by Wilfred Okichie
It may be hard to believe but Lynxxx (born Chukie Edozien) released his first album, This is Lynxxx six years ago, back in 2010. Since then, he’s had just enough hit singles, endorsement deals and high-profile appearances to keep him on the right side of relevant even when his proposed sophomore album kept getting pushed back.
More B-list than A-list, the Lynxxx’s career arc took a dramatic turn when he found Jesus and spent the most of 2016 making a big show of it, on Instagram posts and with new music. While music enthusiasts resigned themselves to a gospel album next, Lynxxx went ahead and put out yet another pop album instead, one that is rooted in his familiar background of women, sex and dance.
Produced almost in its entirety by Spax for Lynxxx’s Syndik8 with supporting turns from hit makers, Masterkraft and Tekno, The album before the album isn’t a departure from the Lynxxx sound of 2010, if ever there was such a distinct identity.
As the title suggests, TABTA plays like a forerunner, a disc existing either to fulfil contractual obligations or pass the time while the main dish waits to be served. On his best outings, Lynxxx isn’t exactly the most talented brother in the room but even by his limited standards, the effort put in here feels half-hearted.
The themes are the same, money, girls, sex, and relationships but don’t expect him to say anything profound or add anything novel to established concepts. Even the usually charismatic Poe is defeated by the lacklustre sound on Blow, diluting his punch to play at the level of Lynxxx.
Mr Eazi’s voice is a bright spot on Temperature but the song itself does not rise above forgettable status and only flickers to life during Mr Eazi’s solo. Tekno as always proves irresistible on the gospel-tinged closer, Pray for you that preaches forgiveness in one breath and conjures up club memories in another. The only other nod to Lynxxx’s new found faith is on Serve You where he professes his faith unashamedly and confesses to attending church ‘’seven days a week’’ now.
If you came to TABTA for any illumination on Lynxxx’s current state of mind and the compulsions that drive him, you might have to wait for the next record as most of what is here is mindless, harmless Jollof music. On opener, My Story, he goes for an autobiographical angle but he cannot quite bring himself to reveal anything new about himself. There seems to be a block that makes Lynxxx incapable of summoning words or genuine emotion to express whatever is going on within, if anything at all.
The party enabler, Ghana girls could be a hit from Lagos to Accra if promoted shrewdly and Love am well certainly grows on you after a couple of listens. Dribble me is one of those songs that are too lukewarm to make an impression and could serve as a stand-in for the bulk of the songs on this project. They just fly back mindlessly, nothing sticks. Nothing is meant to stick.
Some of the songs are actually unbearable though, like the inane muddle of Characha, the clutter of Oya and the unimaginative dud, E de be (with EL) but for the most part TABTA is a pleasant, mindless bore that starts and finishes without leaving much of an impression.
An artiste can do better than Lynxxx has done on TABTA but one supposes he could have done even worse. Just be grateful the latter isn’t the case.