Skip to product information
1 of 1
Regular price $5.00 USD
Regular price Sale price $5.00 USD
Sale Sold out

Halima sees making music as a spiritual practice, a space to confront her inner self, learn, and let go. Since 2018, she's sharpened her cross-genre craft across a catalog of self-releases driven by melody, rhythm, and honesty "with subtle but unmistakable force," says VICE. Raised between Lagos and London, now based in Brooklyn, Halima draws from a tri-continental story that started as a student exploring the worlds of folk, jazz, and theatre and ever expands in the present. She marks her label debut with EXU, her first EP on the burgeoning Secretly affiliate drink sum wtr. Finding new pathways through the music of her youth — British soul, UK Garage, R&B, and beyond — Halima anchors the project in the infinite nature of self-discovery, uncertainty, and renewal: "Both artistically and culturally, it represents all the places that informed my spirit." 

The title and concept come from Halima's Nigerian heritage. Exu (Eshu) is the Yoruba deity of 'crossroads,' the great mediator between the forces of life and the messenger between humans and gods. "They are known for being the God of change, chaos, and unpredictability, so they are often misunderstood," Halima explains. "But they are present in our lives to bring us to better versions of ourselves. This project is about facing Exu and resisting it. Then succumbing and realizing Exu is within you."

To record, Halima utilized early morning hours at co-producer Ben Shirken's studio in Queens before heading to work shifts as a receptionist at a music school. The commute became meditative, and the neighborhood's industrial hum seeped into the process. As sessions started, the two artists unlocked a shared sonic directive: “Analog sounds reimagined in a modern context.” She adds, "I remember walking in and seeing all these cables on the walls and thinking, this is cool, unchartered territory for me, messing around with synthesis and oscillators; this is what I need to dive into right now." 

Building beats from the ground up, as mechanics drilled outside the studio, gave the material a distinct bounce and groove. The opening track, "Awaken," contrasts rolling drum patterns with Halima's soulful lyricism, detailing the discomfort of being alone after a breakup. She finds resolve in the outro, "omi-o mo," a Yoruba salutation. "I'm using it as a calling. Something like 'the water in me honors the water in you.' That after everything, my soul still bonded with yours, and we see each other; that's infinite."

Conversely, "Ways" captures the thrill of meeting someone new. "You keep me up through the night," she delivers the R&B hook above propulsive skitters and bursts before a bridge of echoed harmonies and synth notes smooth out the scene. The slow-burning "Don't" reaches EXU’s core, an expression of infinite love that struck Halima so profoundly that she left the room crying after the last take. "I'm searching for 'real endless life," she says. 'Not this world of limits, oppressive structures, and stereotypes." She challenges Exu on the breakbeat-charged, dance-punk-leaning peak "Overdue" and comes full circle on the sweet "Samantha," an ode to acceptance, gratitude, and self-love. 

EXU's five tracks offer a glimpse into the universe and point of view of an artist discovering their intrinsic powers and embracing change, simultaneously at peace and in constant evolution. “It’s exciting and scary,” says Halima on navigating new themes and sounds. With a swell of buzz behind her — including select live shows in New York, wide-ranging press coverage from The Fader to BBC Radio, appearances on Spotify’s POLLEN and Fresh Finds, several key collabs (Bien Et Toi, Beshken, Hush Forte, Mikey Freedom Hart), and a handful of film and TV placements and scores — Halima is poised for a full breakout in 2024.

View full details