‘Telli Person’ is one of the more ‘Timaya’ songs by Timaya in recent times. The man who, ten years ago, started his career by reminding us of the troubles of the Odi people in 1999, has shown again just how conscious and talented he really is.
Collaborating with two of the best rappers currently, TImaya shifted markedly from his ‘shake up your’ whatever dip in form. The music business can be tough for the pressure it puts on genuinely good singers to want to drift into nonsense; Adekunle Gold is feeling that pressure at the moment and we can only hope he does not cave in. But it is heartening to see Egberi Papa back in his elements as the king of dancehall with lyrics that make sense.
The Gucci-wearing pet in the video was only a side note; ‘Telli Person’ was much – much – more than a diss to Monsieur Hushpuppi. It is an enjoyable song, a danceable one – that Phyno rock- , and a political one too. I get the feeling that it would be quite a fitting song for the Opposition party in the country to employ if they sought to remind voters of the warnings they issued about opting for four years of leadership under the “reformed democrat” Muhammadu Buhari.
I had not heard of this song, not over the radio, nor from my next door neighbours who usually play loud party songs when you want to meditate. Not to be cheesy but perhaps I was led to it, which leads me to take back my claim that Timaya can no longer be one of the best.
But does he believe this? Would he want to take time and finally realize that his ‘enemies’ – for so long given prominence in his songs more than his friends – are only as powerful as he makes them?
This brief review was spurred by a tweet whic said the artist does not get as much praise for his talent as he deserves, but perhaps it is he, Timaya, who has often shot himself on the foot. For his on-camera antics, I imagine a rather gentle and retrospective kind of nice guy who could really do well in the mould of a bearded and robust Paul Play Ik Dairo, mixing soft dancehall with rational romance.
Obviously, he will not be able to eclipse or even touch younger shots like Wizkid, Davido and Alhaji Tekno, in terms of global reach and rewards, but he can hold on to his strengths and better his brand. Politically, Timaya has a reserved seat on the placements for the Congress of Nigerian artists representing the various regions in the country and he must recognize this responsibility to effectively speak from the depths of that consciousness.
There may be no constituency allowance for this thankless job, but he surely has the immunity for whatever his chooses to say in his plenary.
Folks will re-acclaim how good he is if he remembers and stays true to the reason he became king of dancehall from his first hits in 2007. He does not necessarily need to still be the “plantain boy” but can we hear that “true story” again? Because when he serves good stuff like this, them no need to telli person say him sabi.
By Alexander O. Onukwue | Feature image: Screenshot, Telli Person video, via Youtube