By Udochukwu Ikwuagwu
Label: DM Records
Features: Terry G, Deetth, Phyno, Patoranking, Sir. Shina Peters, Olamide, Sean Paul and 2Baba.
Producers: Young D, Orbeat, Popito, Kenny, Jez Blenda, Masterkraft, Sarz, Drey Beats and T Spice.
Timaya, the self-titled Egberi Papa I of Bayelsa, recently released his fifth solo album to the Nigerian market. As forerunner of the album, he premiered singles Ekoloma Demba, Ukwu, Hold Me Now, Bom Bom (Remix) f/ Sean Paul, and Bow Down to critical acclaim. This project is one I have special interest in owing to Timaya’s flirtation with the Dance genre on his fourth album- the adventure which birthed Bom Bom and Sexy Ladies. Having peaked, creatively and musically, on his third album- De Rebirth- his relevance to the music industry was questioned, but his recent projects have shown that he sure can be flexible with his art. This album is therefore one to critique following his successful switch from gospel-influenced-poverty-rhetoric-songs to dance/euro-pop-oriented ones.
The album opens with the gospel-influenced Bow Down, which sees Timaya croon over the infectious Young D laid beat. His use of simple lyrics such as “No matter how dem push me, they can’t bring me down/no matter how dem try, they cannot just bring me down” works to give an enjoyable moment. Sanko shows Timaya in his effect on an Orbeat-produced Dancehall beat. The sparse lyrics employed ride this rhythmic beat like a Ferris wheel. Lai Lai feat. Terry G is formulaic; it employs the same approach used on their previous collaboration- Malonogede. The attempt to keep to the religious imagery of the album (album title and cover art) falls flat with the weak delivery. The Young D beat is a rehash- he borrows elements from his production on Creddy F’s Odunayo which featured Chidinma and Phyno although this is venial compared to Terry G’s gibberish. Timaya eulogizes his lady on Love (My Baby) over a mellow T Spice-produced beat. This shows his soft, affectionate side.
The hard-hitting Hip Hop beat on Gbagam is bound to get heads bopping while you mouth the catchy hook. Deetth and Phyno add to the excitement on this. Bad Man Tin is graphic and raunchy- the imagery littered tells of Timaya’s sexual prowess; the violin riffs infused by Sarz are commendable. Things go awry when Timaya sings “Me love you like God loves the little children” but this doesn’t cause much damage. The Soukous-influenced It’s Allowed should get you lost on the dance floor with the melodious beat and singsong lyrics. Girls Dem featuring Timaya’s former associate, Patoranking, starts with a caveat: What do you want from me now? What do you want me to sing right now?
This song contains ludicrous, cringe-worthy lines such as “Girl your bum bum speak pidgin”, “Me wanna service your engine”, “Bum bum never claim she clever”, etc. Happy feat. Sir. Shina Peters is a mellifluous song; this song should make you happy (no pun intended). Timaya’s bridge- Oya stop, se ba’i/ Oya stop, se bee– and the guitar riffs by SSP are enjoyable. Dancehall King is a miss. For a song crafted to stroke Timaya’s ego, this attempt fails- from the lucklustre production to the weak delivery (despite the energy exerted). For a social commentary, Bother Me’s beat selection was poorly done- the up-tempo beat was too noisy and a distraction to the lyrics; a minimalist production would have made this song more emotional and worth a sober moment. Pain lives up to its name- it causes pain to the ears of listeners.
Timaya’s penchant for infusing random words and phrases in songs à la “Lojo Monday, Eko oni gbagbakugba” works to the delight of music fans and critics on Overflow feat. Olamide. Olamide’s verse adds to the delight, too. The crude wordplay on the racy Behind Me is interesting. Timaya plays on the religious imagery (temptation-resisting) of the word and the term for a woman’s bum. Random words like doro-booty, blackberry-booty, pinging-the-booty, etc give the ears a ting. Eshe follows the gospel-influence of the album title and cover art. He thanks God for things He has done for him; his laid back flow works beautifully on this mellow beat. Hold Me Now runs amok disrupting the album’s course; the ‘Uh-huh’s, ‘Abracadabra’s and ‘Lego’s offer the only memorable moments on this song. Ukwu & Ekoloma Demba are perfect examples of How to Make a Good Dance Track: Get an infectious beat, warble sparse lyrics and a catchy hook, throw in simple but remarkable ad-libs; there, you have a chart-topping, club-banging record. On Bom Bom (Remix), Sean Paul brings something fresh to the original hit song. His opener “Special request by the girl dem/Shake it/Sean da Paul pon the track/Remix it just like that/Timaya pon the track/Sing fo’ the girl dem when the beat drop” should get your expectations high, and he does deliver a good verse on this. The Timaya-2Baba collaboration- Appreciation– is underwhelming, but that is pardonable as it’s a ‘safe’ way to close the album.
With the number of times ‘booty’ is referenced on this album, one would have expected Timaya to dress like a pirate on the cover art instead of donning the cassock and rosary. The religious imagery peddled by the album title and art is misleading, as listeners witness little of that. Epiphany would have been better and compact if the project was pruned to a 12-15 track album, removing the album fillers/dud tracks which dropped excitement. Although, the album still delivers and should be a runway success with music fans and critics alike.
Udochukwu writes from Ibadan. You can catch him listening to different genres of music on his iPod or buying CDs at your popular music store when he’s not working.
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