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2FACE IDIBIA: HYPE, MYTH, HUMILITY, OR REALITY?

What’s the lifespan of the average Nigerian hip-hop act’s career? I don’t know, that’s why I’m asking you, but if I were to hazard a guess, I’d say, it’s somewhere between 3-5 years; remember, we’re talking the law of average here, not the overall rule.

Some lucky few have managed to stay relevant beyond those number of years, but I’m sure you’ll agree with me that when it comes to contemporary Nigerian ‘hip-hop’ nobody (group or solo) act has had a longer, consistent and more relevant career than 2face Idibia. In my humble opinion, only P-Square comes close.
Now, the question is, in an industry littered with the corpses of many once promising music careers, what has kept 2baba going? What has kept his clock ticking?
Despite the many scandals that have trailed his career (though we Africans don’t believe in counting children for the owner but we must say this, the man has seven children from three women), he still solidly remains as one of the A-list acts in the country.
One thing is talent: we all know he’s got talent; the brother can sing. He doesn’t have the best voice out there, but there’s that honest, sincere quality about 2face’s voice; it kind of feels like he’s telling the truth.
Then, there’s his humility. It’s legendary! Before you think this is a PR piece, it isn’t. If you mention my name to 2face, I’m sure it wouldn’t mean anything to him because he doesn’t know me from Adam. We’ve met at a couple of events, and as an entertainment writer and editor; we’ve only traded handshakes and a few hearty banters.
However, ask 10 fans on the street, and seven would list ‘humility’ as part of the reasons why they like the singer.
Are the above, the reasons why 2face has remained ‘hot’? Is his latest album, “Ascension” going to soar, or tank?
“What do you think of 2face’s latest album…do you think it’s up to par?” a senior and respected colleague had asked me during the week.

“Hmm…I can’t say for sure. I think 2face has won the respect of the people, so there would definitely be a buzz on this album, but I can’t really tell if it would fly,” I quipped.

At that time, I hadn’t listened to the album. I had only heard 2face perform some songs off it at Industry Nite.

However, after listening to the 17-track album, I can proudly restate my membership of the 2face Idibia fan club; and I also found my answer to what has kept the “African Queen” crooner going for so long.

He has remained relevant and successful because he never takes his audience and fans for granted. With the likes of Davido, Wizkid, Olamide, and other young cats on the prowl, 2face went down to their level and you can clearly feel his swag on tracks like “#Aproko,” “Holiday,” “Can’t Hear You ft Vector,” amongst others.
2face is one contemporary artiste that does more live-band performances than any of his peers out there. And the difference shows in this new album. 2face’s voice is smooth, fresh, husky, hip…all at once.

One thing I take away from listening to him, and which I feel artistes out there should learn from, is, 2face sees his voice as a friend…an ally, so he’s not afraid to use it anyhow he wants to. He doesn’t force it; he doesn’t try to hit the high notes, or modulate better than a nightingale; he just sings, and you find it soothing your soul.
I must confess, I’m feeling ashamed of myself already. I was supposed to write a review of the “Ascension” album, but I ended up gushing. However, if it’s worth anything, I vouch for my objectivity.
The only fault I could find was that 2face didn’t collaborate with some well-known acts who fans would have wanted him to, such as Flavour, Banky W, Wizkid,Chidinma…etc.

You really should listen to it…it’s worth it!

Tofarati GT Ige.
Author of TOWN CRIER and ORIKI (PRAISE POETRY)
News Editor at E24-7 Magazine

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