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Oris Aigbokhaevbolo

The Nigerian male should be unhappy. Tiwa Savage has pricked Tekno’s inflations on ‘Pana’, turning cassava to sugarcane. It is war of the sexes, Naija style.

Ms Savage, who’s certainly aware of the phallic implications of her title, has played coy, telling the American publication FADER she named her new EP Sugarcane because "the music is sweet and different." Of course, no one is going to believe her, given her songs of old and this line from ‘All Over’, which was released ahead of the project: "If you say make I bend low I no go waste time to do like so."

The EP is Ms Savage’s slimmest project, following her two studio albums, the latter of which put the lady back into reckoning following her disappointing debut. At six tracks, Sugarcane is an efficient package selling all that has put Tiwa Savage on top of the female pop pile: sex appeal, controlled R&B vocal styling and an ease with certain kinds of production. There are no superfluous cuts.

As with most of her songs, the EP is about a man. The opener, ‘Sugarcane’, a fast-paced track, is a tribute to a man with whom she is enamoured. As she puts it, “I’m down for whatever, so baby come give me some sugar, sugar cane…” There is the some South African house music on the beat, a sound associated with Niniola, with whom Ms Savage has said she wouldn’t mind collaborating with. (Not that you shoul ...

The Nigerian male should be unhappy. Tiwa Savage has pricked Tekno’s inflations on ‘Pana’, turning cassava to sugarcane. It is war of the sexes, Naija style.

Ms Savage, who’s certainly aware of the phallic implications of her title, has played coy, telling the American publication FADER she named her new EP Sugarcane because “the music is sweet and different.” Of course, no one is going to believe her, given her songs of old and this line from ‘All Over’, which was released ahead of the project: “If you say make I bend low I no go waste time to do like so.”

The EP is Ms Savage’s slimmest project, following her two studio albums, the latter of which put the lady back into reckoning following her disappointing debut. At six tracks, Sugarcane is an efficient package selling all that has put Tiwa Savage on top of the female pop pile: sex appeal, controlled R&B vocal styling and an ease with certain kinds of production. There are no superfluous cuts.

As with most of her songs, the EP is about a man. The opener, ‘Sugarcane’, a fast-paced track, is a tribute to a man with whom she is enamoured. As she puts it, “I’m down for whatever, so baby come give me some sugar, sugar cane…” There is the some South African house music on the beat, a sound associated with Niniola, with whom Ms Savage has said she wouldn’t mind collaborating with. (Not that you should expect it. Over two albums and this EP, Tiwa Savage has never featured a female act.)

The EP slows down with the next three tracks, ‘Get It Now’, ‘Me & You’ and ‘Hold Me Down’. The middle song is produced by Maleek Berry and wouldn’t sound of place on his 2016 EP Last Daze of Summer; although Berry’s vocals has only a shadowy aspect, the song never really becomes Tiwa Savage’s song in the way ‘Sugarcane’ is clearly hers. Admirably, she holds her own on ‘Ma Lo’ which features frequent spotlight-stealer Wizkid.

Because Tiwa Savage’s life as a married woman vanished into the blogs last year, it is tempting to think of this EP as commentary on her personal troubles. There is some evidence if you are looking: she sings of the one-man one-woman relationship as ideal. “Na me and you for life,” she says on ‘All Over’, a song which paints the picture of a sexually pliant and submissive woman. “My love is single no be plural,” she says on ‘Ma Lo’. “Na only you when fit hold me down,” she says on ‘Hold Me Down, a song with a meet-cute opener. If you are seeking for signs, the EP sounds like it was made by a woman re-pledging herself to a relationship.

But these are not exactly new sentiments. Tiwa Savage has never really wavered from a belief in exclusive relationships. Her very first single ‘Kele kele Love’, released in 2010, was from the point of view of a woman demanding her man claims her in public. “Don’t private-call me/No, don’t even bother/Till you shout on the rooftop that I’m your lover,” she said back then. That resolve has only strengthened since she got married.

An EP is supposed to serve as precursor to an album, while still advertising an artist’s strengths. Sugarcane does exactly that. And if the album is just as “sweet and different” as this is, it’s easy to see Tiwa Savage retaining her spot atop the female pop pile for quite a while.

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