By Emma Tallest
Teni Makanaki introduced herself to music lovers in 2017 with her sex-centric single “Fargin”, if naysayers thought that feat was a fluke, she buried such thought via the release of Case with her cheeky reference to Mc Oluomo, a political thug in Lagos state.
In the last quarter of 2018, she slammed the check-up card on any doubters with celebratory Uyo Meyo.
Teni talent doesn’t stop at singing, she pen too. four years ago, she pen ” Like That” for Davido, one of the act most slept on song.
Uyo Meyo was the breakthrough single for Teni, she never rested on her oar, she build upon this with strategic Instagram comedic posts. Teni is goofy, she wants to have fun, laugh, and make merry. No dull moment with her.
When the music takes a while to peak, Teni feeds you in with her videos. No hiatus. 2019 witnessed the releases of her critically acclaimed extended play which she titled Billionaire EP.
Teni recorded a lot of tracks during the lockdown just like most musicians, this time around with legendary producer Pheelz, she churns out a collection of songs and releases as a playlist with DJ Neptune in April 2020 (The Quarantine Playlist).
Teni’s rollout plan for this album was unique, she was the first in the country to use 3D VR to launch a body of work.
Few days before the release of the album, selected music journalists, critics, and media organizations received the 3D VR to watch her album.
One hour after the official release of the album, I stayed up the night to stream the album.
Since that day and today, I have listened to the album more than six times, it has been an epoch unraveling.
Maja (loose) opened the corpus. Even before the Ondo/Yoruba panegyric began, Teni tells anybody who cares to listen how determined she was. Nothing can stop her. This track was symbolic, the icing would be the praise-singing, if you understand Yoruba, you will know there are deeper elements to all the lines. Yoruba are known for that. You decode. Maja was a tribute to the Yoruba tradition, to Teni Makanaki heritage and customs.
Having stamp her mark with the first track, Davido was on hand for the second track, a ballad about a love-struck girl who can’t wait for her man.
Moslado’s strongest point would be the minimal percussion on that ditty. The message got delivered. Uptempo, if pushed, it would make the clubs go wild.
Teni has never been shy to talk about Sex just like her sister. She is unapologetic about that, two-track about sex comes up on this album(ON, Injure me, Okoch) they were a build-up on the 2017 break out single Fargin.
Hustle was a tale about mental health, depression, state of confusion.
The lines are personal, when I listened to this track, I remembered Human being by MI off The Chairman album. Hustle is brief and poignant.
If there was a sequel to “For You”, the track would be FBI, minus the brag and self acclaim, it was a continuation.
The placement of Toxic on this album gives me some concern, how do you talk about love, and the next track, you are jumping to a friend with benefit with the vow to make her scream. Omo, truly, is toxic.
Injure me instrumental was made from Guitar strings, bass drum, and syrup kicks. Another part groove. An already made hit.
100 meter sounds like a freestyle over Kel P produced Odogwu for Burna Boy with a little tweak in the baseline.
Were (Swift) was Teni’s journey to the church, she interpolates a lot of lines from Sola Allyson’s Aiye Ofe track. Were shared similarity with Hustle, the fifth track.
Wondah why was it a ballad? A reassurance to a doubtful lover. Relationship comes with its ups and downs, I think this track is for the down situations.
In 1995, Teni’s father was murdered, even though she paid a tribute to her via the outro of your you. On this album, a full track was dedicated to that task, it was an epistle to her dad, no doubt, she missed her.
JO was another groovy track. I like the seamless switch of flow on that track, I had to check who it was, she sounded like Mayorkun.
The word is restrictive, the people are in pain but they find it difficult to talk or to put it in better perspective, they find nobody worthy to talk to. Teni doesn’t want to have none of that, the last ditty “Black Bonus Track” was a Teni social commentary on blacks.
On the 3D designed album cover, the aesthetic was a colourful representation of different
Wondaland was pan by cheesy lyrics, even though it a know fact that Teni might not be the most awesome lyricist around, this project deserves more. Except for a duet with Davido, the album was a solo project, she has always been this anyway but with a body of work in this range, more collaborations would not have been bad.
The pristine production by Pheelz who produced 70% of the album, Pprime, Ozedikus, and others covered up for the lapses.
Track sequencing on Wondaland was on and off, I don’t know what could be responsible, should we blame the A&R or could that be how she wants it? I like the way the art cover married the titular, this is one of my favorite covers since the year began.
The tracks are brief and it all cumulated into a 49 minutes excellent sonic trip.