Catching feelings with Omawumi’s “In Her Feelings.” – Henri Yire
After a long hiatus the Warri-spawn ‘Oma Wonder’ finally offers us something to work with. An EP. She calls the concise, 7-tracker an EP, even though platforms like ITunes will disagree with the definition. Unsurprisingly, ‘In Her Feelings ’speaks to Omawumi’s deeply-opinionated persona and the vignettes that surround her musical journey. The 2018 Headies winner for Best Vocal Performance is feisty in this piece of work with no 21 st -century compromise, standing solidly in an era that she knows and understands. Bold. The revealing album title ‘In Her Feelings’ gives a front-seat preview of what to expect; so we listened. Then took the EP apart.
WITHOUT YOU: Opens up with a song reminiscent of another time. This is evident in how it kicks off with the backup vocals taking the first shot. A shot not aimed too well. Her Afrobeat influence comes to the fore here, accompanied by a deep soul overlay that soothes without making a spark.
FOR MY BABY: In a world of weak lyrics and over-compensating beats, Omawumi weaves a tale of love. It’s refreshing to see her signature witty lyrics taking the front row on this one. ‘I love the way you love me/ You no roll me like dice/ The way you understand me/
E be like beans and rice/
The signature blue note embellishes the track, evoking nostalgia to tell a familiar
story; a music style associated with legends like Sunny Ade and Victor Uwaifo.
MR. SINNERMAN: Can you imagine an Omawunmi album without a notable shade factor or a diss track? Hard, right? We thought so too. So it didn’t take us long to find a track that fit that bill; Mr. SinnerMan. If you were born over three decades ago and have two kids and tons of responsibility, what better way to serve a diss track than on a lilting reggae vibe? Mr. SinnerMan attempts to analyze fakery and the injustice of social inequality. Important point. There is a famous song called SinnerMan by the amazing Nina Simone but that’s where the similarities end.
AWAY: A heavy afro-beat influence colours this particular track as Omawumi conjures up the obligatory prayer simulation to help ward off things like poverty and enemies. This places her firmly in tandem wth a number of her colleagues who have toed the line of enemy-baiting.
TRUE LOVING: Embellishes the magic of love; one of Oma’s many strengths. Emboldening her love interest to step up to the plate and ‘shoot his shot.’ It features the sparse instrumentals and lean accompaniments of the 90s. A deliberate act in itself or a creative misjudgment? It’s not quite clear.
Is a musical rebuke to an imaginary offender for various wrongS done. Its traditional
high life vibe pays homage to an older generation; a generation we hope is still
interested in music.
The song doesn’t clearly say what the word ‘Tabansi’ actually means, so we googled it
and came up with ‘One who endures.’
Helping it sit in the ‘warrior/overcomer’ song category.
GREEN GRASS: The EP ends with a warning track; Omawumi goes full mother mode on us on this one. Her jazz influence is clearly expressed here and in her characteristic bluntness, she uses expletives to tell the story of caution; teaching us to be wary of the ‘green grass’ which may harbor well-hidden snakes. But proverb-heavy songs can make the singer look old; even Omawumi. Her smartest move on this work? She closes the EP in a record time of 24 minutes, which is a good thing because her last album ‘Timeless’ took 49 minutes off my biological clock.