Tekno Testaments & Nigerian Nicodemuses: A Remix
“Dear Alhaji Tekno Miles, what must I do to blow again?”
Who knew Victoria Kimani would be a trend-setter?
In 2014, the hitherto stone-cold career of the sultry singer — closed in parentheses and mourned as ‘gone too soon’ in a few circles at the time — was given a breath of life with the nominal hit, Show. Stuck between the music industry in her native Kenya and her adopted Nigeria but having not broken into the mainstream in either, she needed a breakthrough. And so it was that she turned to the witty, mischievous but talented Tekno Miles. He produced and arguably co-wrote that song for the Chocolate City artiste and that has made all the difference.
It’s a formula that has since stuck. A-list artistes (all bigger than Kimani), sensing their slip into the doldrums and fearing being permanently consigned to the irrelevance therein, have run to the boy wonder who cooks up singles all sprinkled with gibberish and heavy percussion as well as having one-word titles.
It’s like 2008 again when Terry G played saviour for many careers, blessing Ill Bliss and company with bonafide nationwide hits. Produce. Sprinkle Gibberish. Co-Write. Release. The difference is that the heir apparent to Terry Gzus’s throne of beautiful nonsense has ascended the throne to continue the tradition.
So it’s safe to label Tekno as the messiah and Nigerian artistes as Nicodemus, elite on the outside in age, industry experience and with more hits in their catalogue, run to him. On current form, The Albulmless One is The Heavy Hitting One, with at least two hits each year since Duro in 2015. And apologies to Phyno but it is perhaps his colleague who is actually The Playmaker racking up assists for the stars.
Take the case of Bracket who awaken from deep slumber in the last quarter of the year, release one song that can garner enough airplay to book them shows during the yuletide. Repeat. They opened the floodgates. Sometime in 2015, they crawl in the middle of the night to him and voila, he gives them Panya.
See also Ice Prince. After releasing a heap of average singles in quick succession, the rapper runs to Tekno (in 2015) to work out his professional salvation with fear and trembling. “Dear Alhaji Miles”, one imagines he would’ve begun. “What must I do to blow again?”
And the singer must have dipped into his calabash before answering: “Verily verily I say unto thee Panshak, thou must be as a suckling babe and sing beautiful nonsense.”
“But how can this be?”, asks a confused Ice Prince, as if he be teleported back to 2011 to freestyle on a Tim Westwood show again and there be no Blackberry Bold to read pre-written lyrics from.
“Art thou really a Nigerian rapper and know not these things?”, the reply must have been. “Thou and thy fellow Pharisee, Vector dost trend once in a while in the Twitter for thine wack bars so this must be easy peasy for thee.”
So Mr Zamani sits in the studio, lets Tekno do this thing and the outcome is the hit, Boss.
Fast forward to 2017. Along comes Davido. It is imperative to credit the young man for some sense; every time it appears that his career is lacking a mega hit, he goes in search of a songwriter. Password. Runtown. Pype (?). And now Tekno. Disappointed towards the end of 2016 that his international deal did not give him as much visibility as his arch-rival Wizkid, he fired the longsuffering Kamal Ajiboye and reinstalled an old flame as manager in his stead. To cap it off, he needed a new songwriter and he turned to another old flame. This time, it was the man who he gave a net hook on his first single — 2013’s Holiday.
On first listen, all that is appealing about If is the catchy ’30 billion for the account’ line, which is clearly Davido’s braggadocious signature. Put it on repeat and Tekno’s songwriting — or the lack of, if you will — becomes very obvious. Only he would rhyme ‘burukutu’ with ‘shukushuku’ and make it sound so good. And it is easy to miss the impressive percussive bridge that is so identical to the one Jay Sleek inserted back in 2face’s Only Me seven years ago and his original trumpet solos.
We need to give proper credit to Tekno’s brilliance and not focus only on his you know, lyrics. And that is something that Victoria Kimani, Bracket, Ice Prince and now Davido, realized before the rest of us; the boy is a hitmaker in every sense of the word. He is their beloved messiah and they are his Nicodemuses.
In turning to the 24-year old, Davido has again shown that his ego permits him to stoop to conquer and that he is miles ahead of his compatriots in using songwriters, just like in the American music industry. And he is the biggest Nicodemus of them all.
Perhaps this is why the anticipated duet with Mr. Eazi fell flat on its face. Being part of his debut project, the latter may not have been willing to relinquish full creative control on Short Skirt to his collaborator, trying to stick with his usual laidback style. I suspect that if they do just a random single together where both singers have almost equal input, we will have another hit on our hands.
Somebody tell Skuki. Lord knows them boys have been going up and down searching for a hit since 2009. Let them be humble and go to Tekno, for the meek shall inherit the Earth.
Photos: Google Images