God bless 2face Idibia.
The man has spent over a decade in the industry and (if numerous reports are to be believed) still has the humility and level headedness of an up-and-comer waiting for his turn in the sun.
God bless him because in these deleterious times when the biggest of pop stars- from Timaya to the Okoye brothers are constantly, for better or worse churning out the same record over and over again, it takes stoic discipline and clear eyed far-sightedness to carve your own path, take the road less travelled and stay the course.
After his genre (and generation) defining solo debut, ‘Face 2 face’ broke all records on it’s way to attaining classic status, each successive 2face record has atempted to portray the pop star at different phases of his evolution albeit with varying results. 2008’s ‘The Unstoppable’ might have required an international edition reissue to get it off it’s feet, but with this fifth attempt, Mr Idibia has finally grown into his own. And what a coming of age it is.
The first track is vintage 2face, a haunting Indian sample from Huma Lara introduces and blends seamlessly into his now familiar drawl. With his trademark infusion of watered down reggae and pop leanings, he takes us on a journey of spiritual healing. His reggae bonafides keep reflecting in some of the album’s prime cuts; ‘Omo t’osan’ is regular chick baiting entry but the arrangement and delivery (in the mould of Alicia Keys’ ‘No one’) keeps it fresh. ’Rainbow’’ is a powerful song cry from a man who has been through hell and back and finds true love at the end of the road. 2face’s wrenching delivery pulls no punches and aims straight for the heart, only the strongest come out of it the same. The album’s best song comes in the soulful, reflective ‘Dance in the rain’ where he ‘’takes some time to smell the grass and the flowers’’ before being assisted by stellar female backup singers in the rousing final arc. ‘Spellbound’ is an all-out dancehall track that is surely his nod to the clubs and deejays.
And it gets better. The playful dance number, ‘Steady steady’ is so ridiculous, it’s excellent and only 2face can have us singing shamelessly to drivel like; ‘if I say poraro and you say potato/ na the same potatoes’ . ‘’Bother you’’ is a slow, lazy, swirling letter of apology that could have been addressed to Annie Macaulay but our most notorious baby daddy did put a ring on it so, maybe not. The guest rap from Terry Tha Rapman does not quite blend in but it gets by nicely.
Naeto C fares better on the previously issued ‘Chemical reaction’ but the song itself is pretty forgettable. So is the Hypertek all stars ‘Omo no dulling’ that serves only to make us wish much-hyped Dammy Krane would take more time before putting anything out. Ghanian diva Becca is in superb form in her ‘Bad man, bad girl’ duet, a song that hints of hot, balmy nights and sees both singers bringing the sexy on as they playfully serenade each other in their native language.
‘Away and beyond’ gives us a more mature 2Face Idibia- in content, sound, lyrics and vocals. The disc represents the artiste at this stage of his life and career when growth and maturity are taking center stage (an international edition will be released later). It is music for those who think there hasn’t been any good music since Asa’s ‘Beautiful imperfection.’
As a man and as an artiste, 2face is continually evolving and we along with him. It has been our pleasure coming along for the ride and we hope to tag along for many more cycles. For better or worse, it has been one wild ride.
Did we forget to say God bless 2face Idibia?