After remaining relatively quiet for most of 2019, the Nigerian singer Wande Coal released a new single titled “Ode Lo Like” on Thursday. The track marks Coal’s first release through Empire as part of a joint venture with Starstruck Management.
“Ode Lo Like” builds around a sinuous guitar line and cheerful synth-horns from producers Dapiano and Screwface. “‘Ode Lo Like’ is a [Nigerian] phrase which means ‘They love fools,'” Coal explains. “It’s a street [slang] generated for people taking advantage of entertainers and ‘cool personalities’ and seeing them as fools, and liking them because they are easily accessed and [they] easily give in. I’m saying: They love fools, but we are not fools — we know what we are doing.”
Coal is the latest Nigerian singer to earn a deal with an American label or distribution company. RCA has signed Davido and Wizkid, Atlantic has Burna Boy, Columbia briefly had a deal with Tekno, Tiwa Savage connected with Universal Music Group, and Santi is now affiliated with LVRN. Tina Davis, VP of A&R at Empire, called Coal “a true star and incredibly talented writer.”
“Ode Lo Like” follows “Vex,” a buzzing single released quietly in November. Other than, Coal has restricted himself to guest verses on other singer’s tracks. Both “Ode Lo Like” and “Vex” will appear on the Realms EP — the first project from the singer since 2015 — which is due out March 6.