temi Otedola. The couple were engaged in April when Mr Eazi proposed while shooting the video in Venice, Italy.

That city’s famously romantic canals, bridges and architectural gems form the backdrop of the luxe “Legalize” video, directed by Italy’s Federico Mazzarisi. Notable landmarks used in the making of the clip include the Ca’ Sagredo Hotel and the Punta Della Dogana and Palazzo Grimani museums.

Art is a major thread running through Mr Eazi’s as-yet-untitled debut album. (Eazi considers his earlier full-length projects, Life is Eazi, Vol. 1: From Accra to Lagos and Life is Eazi, Vol. 2: From Lagos to London as mixtapes). Each track from the album will be represented in the form of a series of uniquely commissioned pieces from different African contemporary artists. These pieces will be tokenized and shared with the public through specially curated metaverse and physical events.

For “Legalize”, Eazi tapped Benin’s Patricorel, whose painting by the same name simultaneously captures the intimacy of love, submission, vulnerability and the finality of death.

“What struck me was the fact that he represents love with his pieces, but he draws with skeletons,” Mr Eazi says of Patricorel. “I think skeletons are our most human, naked form.”

The visuals match the raw emotions which Eazi lays bare on “Legalize.” While the track began as a way to express his feelings towards Temi, it was only after he’d listened back to an early demo that he realized what he was actually saying to her and himself with his lyrics.

“I started the song in Michael Brun’s house on some edibles, freestyling,” Eazi says. “Later, I went to London and listened to what I’d recorded, and realized what the song was about. I’ve been thinking of asking Temi to marry me for a long time, so I guess it was in my subconscious.”

Months later, after Eazi had arranged to film the song’s video in Venice and purchased a ring, he realized the video set would be the perfect venue to propose.

“She’d be properly dressed up, nails done,” Eazi says. “I knew it would stand as a totem we always will look back on. No one on set knew what was going to happen.”

The introspective “Legalize” has a different feel than the current wave of raucous and boastful afrobeats, and that’s the point. “It’s more like this song is for me,” Eazi says. “A lot of the album I’m working on feels that way. I am making music for myself.”

Stream ‘Legalize’ out now everywhere, and do watch its visuals below:

ABOUT Mr Eazi:

MR EAZI is a musical innovator, business leader, and philanthropist. As a recording artist, the Nigerian multihyphenate is the voice behind afropop hits “Pour Me Water,” “Skin Tight” (featuring Efya) and “Leg Over,” as well as groundbreaking collaborations with the likes of Beyoncé, Bad Bunny and J Balvin, and the creator of Banku Music, a fusion of Ghanaian and Nigerian sounds and culture. A serial entrepreneur, he’s also the founder of emPawa Africa, a talent incubator program which funds and mentors emerging African artists, and the digital music aggregator emPawa Distribution — initiatives hailed by CNNRolling StoneBillboard and Forbes for their innovative approach towards expanding African music’s global reach. All told, Mr Eazi has clocked over 1 billion streams across all DSPs, making him one of the most streamed African artists worldwide.