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A Pulse review of Tekno’s ‘The More The Better’

‘Pana’ would go on to become a smash hit for its musical novelty and the excitement it offers would be recreated in subsequent records like ‘Yawa,’ ‘Go,’ and ‘Jogodo’.

Amidst his electrifying 2017 run, Tekno lent his talent to Davido for whom he crafted the smash hit ‘IF’ that repositioned Davido for success after a forgettable international stint with the ‘Son of Mercy’ EP.

Such is Tekno’s emphatic influence and contributions to the evolution of Afrobeats. An influence that is at risk of going unnoticed, especially due to his seeming inability to curate a convincing body of work.

The reality of this risk was captured by renowned Culture Journalist Ayomide Tayo (AOT2), in a tweet where he opined:

“Tekno might have gone down as the forgotten man in Afrobeats if not for this well-arranged, spectacular album from him…”

At the time when the ovation is lowest and listeners may have forgotten about his genius, Tekno delivers his sophomore album ‘The More The Better,’ a defining project that etches his name in the annals of Afrobeats history.

For his sophomore album, Tekno showcases the genius embedded in simplicity. A quality that makes him one of Afrobeats’ most brilliant minds.

When he announced himself on the mainstream with the Davido-assisted hit single ‘Holiday’ in 2014, Tekno’s music struck Nigerians as one that doesn’t demand much from listeners. This overt simplicity in production, lyrics, and delivery led some listeners to hurriedly dismiss it as unsophisticated yet for listeners who are willing to pay closer attention, Tekno offers impressive musicality.

If there’s a major advantage in the simplicity of Tekno’s music, it is that it allows for relativity across demographics such that when the record sticks it goes on to become a nationwide hit. In this writer’s opinion, the inherent disadvantage is that Tekno’s music was incapable of nailing down a reliable listener base. Hence his music only satisfies the desires of listeners whenever he crafts sounds that arrest their attention.

After failing to put out a body of work during the commercial run he enjoyed between 2017 – 2018, it was going to take another round of brilliance for Tekno to recreate that moment. When he put out his debut album ‘Old Romance’ in 2020, the album completely failed to deliver the nostalgia of his commercial peak nor did it offer the novelty to kick off another run.

It took a while before Tekno would recover from this slump as he suffered vocal issues that required medical attention. Between 2021 and 2022 Tekno released different records but it was ‘Buga,’ his partnership with Kizz Daniel that reminded listeners of his genius.

Having gained the attention of listeners, Tekno quickly followed up with a series of singles and guest appearances that would all lead up to the release of his sophomore album ‘The More The Better’.

Like the quintessential Tekno music, the album doesn’t require any mental calisthenics to contextualize it or capture his state of mind.

Tekno draws most of his influences locally and this distinction has led even international artists like Drake and Billie Elish to be taken by his talent. While most of his contemporaries are eager to deploy Western elements that are increasingly overshadowing the Afrobeats elements, Tekno embraces Nigerian sonics and brilliantly spices this album with these elements.

From the opening record ‘Twice Shy’, listeners are quickly ushered into the Teknoverse which is a world of musicality rooted in simplicity. His sampling of Dido’s ‘Thank You’ was made to be easily identifiable as opposed to being musically complex like the average artist might be tempted to do.

True to his nature and in a manner that’s quintessentially Afrobeats, Tekno keeps the topic casual and the music crafted to offer a delightful getaway.

When he’s not singing, Tekno sometimes shows his sense of humour on social media in moments that emphasize his profile as a man who enjoys a good time. He brings this positive vibe to the music as he chooses his peace of mind while also encouraging listeners to live in the moment and forget their worries in ‘Pocket’.

An architect of the good time, Tekno makes it clear that he’s about the vibe in ‘The More The Better’ where he interpolates the classic nursery poem for a delicious and easily digestible song yet one that packs rich musicality in the deployment of Log Drums, Highlife Chords, and lush Horns.

Konto bounce (An Afrobeats Hybrid) has a rich history in Afrobeats and Tekno deploys it with Pop rap delivery to craft a stunning record on which he interpolates the classic Afrobeats record ‘Wetin Dey’ by Ruff Rugged and Raw.

Tekno molds melody that offers a Palmwine riddim in the DJ Coublon produced Highlife infused record ‘King Of Pop’ on which samples Fela Kuti‘s ‘Shakara’ while also repurposing Log drums to offer local percussive flavour in a song that captures his sonic identity.

Even when he fuses Yoruba to craft the party-starter ‘Lokation’ or when he combines Highlife chords and Log drum on ‘Permit,’ the composition carries the innate simplicity that sets his music apart.

The love tracks ‘Regina’ on which he enlisted CKay‘s assistance and ‘Can’t Chase’ are ones on which Tekno promises his lover a good time should they offer him the same, on records equally crafted to offer listeners the same.

And although Tekno’s music is crafted to offer a good time, he still talks about the reality that shapes his community. On ‘The More The Better’, he interpolates lines from African China‘s classic ‘Mr. President’ to remind the government of their failures while also offering words of encouragement to people battling life’s struggles in ‘Play’.

The feel-good nature of the tracks, the percussions, the deployment of Konto bounce, and the use of Highlife chords all tie the music together and combine with Tekno’s trademark simple delivery and writing to achieve a richness that showcases Afrobeats in all its glory.

When listeners may have forgotten his genius and when the ovation is lowest, Tekno emerges with an album that secures his legacy in Afrobeats. And it is beautiful moments like this that would inspire future generations that add their quota to evolving Afrobeats.

Songwriting, Themes, and Delivery: 1.6/2

Enjoyability and Satisfaction: 1.6/2

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