by Wilfred Okiche
Iyanya Mbuk is the man of the moment. With ‘Kukere’, he put out the most essential dance record of 2012 and followed that humongous success with the hit singles ‘Your waist’ and ‘Flavour’. After winning the popular music talent hunt show ‘MTN Project Fame’ in 2008 and stumbling with his first effort, the commercially disappointing ‘My Story’, Iyanya took a bold decision and made some drastic changes.
He ditched his generic R&B crooner puppy face and mopey love songs (that no one was really listening to anyway) and traded them for huge pecs, shirtless poses and disposable dancehall tunes (that everyone is rocking to).
Some would say he has arrived. He is a bonafide A-list presence at the moment, performing (if not quite headlining) every major gig in town. Kukere-mania has been replaced by the craze for ‘Your waist’ and actresses Tonto Dikeh and Yvonne Nelson are reportedly slugging it out for his affections from Lagos to Ghana. His album launch had Delta state Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan in attendance and everyone seems to be under his spell.
His sophomore effort ‘Iyanya vs. Desire’ offers a tantalizing prospect- at least in name. Of two conflicting personalities battling for supremacy (He says he used to go by the name Desire). At first listen, and after multiple reruns- for those who can stomach, it becomes obvious this one is all Iyanya. The newly discovered Iyanya that is.
It begins like 2010’s ‘My story’ with an M.I assisted number. ‘Badman’ has Iyanya thanking his God for his recent elevation. M.I pulls out a so-so verse on the ragga flavoured track but both minds are not truly here and the song just serves as a primer for what is to come.
Iyanya’s heart is on the dancefloor. He just wants to make people dance. Nothing wrong with such aspirations but no one says dance music has to be as lazy or meaningless or mind-numbingly repetitive as what is on offer here.
The album kicks off with the engaging ‘Ekaette’ a hot to trot party starter that has him mimicking everyone from D’Banj to Davido. The swirly ‘Marry me’ is a call to dance and about the only track that offers a peep into what the album could have been if he had a clue as to what direction to take his talent to. ‘Flavour’ sounds as melodious as ever with the pleasing instrumentals and deft highlife feel.
Iyanya currently enjoys the status that can command big guest appearances but seems at a loss as to what to do with them. His friends are only as good as the material they are given and much of what Iyanya has to offer here is second rate. Flavor does his bit to add a smidgen of interest to ‘Jombolo’ an otherwise forgettable claptrap and Wizkid is unchecked and uninteresting in the dismal ‘Sexy mama’.
Tiwa Savage is barely recognizable and so painfully out of tune in ‘Somebody’ that it actually hurts the ears to listen to. ‘Whine’ could have benefited from a more stimulating performer but May D is certainly not that person and he promptly plummets with the song. Emma Nyra injects a hint of sexiness to ‘Your waist’, the most ridiculous ditty to become a monster hit single since D’Banj effortlessly churned them out in his heyday.
‘Your man’ boasts a fine Vector verse but at the point it appears, all interest in the album has probably been zapped by the preceding cascade of bad tunes, nondescript lyrics, repetitive rhythms and lazy delivery.
What makes it all worse is that Iyanya seems to think he has unlocked the key to everlasting success and has his finger on the heaving pulse of his audience. That he thinks we are so blinded by our need to dance that we are ready to accept any bone he throws our way would be vaguely insulting if it weren’t so pitiful.
In their duet, while Tiwa Savage (unsuccessfully) attempts to scale a vocal run, he tells her to stay action as in his words, ‘That one no dey pay’ and for some reasons she finds this hilarious.
It is sad. That artistes cannot see past their hunger for fame and today’s club banger. And they wonder why in the long run, they do not have the career that a 2face enjoys. Oh! The audience will dance their feet off right now. But what happens when the music stops?
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.
Follow @ynaija on Twitter