Ms. Tiwa Savage’ Water & Garri is an experiment in maturity; served with the credence of a skilled recording artist who has been there and done that, and is now entering into a new phase. Not your typical Tiwa Savage EP, if you were expecting all the “gun-mi-labe, boy-gimme-your-long-tin,” lyrics of Celia, you will not find it here.
By Yomi Owope
Her opening salvo, “Work Fada,” is a deep dive into the rewards of hardwork. It’s easy jazz guitar style is peppered with anecdotes from Tiwa and Rich King. The legendary Nas enters with maxims about laziness and getting out of bed, which, if it weren’t a message for all of Africa to get up and do something, would have seemed to be blaming the poor man for his poverty. But Nas delivers on his assignment and the piece arrives well baked for posterity.
“Ade Ori,” is a full R&B jam straight out of the late 90s. Again, one is pleasantly surprised by Ms. Savage’s evolution since Celia, which was released only a year ago. The 80s-style electric guitar work is executed with the mastery of Greg Howe.
For those looking for the essential Tiwa, “Tales by Moonlight,” featuring Amaarae, will get you vibing to Cracker Mallo’s masterful production. Perhaps the most exciting thing about this track is the understated saxophone which drizzles intermittently through the track.
Tailgating after “Tales” is the Brandy-featured “Somebody’s Son,” a late-summer hit, which is impossible to ignore. Brandy is the perfect feature for this EP, her smokey mezzo-soprano effortlessly fuses with the RJ-style production by Michael Ajayi. The song is reminiscent of Brandy’s “U Don’t Know Me,” but is unquestionably distinct in its style. Turning Brandy into a broken-hearted Yoruba girl makes it all the sweeter.
Water and Garri ends with the Tay Iwar feature, “Special Kinda.” Fans of Tyler or Frank Ocean will like this electronic-funk summery track. Again, this surprise pivot from Ms. Savage will surely receive some interest from a more diverse, international audience – probably her intention for this one.
On the whole, one wishes there were more songs on Water and Garri, but one thing is clear: this is an EP for a different crowd. Like an Hors d’age, it’s better served straight, with interesting people who can truly appreciate its value.