So I finally got to listen fully to the Rewind Select Update record from Tuface Idibia. Quite an interesting body of work, especially from the production aspect of things. There are a few reworks lyrically too, talk about tracks like Nfana Ibaga and If Love Is A Crime to name just a couple.
I’m on the 10th track when my neighbor’s generator starts to purr real bad so I get into a pair of Le Coq Sportif kicks and denim and head out to a cozy little lounge in Illupeju, my fave spot on the Mainland. As I hit Town Planning way, the cool swoosh of the day’s breeze is upon me, the rains are sending signals, bike riders aren’t as many as usual on the locale. There’s an Armored Personnel Carrier somewhere around; armed, uniformed men are taking turns at every corner within site. I hear there was a fight around there last week, some political party rivalry of sorts. Whatever.
Some rider picks me eventually, a little after two minutes and I’m at my spot. I holler a few folks here and there and get on my device. At this point the 11th track is playing from my headsets, the visuals of the Phyno-Olamide smash –Ghost Mode– is showing in the background, on the nearest screen to me. I order a drink and some grilled stuff to help me into a proper state of chill, and then I replay the entire album for some better grasp and depth.
Tuface hasn’t particularly served anything pristine here but empathy won’t let us censure him as due. Not after his over fifteen years lustrous career; not after his wading through the icy waters of our then nascent industry, his roving from the Plantashun Boiz-Dove Records era into independence that was actually no independence with Kennis Music, then Hypertek, and then Now Music. Nah. Who can fault a man with such track record?
In truth, I want to let this review slide but my people will put me on blast if I dare. I’m bothered about a range of things from my not having fuel for tonight to slightly-veiled allusions of another likely election postponement. But my people are expecting, and not a single fcuk is given. They want a review, so write one I must.
My nigga, Uche Briggs, is probably just going to read this and shake his head at my rustiness. Ko sa le pa mi? Ba wo ni mo se fe se alaye fun wipe mi o wa in my compos mentis? Tsk!
In the event I don’t write this, my chairman, NobsDaSlushKid, is going to touch down from his weekend getaway in Mauritius and think of me as being a silly, young man who plays too much.
I wish my crush… actually, I mean colleague –Zina, Advertising buff/ Fashion Writer for a sister brand– will read this and see that a certain piece of hers inspired my train of thoughts here. Whatever. Let’s get on with this review, yo.
As we were saying, there’s nothing new on here. Nothing. Just some elegant production overhauls and vocal brush ups in between, so that in all we have a more balanced body of work vocally. That’s all. This project is not any more inspiring, engaging or original than the previous works wherein the songs were culled.
That said, this project could have been better done. There could have been a few extra collaborations here and there to help hoist the body of work to higher, more acclaimed mainstream heights. Tuface is somewhat lazy in his inability to call for a few assists seeing as his pen is on snooze mode and things, not like money or time was an object. He goes ahead to serve same old set of familiar joints, with only a few retouches, almost imperceptible even; making our attentions thin out almost as quickly as he built the momentum following the release of R.S.U. Not laudable.
You listen to this and at many points it feels as a throwback to the singer’s earlier hits, which in itself is some unnecessary hovering on the already-too-familiar sounds of his old stuff. But we love this rehash still. We do. Tu is one of Africa’s biggest 21st century voices, can’t no argument refute this. Only that the yearning for new sounds, the thirst for more feats won’t let us play this tape and not grumble.
The album rework is thrilling, with many parts of it bringing anew the sounds that play in our sweetest, nostalgic memories. Mostly a production improvement, save for the Vector-assisted Ole and the not-so-sparkling Keep On Rocking. Still, we love this in all. We see it thriving, if nothing for the man’s towering followership; something revolving around the piercing love from the locals, his cross-continental acclaim, and his mien of innocence and humility and whatnot. Tuface’s works here are a sterling collage that colors his brand image on some terrific canvass, a clear reminder of him being the most recognized Afro-pop singer of the last 15 years through Nigeria and the rest of Africa.
We will critique his pitfalls on the one hand. We will also be quick to have a toast on the other hand, because it is Tuface. Even the Chi knows it is Tuface, so the idea is do a bit of criticism, then pour some Palm Wine on the earth, get a blaring speaker to play the sounds of the young legend and let the Nkwobi go round; because it is Tuface.