Timaya, who is best known for his old songs like “Dem Mama” and “Plantain boy”, is one of Nigeria’s most successful music artists. His music has earned him several awards both in and outside the country. The 42 year-old is particularly lauded for being able to carry the dancehall genre to greater heights. With eight albums already to his credit in less than two decades, his success in the industry is well recognized.
Thanks also to his consistency in the release of what we call bangers in the music world, Jamaican-inspired reggae and dancehall music is now one of the most popular genres in many parts of Africa.
Best of Timaya’s Old Songs
With so many hit tracks being released back-to-back, some Nigerian old songs still make meaningful impacts each time they are played. Timaya’s old songs stand among those. Despite releasing hit songs nearly every other year, Timaya remains one of the few music talents whose old songs will never go out of fashion.
The musician formally became a member of Nigerian music in 2005, after several years of serving as a backup vocalist for Idris Abdulkareem’s hip-hop group and collaborating with up-and-coming artists. His existence has been dedicated to a steady pursuit of wealth and artistic value. This is evident in some of his much older songs that still create a lot of vibes even for the much younger generation. Here’s a quick look into the top five of Timaya’s old songs that still make the most buzz today.
1. “Dem Mama”
Great songs they say, must transcend time, convey strong emotions, shift culture, and resonate with a large number of people. Timaya’s first single “Dem Mama” has always been one of such songs that never went out of time.
Released in 2005, “Dem Mama” gives an account of the 1999 destruction of Odi, a riverside community in the Niger Delta. This happened when the Nigerian military, reportedly acting on the orders of then-President Olusegun Obasanjo, invaded the little community of Odi, a predominantly Ijaw community in Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, and killed many people, burning the community to the ground.
Recalling his reason for creating such a ballad, the Bayelsa star artist said he was pushed by his hunger to pass a message and be heard. His vocal performance, energy, and melody in Dem Mama were so good that they gained him enough recognition. Since the release of Dem Mama till this moment, the record is still making a great impact.
Not only was the song the start of his successful music career, but it also gained him some sort of recognition as a militant maverick, who never backed down from a fight. He would also form a group called Dem Mama Soldiers. It gave him the courage to produce more hit singles and his first album True Story, which was eventually released in 2007. Thanks to the success of “Dem Mama”, True Story won the awards for the 2008 Nigeria Music Awards Album of the Year and The Headies’ 2008 Best Reggae/Dancehall Album award.
2. “Plantain Boy”
Plantain Boy is one of Timaya’s old songs that reminds us a lot about the singer. The song, which is a product of Timaya’s third album Rebirth released in 2010, was his album’s success-themed lead single and like his first hit single, “Plantain Boy” recounts Timaya’s sufferings and life challenges while growing up as a child.
Timaya sang about how he used to hawk plantain and how he has been able to acquire a lot of wealth, leading to his change of status from ‘plantain boy to big boy’, he sang. The song’s huge success lies in its message of courage which registered in the hearts of millions of Nigerian Youth. In addition to hitting over 3 million views in 2011, Timaya’s Plantain Boy” also won him the 2011 Afrotainment-Museke Online African Music Awards for Best Afro-Dancehall song category.
Released in 2012, “Malonogede” is one of Timaya’s oldest yet quite trending songs you will love to play anytime and at events like birthday parties or even clubs. A very danceable song that contains lots of vibes, “Malonogede” was one of his three notable hits (others including “Bum-Bum” and “Sexy Ladies”) contained in his 14-track album titled Upgrade, which hit the music market on 25 June 2012.
The track was carefully crafted by Timaya with the combined efforts of Terry G, who gave out a refined rendition. Malonogede is one of the hottest songs of the project and will continue to linger on the playlist of Timaya and Terry G music fans. With over 3.6 million views on Youtube, “Malonogede” further brought the dancehall singer to the limelight and, of course, earned him much more financial income.
Having already earned a name for himself as one of Nigeria’s music stars whose vocals not only entertain but carry loads of messages, Timaya’s release of “Ogologomma” received no less applause from his fast-growing fans. Of course, this singular song shot Timaya to a higher level of stardom. His “Sometimes it will be good, Sometimes it will be bad” melody received massive credit from fans with about 2 million views as at the time of its release in 2011.
Timaya’s “Ukwu” is a follow-up of his astounding single “Ekoloma Bemba”. Quite a hilarious song that has its theme centered on feminine hip movement, had its video shot in the UK. While the song got many in the dancing mood, some questioned his sudden change of music style.
Timaya is a long way off from that firebrand musician with an ax to grind with the world. For someone who began his singing career with Gospel Music, then he went into singing about envies, which he got rebuked for anyways, Timaya then decided to try something new and that’s why he made the “secular music” – the one that would suit the taste of his fans.
