Our song of the week!
It’s been ten years and some since Tiwa Savage first broke into our collective consciousness as an artist with promise. Since then, her career has exploded in leaps and bounds, culminating in her current position as Nigeria’s (and possibly Africa’s) pop queen. Her latest release, Water and Garri EP, sees her at her most refined, with an ease that belies the challenges she has faced and weathered in her time at the top. Sonically, the project veers away from the Afropop influence 2020’s Celia showcased. Instead of travelling that route, it leans towards the experimental, exploring new sounds such as synth-heavy R&B and even melodic rap cadences. Her collaborators on the project are not the regular gang either, with rapper Nas, singer Brandy and Afropop sensation Amaarae all making appearances. The standout feature, however, goes to Nigerian R&B star Tay Iwar.
Vulnerability has never been Tiwa’s go-to method, with the artiste preferring to reveal her truths in small doses on her terms. Despite the considerable drama she has faced since entering the limelight, she has ignored the attempts of the listening public to get her to discuss the most personal of topics. On ”Special Kinda”, featuring Tay Iwar, she is open and honest about her determination to try love despite the challenges it has thrown her way in the past. The track, which is the EP’s curtain call, sees Tiwa and Tay sing in harmony from start to finish, their interwoven voices backed by a lovely synth combination of drums, piano and a soft saxophone. In line with the project’s theme of love and relationships, Tay & Tiwa approach the topic of love from the viewpoint of a lonely lover yearning with desire: “I needed you for love/Yeah I needed you/Let me into you/All the things I’ll do for you.”
As the chorus goes on, it appears this love might be unrequited, but this doesn’t dampen the desire. Instead, the artists are insistent that there is a way to be found amid the resistance: “Special kinda/Feeling kinda/Low when I’m up/Need you darling/Call me when we’re/On the same page.”
Differing from the expected collaborative mode where the two artists take turns on the track, the three-minute-long duet highlights the level of inventiveness and creativity Tiwa Savage has always strived to include in her art. As she enters a new career stage, all eyes and ears are on her to see what magic she conjures in an ever-dynamic music industry. With no one but herself to compete with at this point, the appeal of complacency is a real possibility, but if “Special Kinda” is anything to go by, we have nothing to worry about.
Listen to “Special Kinda” below.