Nigerian singer-songwriter Dice Ailes, well-known for his flexibility and laid-back sound style as proven by confident-yet-chill singles like “Miracle,” “Alaokora,” and “Pim Pim,” takes a more candid, private tone on his debut EP, 2022’s Ladies First.
“I felt that it was important to take my fans through some of my more personal experiences, as far as certain encounters with certain women in my life,” Dice tells Apple Music. “These experiences have shaped me into who I am today—from love to betrayal, to sex. I felt that it was an important part of my life that I needed to share with the fans and sort of just bring them closer.”
The EP is a six-track diversion on the path to the release of his debut LP, Waterman, and was written in and around confinement. “I felt that the greatest title for that project, before the album, would be ‘Girls First,’ when I chose to touch up on some of these events with some of these ladies in my life,” Dice adds. “So it’s a bit of a play on words.” It’s not quite ‘women first,’ as a gentleman would put it—more it’s like ‘Ladies First,’ but before the Waterman album.”
Fusing together Dice’s kaleidoscope of influences, from fuji, highlife, R&B, gospel, and hip-hop—gained during his multicultural upbringing spanning Nigeria, Benin and Canada—the EP also marks the first release from Dice’s label imprint, The Money Mob. “I had a lot of time on my hands [during lockdown] and I had just left my previous label,” he explains, “and I felt that it was the right time to create a platform that allows me and my music to grow, and also just give back. There’s a lot of young talents in Africa, that don’t necessarily get the opportunities that they deserve. I’m trying to create a structure that allows for talents that don’t necessarily have the finances to be able to grow. And we just want to do a lot of development for emerging African artists. On the EP, I’m working with a lot of emerging creators, and also trying to build the guys from the label. We’re just trying to put people on and show people that you can make beautiful music regardless of how ‘big’ you are.”
Listen to the album below.