by Wilfred Okiche
Falz and Simi brought sexy back to comedy when he appeared as a guest on the video to her hit single Jamb Question. Figuring that they had something good, they went ahead to capture lightning in a bottle with their next duet, Soldier, a project that breathed new life to the visual form but ended famously with a promise of more goodness to come. Chemistry, jointly released by Falz’s Bahd Guy records and Simi’s X3M is a culmination of all that long drawn out, good natured flirting and teasing.
The release of Chemistry the EP was preceded by publicity stills capturing the themes reflected in the seven songs that make up the disc. Obvious title and brevity aside, Chemistry is a very enjoyable disc from start to finish. Falz and Simi’s connection isn’t one that feels forced or strategic even when their joint project is a commercial one, meant to capitalize on the are- they-or aren’t-they? dynamic that their relationship constantly elicits.
Chemistry opens with a burst of sass with Foreign, a comic send up of the overreaching Nigerian suffering from a bad case of inferiority complex. It is also an apt choice for an opener as it reflects the early days of a potential romantic relationship where both parties struggle to outdo the other in a bid to make a bigger impression.
Falz retreats to his always winning Brother Taju character, complete with dodgy accent and bad English and scares up the goodies. He boasts, Why will you give me pounded yam, it’s for razz men?/Are you guys not having lasagne?/Then I can wash it down with champagne but meets his match in Simi who opens her campaign with Ewa Agoyin is not my type oh I’m into Burger/And if you check my bank I’m into Dollar.
By the time they come around to the next track, Want you, both pretenders have dropped most of their fake phonetics but they carry along their propensity for bragging. Falz raps then sings, Simi sings, then raps and they both bump and grind to the delicious, sticky sweet sounds of producer Sess.
On Show you pepper, the honeymoon is over and the lovebirds have begun to level accusations of infidelity while detailing the worst possible ways to hurt the other. It is sad stuff but Falz and Simi manage to make even this dark cloud easy listening material.
The ill-advised pandering to Afrobeat and Juju culture, Cinderella and Shake your body are the disc’s biggest flaws. They may induce some head nodding but they are undeniable filler entries, a draw back for a disc composed of only seven songs. Shake your body starts out promising but fails to build up to anything interesting beyond a deployment of talking drums and traditional instruments.
The title track is makes an excellent case for the thrill and acceptance of two lovebirds deciding that fighting their feelings is an exercise in futility and the disc’s final cut, Enough is a potent love song that expresses the power of love simply but powerfully. Simi sings, Even when your head no wan correct, even when your pepper no dey rest/I hope say you no go forget/ Baby you’re enough for me
Surely the audio disc represents only one part of the project. The disc, promising as it is, still leaves you with an incomplete feeling, a thirst that can only be slated by a full complement of videos to fully bring the stories to life. It is indeed a surprise that the project wasn’t released as a visual album as it practically screams to be adapted visually, to continue from where Soldier left off.
Only when Chemistry fulfils this promise can it assume more significance and is unlikely to just be consigned to history as that record where Falz and Simi finally appeared topless on the cover.