Tuface Idibia’s incursion into the Nigerian music industry began with “Plantashun Boiz”. Even at that early stage, people recognised the “Plantashun Boiz” as a group of good musicians. Tuface was later to break away from the group to become a SOLO artiste. A move that has seen him transported to the greatest of musical heights.
Tuface’s first solo album Face 2 Face took the Nigerian (and indeed the African) hip-hop world by storm. It is an album that contained well composed and delivered songs such as “African Queen”; “Keep On Rocking”; “U No Holy Pass”; “Nfana Ibanga” and “Ole”. The very sensuous thing about these songs is that they bestride both the R&B sub-genre, and the rock genre. Take for instance the track “African Queen” which single-handedly transported Tuface to famedom. The song is a neat and almost perfect rendition in the R&B style. A style that generically captures the smooth disposition and composition of the quintessential African Queen-who sways like a bulrush.
But while “African Queen” appears to play a major role in catapulting Tuface to stardom, his other songs in the album Face 2 Face also did lend helping hands. So good were the songs in the album such that a whole lot of music lovers fell in-love with Tuface. Yet a whole lot of sceptics (including this writer) believed that Tuface would only prove to be a flash in the pan. Most of us felt that he would be so overtaken by the euphoria of stardom that he would not be able to do any other good song, but would rather focus all his attentions on remixes and stage shows. I even felt he would be like Craig David-one good album out, and then aridity and old age. But he proved all of us wrong!
It turned out that his collaboration with Beenie Man, Wyclef Jean, and Reggie boosted his stature as a singer. With their collaboration, Tuface came out to be a matured singer bestriding the genre-leaving the pettymen to peep from underneath! He learnt how to mix Calypso, Reggae, R&B, and Rock. This is essentially the story of Grass 2 Grace, an album whose title depicts Tuface’s phenomenal growth in the music industry-from a young artiste struggling to find his own voice, to an established artiste with a distinctly unique and authoritative voice of his own.
Grace 2 Grace is an album that can comfortably lay claims to being the first album by a Nigerian hip-hop artiste, to bestride the genres. The only rivalry it may get would be Face 2 Face from Tuface too.Yet Face 2 Face cannot boast of the maturityand complex handlings of the genres that Grass 2 Grace lays claim to. Grass 2 Grace in more ways than one depicts that Tuface’s collaboration such masters as Beenie Man and Wyclef, and his general exposure to world hip-hop actually paid off. From such R&B version as “See Me So” and R&B infused with calypso versions as “If Love Is A Crime” and “True love”. He moved on to the reggae version in “One Love”, and pure hip-hop interlaced with rap in his collaboration with VIP, in “My Love”. Indeed, the strength of that album lies in its variety and Tuface’s emotional rendition of the songs.
Again, in Grass 2 Grace, Tuface finally becomes a society conscious artiste by finally committing his craft to the criticism of the leadership problems in the country. The hit track “4 instance” is an eloquent criticism of the corrupt disposition of most Nigerian leaders who see nothing wrong in not “respect[ing] our skills for instance”, while “packing our money dey go France/dey make [us] fool in abundance”. And in “E be like say” he affirms the never ending act of telling the Nigerian populace deceptive stories. Tuface rounds off by telling them that “Only God can judge [them] now”. This new dimension to his songs pitches Tuface on the side of the masses of this country and thus enunciates the fact that he perceives himself as their voice who will go to the extent ofgiving them the philosophical message “no body wan’ pai but they wan’ go heaven”
For a long time now, Tuface Idibia has been one of the greatest forces in the African music industry. With Grass 2 Grace Tuface firmly writes his name on the sands of time as one of the greatest musical legends the continent would ever see.
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