Black Box is Captain E’s fourth project showing his sonic journey from its predecessor 20. In his words “This project is a true reflection of my craft now, how I think and feel. I am able to bring all the genres I love and combine them into something beautiful that I know is truly timeless”. The LP's name was inspired by his dad Capt Matthew Ekeinde Snr who's a pilot, referencing the device on a plane that records all information during a flight, we see why Captain E picked this title.
He starts off with a bold statement in “Competent Enough”, addressing the topic of commonly being labeled as Omotola’s son in the media. Showcasing his thirst for creativity he merges Afro-pop with rock, throughout the single you can hear the addictive electric guitar driving the melodies and the Afro-pop drums bringing the African groove. Captain E also addresses being constantly looked over as his achievements are thought to have been influenced by how parents' fame. In 2014 at 15 years old, Captain E emerged 3rd at the international music conference producer showcase in Atlanta besting over 50 producers. The event which was aimed at discovering young music producers around the world had only young Captain E as the only African representative as well as the youngest contestant in the competition. Among the judges was grammy nominated producer Jon Jon Traxx who’s worked with Beyoncé, Brandy, and Mary J. Bilge with entertainment CEO Debra Antney who is responsible for the breakout of multiple high-profile artists such as Nicki Minaj, French Montana, and Gucci Mane. In 2017, Captain E was nominated for the best mixing and mastering engineer at the beatz awards 3 alongside industry giants Mixx Monsta and swaps proving he is a force to be reckoned with. We all love an underdog story, Captain E has paid his dues working with various A-list artists over the years as a record producer, singer-songwriter, studio and live mixing and mastering engineer ranging from Mr Eazi, Runtown, Harrysong, Wizkid, General Pype, Akon to name a few, he truly shows he is a force to be reckoned with.
We go on a twist with the second single "In-between". Highlighting his genius with the subtle EDM and Afro-pop influence is an understatement, he makes a bold choice of singing Yoruba for most of the record considering he's not fluent in the language. In his words "I drew a lot of inspiration from Skrillex, Martin Garrix, and DJ Snake for the beat, I knew I wanted a twist and it wasn't enough for me to speak English. I had to go deeper and Yoruba was a great way for me to express myself". Telling a playful love tale with "In-between" we get to see a different side of Captain E that isn't too serious. This record was co-written by the late Sound Sultan, Mayokun Somide, Hajara Lawal & Captain E (Matthew Ekeinde).
We step further into Afro-fusion in "Something Must Kill A Man". Captivating soft melodies that perfectly harmonize and complement each other, what more could we ask for? We see Captain E's intent with perfection as no word or sound is wasted.
There is a sense of self-reflection in "On My Own", he spins off a conversation started in Competent Enough. As an indie artist, he's had to wear many caps and learn many skills most of which have made a huge impact on his career. Not many artists can boast of being a record producer, singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, video director and editor, studio and live mixing and mastering engineer, web developer, and sound engineer, much less applying these skills to their career. There's a huge toll on an individual when you have to wear multiple hats and this is what Captain E addresses, in his words "Burnout is very real, this is my biggest issue with staying consistent. I'm a perfectionist and I have to go through a lengthy process to get a record from being created to released. A lot goes on behind the scenes and it's important to take breaks when necessary". Filled with words of encouragement and prayer points, he talks about self-isolation but also gratitude for where he, his team, and his fan base are. His undeniable voice—warm, clear, and pooling with intensity—is the unifying force. That, and some well-placed tenor saxophone that conjures a rare Cheval-Blanc by candlelight, signals his desire to push forward beyond the imaginary borders he’s traversed.
A blend of RnB with Pop birth the idea of Hooked. Originally written for Captain E's Sounds of Winter series (Sounds of Winter and Sounds of Winter 2), Hooked fits right into the theme of "Black Box" showcasing a different yet refreshing side of Captain E. He leans in for a feature from Tanzanian rapper, Kamal JBK
Black Box is an emotional roller coaster teaming with life, the last song on the well-complied body of work is "Believe". Nothing prepares you for the heartfelt message passed across from Captain E to his fans (the Aviators). What can easily be mistaken as a romance song is written so well that it can be subject to the listeners' interpretation/use. With lines like "shey you go fit believe in Captain?", he asks his Aviators to stick with him and believe. Always making sure to put his best foot forward and not compromise the sound and individual his Aviators have come to love.
Captain E's Black Box stretches its arms to touch on areas that pertain to the singer and the world he finds himself in. It showcases the range and talent of a singer who is intentional about his sound, making sure to invite the world into his reality. Black Box is out now on all digital streaming platforms, you can stream it here.