Album Review: Timaya’s Epiphany
Since the release of Timaya’s first hit single Dem Mama which introduced the act to the Nigerian popular music performance scene, the singer’s consistency in practice clearly marks him as one of the major acts in the industry. Timaya promptly mounted the podium of his first found glory and has since refused to come down. Why? He apparently has more offerings from his creative store. In his musical career of more than nine years, Timaya’s release of Epiphany, his 6th album, came with a buzz.
But what exactly is epiphanic about Timaya’s Epiphany?
Epiphany, an album of twenty tracks features other artists which include Terry G, Deetth, Phyno, Patoranking, Sir Shina Peters, Olamide, and Sean Paul in seven tracks, leaving the act with thirteen. This could readily be the first sign of epiphany —a realization that the oeuvre is his and therefore, he must take charge and dominate the offering with full artistic presence.
The first song, Bow Down, is a religious song which asserts belief and choices. Like Chidinma’s If E No Be God and Yemi Alade’s Nagode, Timaya takes Gospel to clubs where thumping beats and groovy bass rhythms tend to overtake the song’s lyrical significance. This newfound practice continues to question the ontology and performance practice of Gospel music. Is a gospel or Christian-themed song different from gospel music? What makes a song gospel? Lyrics, beats, or performance space? The choice of Bow Down as the introductory song suggests a direct significance to the album’s title and art. For the art, he adorns himself in white and holds a firm gaze which suggests resolve, focus, power, and supremacy. Is Timaya showing himself as a god or deity of sorts? His artistic offerings provide a clue.
In Sanko, Timaya goes to ragga for self affirmation. Lai Lai features Terry G who adequately fits the song’s mood. Apt as a club hit, the work is itself an intense prayer session garnished with glossolalia against enemies as is the practice in many new generation churches where every prayer session is warfare. In Love (My Baby), Timaya goes to highlife for a love song in praise of a lover. The act’s Igbo lines, bass-line and rhythmic style echo the genre’s identity. Gbagam is an average work which should have featured Phyno’s rap earlier. In Bad Man Tin, the string introduction is classic and timeless. There are melodic statements and responses with strings. Sarz’s brilliant production makes up for Timaya’s incoherent lyrics. It’s Allowed and Girls Dem bear the burden of part of the album’s low points. While the first sounds forced and unprepared, in the latter, the act asks “What do you want me to sing right now? What do you want from me now?” Well, if you do not know what to sing, why bother? However, hope is restored in the next track Happy, which features Sir Shina Peters. The title aptly describes the song. In Dance Hall King, the pulse of the work is lost, making the production somewhat hanging and unimpressive. Bother Me is a good work in every sense.
In Pain, Timaya questions the appropriateness of a love life. While the lyrics suggest sadness, the lively beat is contrary to the work’s discourse schema. Olamide’s rap presence is felt in Overflow. Behind Me is neither hot nor cold. Here, Timaya busies himself with the “booty”. Save Appreciation which features 2Baba, the rest of the songs are mostly works that have exhausted their life span as hit singles.
On the whole, Epiphany scales above average and affirms Timaya’s talent and professionalism.