By Ayomide Tayo
Album- Iyanya Vs Desire
Features- M.I, Tekno, Yung L, Flavour, May D, Emma Nyra, Tiwa Savage, Wizkid, Vector and D’Banj
Producers- D’Tunes, Tee-Y Mix, Gospel On D Beatz, Laxio Beats, Mr. Chido and Young D
Label- Made Men Music Group (2013)
Running Time- 47 minutes
IVD IS A PRODUCT OF ITS ENVIRONMENT
The music business is the survival of the fittest. Iyanya’s biceps might have ladies hot and bothered on Instagram but his ripped body like that of the gladiator’s isn’t the reason why he is topping the charts. After the release of his critically acclaimed (but not commercially successful) debut album My Story he ditched the R&B genre for something more lucrative- pop.
Men lie, women lie but numbers don’t. Iyanya’s first foray into pop music, the highly infectious ‘Kukere’ was a monster hit. He followed it with the hypnotic ‘Ur Waist’ produced by D’Tunes. ‘Ur Waist’ not only scored him another hit but it also ignited the (non-existent) love triangle- Iyanya, Ghana actress Yvonne Nelson and Nollywood’s baddest girl- Tonto Dike.
After finally getting fame and money with pop songs that have so much to do with the beat and melody than the lyrics a few hopefuls think that Iyanya would go back to his first love- R&B. If you believe that Iyanya is going back to Rhythm and Blues, then Iyanya Vs. Desire isn’t for you.
Most of the 19 tracks on the sophomore album are engineered to suit the current climate of Nigerian music- let the beat pound and let every other thing take a back seat. Straight-out-of-the-gate bangers like his first two singles don’t exist on IVD but rather they follow the slow but later enchanting ‘Flavour’- the third single.
‘Ekaette’ is one of such tracks. Iyanya name drops footballers on the track which features Tekno. Thanks to the guitar on the hook the song has prospects. It has its endearing moments but the auto-tune-drenched name calling at the end isn’t one of them. Iyanya gets the Eastern flavour on ‘Marry Me’ produced by Mr. Chido. The Project Fame winner has learnt to sprinkle rhythmic phrases on his songs to help spice it up. ‘Marry Me’ has this and sounds like a winner.
Iyanya proves he is no one trick pony when he ventures into dancehall. On the LP’s opener ‘Bad Man’ featuring M.I he sings on his rise ‘me- a don dada/all of them father/hustled my way to the top and no ladder/going in harder/no one else badder.’ On the dancehall experiment ‘Some More’ featuring Yung L is the real gem. Produced by D’Tunes, ‘Some More’ sounds ready for radio. Iyanya’s foray into EDM (European Dance Music) on ‘Drowning’ produced by Tee-Y Mix is a knocker.
Iyanya shows flashes of his old self on ‘Your Man’ featuring Vector. His R&B voice is back as he promises that special lady that he will give her that good loving. But the real R&B showcase is on ‘I Gat It’. Iyanya rolls back the years on the song peppered with amorous Spanish phrases. Lines like “dem girls wan tear me up/na you girl I choose- ‘I wan love you up/I be the man wey go treat you right…you lingerie and tings, I will tear it up‘ reflects Iyanya’s new populist approach to doing music.
‘Sexy Mama’ featuring Wizkid is pretty much standard fare with Wizzy dropping the same lines. Even though it has dance appeal it generally lacks creativity. ‘Whine’ featuring May D could have been a better song minus the pedestrian lyrics.
This pretty much sums up IVD. The songs are built to suit the current trend of songs with well polished hooks and beats but sloppy verses. You can’t entirely blame Iyanya- he is a product of his environment, a man bent on surviving this era of flashy songs that have no redeeming qualities.
So on his sophomore, Iyanya gets the job done, releasing a fast food product dripping with enough melodies to whine your waists for days. But fast food doesn’t keep you satisfied for long, the hunger comes back and you wish you had eaten something more filling.
Iyanya Vs. Desire is a pop driven LP aimed at pleasing a demography that loves beats and dance, at the expense of lyrics. When it’s all said and done, IVD is nothing more than a product of the times we live in.