After winning the very first edition of Project Fame West Africa, Iyanya arrested our attention with “Kukere” which catapulted him to instant stardom. Though before then, he had failed to impress with his first album, My Story. From his second album, Desire, we were thrilled with hits upon hits like “Ur Waist”, “Flavour”, ‘Sexy Mama”, “Jombolo”, etc, which escorted him to Headies to coast home with the 2013 Artist of the Year.
From his third studio album to the Made Men Music Group mixtape with Tekno, Selebobo, Emma Nyra and Baci, a keen listener would have observed that something was wrong somewhere and Iyanya could be having issues grappling with fame retention and sound definition. Despite the poor sounds that heralded most of the songs in the album, despite his almost emblematic empty lyrics, the poor promotion and circulation of that unfortunate album gave it the uncontested position of Iyanya’s best failure. It wasn’t long before the Triple MG ship exploded after a muted implosion facilitated by irreconcilable issues.
With mixed reactions, Nigerians received the news of his exodus from Triple MG to Don Jazzy’s Mavin records. Many argued that he should have launched his personal label rather than joining another. But some of us had the reasons to believe that he made the right choice because of the prowess of the Big Man behind Mavin. “Up to Something”, his first official Mavin single even made pessimists conclude that, indeed, his move was a masterstroke. Someone had come to fill the gap Dbanj and Wande Coal left? So we thought. But the follow ups became unsure singles, dotted by lengthy silences. Nigeria began to forget Iyanya.
It is true that he released “Iyanu (Holy Water)” to critical acclaim in late 2017, but the genre he opted for (Afrobeat), after quitting RnB, requires steady follow ups, sadly, Iyanya leaves too much gap after each single. Moreover, we didn’t feel the usual Iyanya in that single. We heard the voice of a drowning man, a broken voice, nagging, complaining and using beggarly lyrics of a rookie. It wasn’t long before he quietly and unceremoniously left Mavin. Many became worried about his restlessness, his seeming retrogression from fame and fortune. In my optimism, I saw it as a tactical withdrawal, a necessary retreat for a massive attack, which every fighter needs once in a while.
With the release of “Ijeoma”, a few months back, featuring Peruzzi, a smart pundit would attest that Iyanya still has it in him. And when we saw him on Instagram giving shout out to his former label partner, Ubi Franklin and former label mate, Tekno, we knew some bright light is being shone into the dark crevices of the beef that disintegrated Triple MG. It culminated into organizing a listening party in Ikeja recently for his new EP “The Rebirth”, with the attendance and support of his former partners and label mates at Triple MG.
The 5 track EP “The Rebirth”, is a listeners’ delight with the craftiness of a practiced hand. From “Blessing” to “Final” to “Fever” and to the other songs in the EP, we at Tush Magazine join other Nigerians to welcome Iyanya back into the mainstream industry because, truly, this is a rebirth.
This article was written by Ifesinachi Nwadike