But Timaya is a guy easy enough to root for. He sounds like he means what he sings about and when he wails, your heart nearly breaks
Word on the street is that Timaya and his ‘Dem mama soldiers’ received a huge pay off from Alaba mogul, Tjoe, to record and distribute this album which is Timaya’s fourth LP and his first collaborative effort with his loyal posse, ‘the Dem mama soldiers’.
Tjoe must have believed implicitly in Timaya’s talent as a singer and song writer, trusting that good music will always sell itself or he must have bargained on the fact that Timaya is one of the most commercially viable artistes working today.
L.L.N.P, acronym for ‘Long life n prosperity’ opens with the title track and has Timaya declaring, ‘’Na me go bury my mama/ my mama no go bury me oh!’’ This easily relatable heartfelt wish, set to a thumping danceable beat is a respectable album opener and sets the tone for the rest of the album’s central message. It is the Timaya story and has been a recurring decimal his entire career: the triumph against enemies (real and perceived), the grass to grace lesson of a local plantain boy and the acknowledgement of a divine hand working things out in his favour.
Everything else seems to go downhill from there as L.L.N.P begins to sound a lot like ‘Terry G’zuz’, Terry G’s ill-fated album released earlier in the year. When Timaya shouts gbagaun at various intervals in the title track and in another song, ‘Different style’, one expects the bell clanging that permeated Terry G’zuz to come rearing its ugly head but thankfully, Timaya keeps it at a bare minimum.
Like ‘Terry G’zuz’, L.L.N.P is way too long. Eleven tracks of Timaya ranting about the same things he started off on in 2003’s ‘True story’ is fair enough but twenty tracks and a running time of over 78 minutes is just testing our patience.
Still no one sings a decent, instantly catchy, heart-rending hook quite like the Egberipapa and when he gets it right as he does in ‘Celebration’, he is hard to resist. ‘All the way’ has received its fair share of radio airplay and you might find yourself singing along to ‘Not all friends’
‘The Dem mama soldiers’ only serve as extensions of the Timaya image. There is ample opportunity to shine here but none of them grabs it. Wrecoba does decent work on ‘Razz’ and on the relentless party starter ‘Replay’ and seems to be the brightest star of the lot. Allenian has potential on ‘Wa bamijo’, a soundtrack for these times, we’d be more convinced if he can lay off the auto tune and poor TJ 2Solo, he must be bringing in something we don’t quite see yet. Apart from a catchy ‘Sololi’, he is quite forgettable.
They deceive Ras Kimono into making a false comeback and sample his ‘Dem no like me’ hit from the nineties, the result is not exactly a classic. When they run out of steam, they jack material off P-square, 50cent, church choruses and even from Timaya’s previous hits. The result is an album that does not quite have a sense of direction.
But Timaya is a guy easy enough to root for. He sounds like he means what he sings about and when he wails, your heart nearly breaks. None of his work has come close to matching the ambitious perfection of his debut album but then, some say an artiste is entitled to only one true work of genius. His fans will always be there but these avoidable lapses are allowing an easy ride for Duncan Mighty, that other Port Harcourt boy.