Press play on “Her Body” off R&B triple-threat Meaku’s mixtape Feel My World and you’ll immediately think, “this guy sounds like R. Kelly.” There’s a purity in the Nigerian-American singer’s satin vocals, and yes, they evoke the Pied Piper. Backed by production that steers towards slower tempos and acoustic guitars, Feel My World is largely devoid of big-name guest features and producers, which means sole focus is on Meaku. After all, it’s his tape, available as a free download.
The timing of Feel My World releasing the same week as Drake’s highly anticipated Nothing Was The Same is ironic, considering Drake’s opus spotlights another relatively unknown R&B talent, Sampha, on two songs (“The Motion” and “Too Much”). Both Meaku and Sampha have unique voices that set them apart from, say, from The Weeknd, Ty Dolla $ign or Trey Songz. Meaku’s voice is ultra-smooth, and more than a fair share of this mixtape sounds like it was made specifically to be played in the background in the bedroom.
Production is handled exquisitely throughout Feel My World by various producers. The soaring strings of “Promise,” produced by Tumi and GX, have Top 40 mainstay written all over them. The lead single, “Love Is Real,” produced by Drew Keyes, sounds like a mid tempo jam that would get play in clubs and radio across Africa.
The wandering piano riff at the beginning of Drew Keyes-produced “Stronger” evokes K-Ci and JoJo, yet Meaku manages to avoid sounding like an outright copycat. As his vocals meander through the track’s arrangement, his audio expertise is apparent (he’s a recording engineer who has produced a Japan-only release from LV, of Coolio’s “Gangsta Paradise” fame).
Guest features are handpicked and include emerging Inglewood, Calif.-bred Nigerian-American rapper Cobe Obeah on “Personal Assistant,” and former Sony and Cash Money Records rapper Glasses Malone on “She Like It.” Out of these collaborations, Obeah and Meaku stand out.
At 13 full songs plus an intro, Feel My World is compact. That doesn’t take away from its replay value whatsoever because the artist has clearly spent time perfecting his craft. Meaku has found his sweet spot, which bodes well for his career moving forward.