Tems’ Born In The Wild: A Testament To Her Unwavering Resilience

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Six years ago, Tems made a bold entrance into the Nigerian music scene with her unapologetic single “Mr. Rebel”, defying the conventional Afrobeats sound. Today, she’s a global sensation, still unwavering in her artistry, but with a charisma that has amplified to international chart-topping heights. 

Following her success after her verse on the hit single “Essence”, the anticipation for her debut album has been intense. Finally, “Born in the Wild” has arrived, and the world is taking notice.

Tems’ debut album, “Born in the Wild” offers a deeply personal and intimate glimpse into Tems’ soul, documenting her extraordinary ascent to fame, her hard-won victories over self-doubt, and her transformative journey towards embracing her rightful place in the spotlight. With eighteen tracks showcasing her genre-bending style, she collaborates with acclaimed producers like GuiltyBeatz, Sarz, London, Spax, P2J, DAMEDAME*, and Nsikak David, while also showcasing her own production prowess. 

The album opens with the titular track, “Born in the Wild”, a reflection on her journey, courageously confronting the trauma she has faced in the untamed landscape of Lagos, her childhood home. This somber and narrative opening sets the tone for a listening experience that masterfully navigates the highs and lows of self-discovery.

The 18-track album features previously released singles “Me & U” and “Love Me JeJe”, the latter sampling Seyi Sodimu’s1997 classic of the same name. Throughout the album, Tems displays her full range, exploring spirituality in “Me & U”, delivering upbeat jams like “Turn Me Up” and even channeling her inner rapper on “T-Unit”.

The realization of one’s dreams and the glamorous yet demanding lifestyle of a star was echoed by Tems on “Burning,” as a result of how suddenly she got to global fame. Meanwhile, on “Ready,” Tems is is driven to reach new heights, confidently pursuing her ambition with unrelenting passion.

On “Wickedest”, Tems samples the evergreen track “1er Gaou” taking center stage with an infectious groove and confidently asserting her power. With a catchy chorus primed to be a summer anthem, Tems declares her unstoppable force, joined by her girls on “wickedest time!”

Tems’ collaboration with Asake, who’s on a hot streak of feature appearances, shines on “Get It Right”. Their vocal chemistry is undeniable, with Asake’s voice blending seamlessly with Tems’ soulful declarations, all set to a catchy Amapiano production.

On “Free Fall”, she experiments with R&B and Latin inflections alongside J.Cole, while “Boy O Boy” reveals a more vulnerable side, with Tems expressing her love frustrations over a simple yet effective acoustic riff. “Forever” boasts of the same attitude, but with a funkier twist, squeezing desperation from her ex for all it’s worth.

Still on romantic issues, on “Unfortunate”, Tems delivers a scathing line: “Maybe it’s fortunate, you’re unfortunate.” With a biting wit, she calls out a manipulative partner, her words cutting through his deception on a 90’s-inspired beat. As a “Gangsta”, Tems embodies afearless spirit, singing about her confidence in her abilities as she interpolates legendary reggae artist, Diana King’s ”L-L-Lies”.

Despite her confidence, Tems remains receptive to guidance and encouragement from her mum and managers as heard in the album interlude. The album features insightful interludes like “Special Baby Interlude” and “Voices in My HeadInterlude”, which explore familial bonds and serve as precursors to the album’s arrangement. 

The project comes full circle with the closing tracks “You in My Face” and “Hold On”. The former is a jazzy, melancholic track with Spanish guitar licks and a defiant affirmation of optimism, while the latter reminds listeners that personal evolution often requires navigating life’s obstacles and holding on to hope.

As frequent collaborators, Guilty Beatz and Tems forge an iconic sound partnership on the album, yielding an impressive synergy. However, some homegrown listeners may initially struggle to fully connect with her distinctive sound, which breaks away from Nigerian mainstream tradition as seen with her previous EPs. Nevertheless, her music is a genuine expression of herself, and that authenticity is what truly sets her apart.

With this album, Tems emerges victorious, her artistry and personal journey culminating in a triumphant masterpiece that showcases her sonic strengths and skillfully balances her vulnerabilities. “Born in the Wild” is her celebratory anthem, a testament to her unwavering resilience.

Written by: Precious Emmanuel


Written By

Curious for Culture

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