BY EMMANUEL DARALOYE

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Nigerian award-winning artiste, Tiwa Savage recently came through with her much-awaited extended play (EP) titled ‘Water & Garri’. The project comes less than a year after the release of ‘Celia’, her critically acclaimed third studio album. The five-track body of work features music heavyweights such as Nas, Brandy, Rich King, and Tay Iwar.

Since her return to Nigeria in 2012, Tiwa Savage has raised the bar for female artists. An embodiment of the usually frowned upon sex symbol attributes in the music industry, her songs are often filled with flirting words and seductive expressions. No wonder when she called herself African Bad Gyal, no one disputed the assertion.

Garri is a staple food amongst Nigerians while water is used to take or make the dish known as eba. The title in this context refers to her mash style and global collaboration. Tiwa Savage sticks to her heartfelt style in the course of making this EP. She infuses Rnb/Soul with Afro-fusion. The end product is a 19-minute run of music with themes detailing heartbreak, love, hard work, perseverance, etc.

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Nas and Rich King were on the opening track ‘Work Fada’. The pensive and reflective song advocates hard work and perseverance with Nas almost preachy in his thought-provoking verse in the six-minute-long opener.

In 2016, Tiwa’s marriage with Tee Biliz — her then-manager was enmeshed in controversy, which eventually led to divorce. Five years later, she gave a snippet into her side of the story on the interlude of ‘Celia’, her last album. On ‘Water & Garri,’ Tiwa Savage dedicates two tracks to that ugly incident.

‘Ade Ori’ is a soft-light take on past relationships/marriage. She is now independent-minded and hopeful about future handling. The lyrics drip with pain and regretful lines.

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On the Amaare-assisted ‘Tale by Moonlight’, Tiwa Savage details her fairy-tale love expectations in the soulful 90s house music run on wonky guitar strings. Even though she flirts and gushes about a certain guy, she is cautious. Amaarae’s whispery vocals also compliment Tiwa Savage’s flirt-filled lines.

Every artist looks forward to collaborating with their childhood idols but only a few of them gets to achieve this. One of them is Tiwa Savage. Her idol, Brandy appears on the fourth track ‘Somebody’s Son’. A perfect blend of synergy between two world-class songstresses. They complement one another with Brandy singing in the Yoruba language. This track is one of the up-tempo songs on the EP. Its production is filled with drums and mellow strings. ‘Somebody’s Son’ retains the themes of ‘Ade Ori’ as it pleads for reciprocal love.

Tay Iwar and Tiwa Savage jointly close the EP with a rollercoaster of deep expressive expressions. The horn-fill disco drops make it sounds like a potential track for a Friday night out.

Veteran producer, Pharell Williams once called this project a classic but what the fans failed to realise was his caveat of it not being commercially viable. Tiwa Savage is unbothered about this if her recent promotional talks are anything to go by.

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‘Water & Garri’ explores Tiwa Savage Rnb/Soul forte with an infusion of Afro-fusion. The EP is a dart between hope and despair and for the first time she does what she has always been known for — Rnb.

‘Water & Garri’ is a great addition to Tiwa’s impressive discography. A detour from the pop-centric Mama Jam Jam we all know.

Emmanuel Daraloye is a music journalist

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