EletiofeReview of Naira Marley's God's Timing's the best

Review of Naira Marley’s God’s Timing’s the best

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For ‘GTTB,’ Naira Marley approaches the album with the singular mindset with which he approaches his singles – a combination of lewd, vulgar, and provocative lyrics that are low on purpose and contents but packaged in a catchy beat and delivered in a manner that hides its emptiness.

NAIRA MARLEY - GTTB ALBUM ART

It was in 2019 when Naira Marley had his issues with the law that his status as the kingpin of Nigeria’s street music was confirmed. After releasing ‘Am I a Yahoo Boy,’ Naira Marley established himself as an artist whose music touched base with the reality of a teeming number of Nigerian youths.

The encounter with the EFCC greatly increased Naira Marley’s fame and inspired great love and loyalty from the street in a manner that exceeds the consumption of his music. What followed was a powerful run (‘Opotoyi (Marlians)’, ‘Soapy,’ and ‘PXTA,’ ‘O Por, and ‘Instagram.’) that inspired the Marlian movement which was so large, so vocal, and so openly defiant that many considered Naira Marley a threat to society’s collective morality.

In the same year, Naira released a 6-track EP ‘Lord of Lamba (LOL) which produced the hit songs ‘Tingasa,’ ‘Tesumole,’ ‘Mafo,’ and ‘Yanyanyan’ making him the biggest and sought after Nigerian artist of 2019.

The knowledge of a fan base whose love and support are unwavering and the determination to maintain a working formula made Naira Marley into an artist who rarely ventures out of his comfort.

Three years after he became the Marlian President and the Kingpin of Nigeria’s street music, Naira Marley finally released his first album he calls ‘God’s Timing’s The Best (GTTB).’

The album title captures the general feeling that the album was long overdue and while Naira Marley’s impact on street music in Nigeria is sealed, the body of work is meant to be a reference point of Naira Marley’s journey so far.

Naira Marley is one of Nigeria’s most predictable artists, however, this predictability never really hampered his success or the popularity of his songs. However, it was a weakness and weaknesses always have a way of showing up.

For ‘GTTB,’ Naira Marley approaches the album with the singular mindset with which he approaches his singles – a combination of lewd, vulgar and provocative lyrics that are low on purpose and contents but packaged in a catchy beat and coherently delivered in a manner that hides its emptiness.

The opening track ‘Jo Dada’ essentially captures the linear plot that drives the album – A catchy beat, a regurgitation of sexual, drugs, and nightlife banalities.

“If you dance well, you will take home dollars” is the song’s entire purpose and as as usual, the content is boringly predictable but Niphkeyz‘ bouncy beat breathes life into the track and that might be enough to give it a chance as a club banger.

Mayorkun‘s intro in ‘Happy’ is one of the few positives on ‘GTTB’ as it soothingly opens up the track. However, the single quickly descended into an incoherent story of lust, partying, street cred, and braggadocio. Mayorkun‘s poetic chorus falls flat and Naira Marley’s sluggish verse combines to make this track so boring that it makes Rexxie‘s beat sound ordinary.

Naira Marley is the Lord of Lamba and he relied also entirely on Lamba in “GTTB.” In ‘Ayewada,’ Naira Marley started with some food for thought – “They said I shouldn’t say nonsense but if I’m saying nonsense, that means to say they also listen to my nonsense” This is Naira Marley’s message to those who call him and his music a moral threat to the society.

Then he also had a word for his haters and his doubters and gave shoutouts to his Marlian fans who have been riding with him since day one.

Ayewada isn’t in the league of ‘Soapy,’ ‘Mafo,’ and ‘Tesumole’ but as far as lamba goes, it is maybe the best from the album. The hook is a reminder of 2019 Naira Marley and Rexxie’s beat is tailored for the street banger that ‘Ayewada’ is intended to be. Similarly, ‘Drink Alcohol Like is Water’ is also created to deliver a club hit and the beats do a lot in achieving this effort.

While most of the singles on ‘GTTB’ display a reluctance to explore other topics and themes, perhaps no song captures this laziness more than ‘O Dun’ featuring Zinoleesky. The single is more or less a remake of ‘Coming’ featuring Busiswa.

The subject matter is similar, there’s no difference in melodic sequence, and the beat isn’t entirely different. Naira Marley just switched Busiswa for Zinoleesky and hoped that listeners wouldn’t notice. The single is so obviously lazy and pointless that I have to wonder why he even bothered.

Naira Marley prides himself on his insistence on crudely communicating his thoughts. And it’s this inability to employ some subtlety and refinement that robbed ‘No Panties’ from being a good song. To start with, ‘No Panties’ is a catchy but awful title for a song.

The crude lyric is a huge disservice to the melody. Jada Kingdom delivered beautifully and the production is faultless. With a little refinement and sophisticated writing, Naira Marley could have had a wonderful single on his hands but he just couldn’t help himself.

Despite being the Lord of Lamba, Naira Marley does have range and he displayed this in ‘Montego Bay’ which is a breath of fresh air from the party beats. Naira Marley’s sing-rap melody and the calm beat propelled by strings combine to make ‘Montego Bay’ a nice song.

‘Melanin’ could have been a good song if Naira Marley pushed himself a little harder in his verses. Lil Kesh’s hook is spicy enough to retain attention and get listeners singing along but it was paired with a poor verse that so boringly congregates the album. The song isn’t great but it’s good enough to make up the numbers that are similar to the purpose of most singles in the album.

While most of the songs on the album are merely fillers, others are not even good enough to be fillers. ‘Excuse Moi,’ ‘Modina Kai,’ and ‘Owo’ are simply just bad songs. The songs have a chaotic melodic sequence and they are devoid of content. ‘Modina Kai’ is a waste of everyone’s time and ‘Owo’ starts badly and ends badly.

Of the three bonus songs, ‘First time in America’ shouldn’t have made the album for obvious reasons. it’s simply not good enough and it’s artistic laziness not to know this.

Overall, Naira Marley’s approach to ‘GTTB’ suggests either a poor track selection or a shortage of good songs to choose from.

The album is predictably Naira Marley and while his constant regurgitation of beat and content is tolerable on his singles, it’s simply unbearable in a 14-track album.

As per the production, ‘No Panties,’ ‘Montego Bay,’ and ‘Melanin’ stand out. For the other songs, Naira Marley was mostly in his comfort zone and there’s nothing impressive about a repetition of sound.

I’m convinced Naira Marley can make a good album if he puts in the work, pushes himself, and explores the full length of his artistry. In ‘GTTB,’ Naira Marley failed to do any of these and this is simply why it isn’t a good album.

Songwriting, Themes and Delivery: 0.5/2

Enjoyability and Satisfaction: 1/2

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