Chyme – ‘Acknowledgements’ Review: Breakout Star Hits Afro Music Scene with Genre-Defining Debut EP

A Black man with a short beard, wearing glasses, a beanie hat, a light brown fleece and blue trousers. He's sittin in front of a wall covered in a variety of framed pictures.

Every music lover has a memory of when their love affair began.

For Chyme, it was learning the lyrics to ‘6 Foot 7 Foot’ by Lil Wayne. From that seed his love of hip-hop grew, culminating in the release of his debut EP, Acknowledgements.

Describing his album as an “expose”, Acknowledgements definitely has a pulsating energy throughout its tracks. It feels like a journey; it’s far from static.

That’s hardly surprising, seeing as Chyme is an artist seeking to innovate within the Afro music scene, self-coining the term “Afro-Twist” to describe the genre of his sound. Taken from the title of the novel ‘A Twist in the Tale’ by Jeffery Archer, Chyme takes the idea of the unexpected twist ending, and applies it to the unforeseen twists created in the fusion of musical genres.

In this EP Afro music is clearly the base, with its stylistic percussive rhythms and syncopation. The hip-hop influence is also strong, with rap verses and synthesized sounds. Other elements are mixed in as well, such as the Latin rhythms and chord progression in ‘Suave/Swerve’ and the french language Middle 8 in ‘Noelle’. 

This melting pot sound will likely be a hallmark of Chyme’s work for the foreseeable future. He describes himself as the product of five cities and infuses his music with this culture. Born and raised in Nigeria, and moving to Canada for higher education, the cities of Warri, Port-Harcourt, Enugu, Toronto and Ottawa combine in his art. 

And this gives the album a vibe only fusion music really achieves. It speaks to a generation raised in an era of globalisation. As he says himself: “I just want to reach people who probably have new energy right now or people who just want to express themselves and are looking for energy.”

Album cover showing various images of a Black man against a dark, draped background. Text to the left reads: "[Acknowledgements] Chyme"
“that’s what the EP is to me, it’s like an expose”
The four feature tracks from the EP – ‘Like Dat’, ‘Otta Line’, ‘Slide’ and ‘Extra’ – stand out in their own unique ways. ‘Like Dat’ is the perfect track for a night time summer drive, ‘Extra’ has a hook you can’t help but move to and ‘Otta Line’ and ‘Slide’ find two vibes that are in between. 

The whole album manages these different attitudes superbly, resulting in an 8 Track project that’s cohesive but still varied.

In the first and last tracks, ‘Preface’ and ‘Infinity’, Chyme seems to talk directly to his listeners, book-ending the album. ‘Preface’ ends with a call to action, as he states: “You will not be full of life until you begin to live life to its full.” ‘Infinity’, on the other hand, is almost a confessional – a monologue of everything that has led him to this moment, and an acknowledgment of all he is.

All in all, Acknowledgements is a strong debut for an artist who strives to bring music imbued with authenticity and identity to an audience that is tapping in to the energy of global cultural fusion.

Acknowledgements is out now.