Omah Lay’s rise in the Nigerian music industry is being interpreted as a toppling of the old guard especially in the light of his emergence as triple threat – singer, composer and music producer but this might be signaling a divergence from the allegories in his songs.
His debut EP, “Get Layd” is enjoying heavy rotation on radio and tv — for an artist who just started his recording career and is still groping for recognition.
Young adults blast them, relishing the unrefined, uncensored, relatable language — that to fully understand what Omah Lay is all about we may have to: visit songs released in 2019, follow the sequence of songs released until the EP, and deconstruct his use of what I choose to refer to as abstract phraseology in each song:
Hello Brother — showcases OL’s wishes and willingness to sacrifice for his brother in spite of monetary and physical restraints. A risk-taker says: “I might just end up tearing my shirt. When I get leg I go stand by you.”
Do Not Disturb — here Omah Lay seeks solitude to reflect soberly on his persona and music career away from society’s distractions. An introvert sings: “Now I am balling o, you dey try to tear my jersey. I got a beast buh I’m trynna keep it cool.”
Bad Influence — he is in a relationship where he acts according to the girl’s compulsion which leads to deceit and dysfunctions. A poet constructs: “See you don burst my eyeglass. Smoking cigars, you still sing and play my guitar/ now I’m lost in this sambisa.”
You — he is audacious about his feelings and ready to make sacrifices and can shapeshift into different personas if she wishes. Likewise the alternative cuts. A Rastafarian sings: “If I have to put all my health in a purse. You dey cut my sandals/ you dey off my lantern.”
Damn — the girl returns his love (an ardent feeling) in spite of her home training and in tolerance of his bizarre conditions. A lost lover sings: “You be my river, you be my road. Even when I waka withy ten toes/ she carry my matter likey dandruff.”
Lo Lo — he intends to use his sex appeal to prove a point that his feelings should not be doubted. A weirdo croons: “I look nice but I’m not so so good/ I gat something I just want to prove. Let me show you something (something you might never want to say no).
Ye Ye Ye — like many R-rated films, it is an onomatopoeia that describes the acrobatics of lovemaking that they both desire. A chauvinist sings: “The way I lick her clean/ she thinks I’m a laundry man/ the way I eat her thing/ she thinks I be animal.”
Omah Lay’s songs are certainly for consenting adults. Singing without censorship, he croons from a place of passion, daily diction and natural flow. But despite singing about the birds and the bees, you barely reach the second verse to hear his artistry and metaphors.
To the question posed in the cap, after considering the aforementioned elements, he does. Omah Lay is a star to watch.
Peter Ashiwhobere is a writer and music lover