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Adedamola Adedayo: “Bayanni” EP is the Passable Mavin Head Start

Bayanni is the latest signee of Mavin Records, with the official announcement made on August 23rd, 2022. A day after, in the early hours, his eponymous Mavin debut, Bayanni EP, was released. It comes as a four-track package, which bestrides Afrobeats and RnB, with a support system of soft-core instrumentals. Credited on the EP cover are producers Sparrq Beatz, Andre Vibez, and Prestige. Altogether, the album announces the artiste as a lust-fated and fun-skirting being moving along paths over-tried by too many pop stars. Should anyone care, Omah Lay and Fireboy DML are latest recalls.

One impression Bayanni creates at ease in the opening track, Family, is a sympathetic sense of familial allegiance. We have recently seen Brymo and A-Q jump on this motif in Family First, somewhere in Ethos. Violins played by Isonilstrings shine over the beats in Family. But in between his seemingly lifelong pledge, Bayanni films hasty moments of ghettoized upbringing and the transition from the hustling young man to a flexing dude. All work and no play would have made Bayanni a bore, hence “Gimme two bottles of moet make my body balance yeh.”

Bayanni presents his bad-boy credentials in Body where he prefers the hook-up type of relationship to a commitment-cut one. It was only a track ago, before this ironical juncture, that the young man willed himself to a long-lasting course. But, of truth, blood is thicker — more durable — than lust. So we understand if, on track two, he now wants to water down his initial position.

Romantic love, these days and arguably as ever before, is transactional, especially in a society like Nigeria where it is weaponised by both males and females to meet certain ends. The common narrative is this: the females use ‘love’ as a poverty-alleviation programme while the males want to satisfy their sexual urges. Bayanni understands this, so instead of dumbing down to some teenage love lore, he comes out pretty plain: “Shey you go gum body if I spray you this my money.”

In the pre-chorus of the song, there are one-line references each to Yemi my Lover and Hannah MontanaOlamide’s 2013 studio album, Baddest Guy Ever Liveth, contains a single on Bayanni’s first one-line image in whose chorus he croons, “Yago lona, se mo jo Yemi my lover ni”, but this genealogy starts with the 1993 melodramatic Yoruba classic, Yemi My Lover. The second one-line image comes from the American teen sitcom of the same title which ran between 2006 and 2011. It turns out, maybe by coincidence, that both referents are music-prone characters from their originals. Thus, the connection between music and love is, like a bestseller, unputdownable.

By Ta Ta Ta, Bayanni has become lust-ridden. His skill in vulgar discourse has been honed, and this peaks in the onomatopoeic chorus, “I give her like ta ta ta ta ta ta…” as Bayanni simulates the rhythm of a steamy affair. There are a few sexual innuendos, such as: “She want to germinate on top this my plantation” and “My thing too long she wantu taste my kokoro.” Millennials consider the plantain or banana a phallic symbol, so the plantation evidences virility.

Eze Jazz oversees the guitar sounds on the final song as Bayanni brings us another lovemaking scenario that, this time around, avoids the rapid-fire precision of Ta Ta Ta. With amapiano beats sampled as well, the song joins a retinue of other Afropop songs involved in the politics of modern, cross-cultural appeal.

It is too early and rash to impose a conclusion, however, four songs – predictably sensual, without a feature, in a Mavin cloister – may lead to certain hypotheses. One is that Bayanni is ready to take it slow with his newfound glory. Another is that he is not interested in questioning the status quo. Ultimately, that he goes lovey-dovey and sex-frenzied shows his genial reception of the thematic vampirism associated with Afrobeats.

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