Even when it was later reported that the “Ukwu” Crooner later apologized for making the song, the song never received any lesser public reception. It, in fact, received the highest views with over 17 million views on Youtube. That was Massive!
What was Timaya’s First Album?
Timaya’s first released album was True Story. The debut album was released in 2007, two years after he had gained national recognition with his first hit, “Dem Mama”. Contained in the debut album were seven more songs added to his hit single. Other equally interesting songs in the album include “Honey na Money”, “Bayelsa”, Dem Mama”, Ogologomma”. The album not only tore its way up the music charts but also received two notable awards in 2008: The Headies and Nigeria Music Awards.
Following the success of his debut album, Timaya wasted no time working on his second album. Gift and Grace, his new album was released into stores nationwide on June 13, 2008. The album had him working with stars like Phyno, Terry G, Jeggs, Spankie, Akeem D Beat, and Obaksolo, and it features fifteen solid tracks including “Dem Mama anthem”, “If to Say”, “Ogologomma remix”, “Na Mistake” and “Iyawo Mi”. To crown its success, the album won the 2009 Headies for Best Reggae/Dancehall Album category.
While Dem Mama and Gift and Grace received credit for bringing Timaya to the limelight, his third album De Rebirth earned him more public recognition. The album, which was released in 2010, earned him further visibility and international prominence with his themed lead single “Plantain Boy”. He even collaborated with guest artists like 2face Idibia, TJ 2Solo, Allenian, Konga, Lanre, M.I, and Wrecoba.
Soaring higher in his career, Timaya – the Egberi Papa One of Bayelsa, never relented in making more albums for his fans to enjoy. Between 2010 and 2012, he was able to release a collaborative album titled LLNP (Long Life And Prosperity), and his fourth studio album Upgrade. 2014 saw the release of the artist’s fifth studio album titled Epiphany which has a total of 20-tracks, including global hits like “Bum Bum Remix” (featuring Sean Paul).
So far, the 42 year-old superstar has released a total of eight albums with the latest, Gratitude, being released in 2020 with 15-tracks. His EP titled Chulo Vibes (2019) is a project that featured collaborations from East African artist Alikiba, Trinidadian Soca Legend Machel Montano, and star singer Burna Boy.
The complete list of Timaya’s albums includes:
- True Story (2007)
- Gift And Grace (2008)
- De Rebirth (2010)
- LLNP Long Life N Prosperity (2011)
- Upgrade (2012)
- Epiphany (2014)
- Chulo Vibes EP (2019)
- Gratitude 2020
Controversies Surrounding Timaya’s Music Style
Timaya has long been known as the backbone carrying the dancehall genre and his long years of consistency have earned him a much-deserved reputation in the world of entertainment. However, the star artist has not been devoid of controversies, especially when it involves his music style. Here are some of the controversies he’s been involved in lately.
1. His Apology Over His Song “Ukwu”
One of the biggest controversies the artist has been roped in involved his sudden decision to switch to singing vulgar songs rather than good meaningful songs. The singer himself sparked controversy when he reportedly wrote an open letter to God seeking His forgiveness for making and releasing his song “Ukwu”.
Timaya claimed his plan was never to do secular music for a long time because of his upbringing at the Living Gospel Mission as a chorister but he changed his music style just because of what people wanted. His bid to keep his fanbase and possibly grow his social and financial status spurred his sudden change of music style. Meanwhile, reacting to his open letter, many criticized him for misleading people just to make money.
2. Controversy Over His New song “Sili-kon”
Much similar to the criticism over his change of music style was the issue related to his hit single “Sili Kon” which was released in November 2019. While the song was widely received as it makes Timaya’s return as Nigeria’s King of Afro-dancehall, the subject matter of him singing about women’s body parts got him in trouble as many criticized him for objectifying women who undergo beauty surgeries. To his critics, his approach and method used in the song were degrading and generally objectifying women.
Timaya’s Sili Kon, in which he teamed up with Burna Boy’s hitmaker Kel P, features an array of beautiful well-endowed ladies who flaunt their big backside raunchily and the song’s title is said to be slang for silicone surgery. The song is also said to have its content focusing on women’s new trend of going mostly “plastic” just to enhance their appearance. This, according to the lyrics of the song, makes men confused. This is evident in the lyrics “The say all my girls bum is a sili-khoni yo; And nobody know now only me know”.
Timaya’s songs are usually bubbly and melodic, however, the content left much to be desired. While many desired Timaya to react to the much criticism of his song, some others care less about his response as he has earlier noted that his change of music style was to entertain his fans and satisfy his financial needs as well.