In as much as it feels like a more refined version of 2021 is stuck in traffic and our only option is to hang on to this insipid rough draft, let’s appreciate that certain pleasures, such as genuinely good music, are still within our reach. Award-winning vocalist, Tina Masawi has always been known for her distinctive art direction and virtuosity, and although it has taken longer than anticipated, the world finally gets to witness all of her might in the unfaltering light that is “91”; an album that just might be the surefire avowal we’re carrying with us this year.
Unflinchingly, Tina hurls us into the conflagration and there is no turning back at this point. “How Far” is an affecting opener, and with it, she is asking all the right questions. The song points out to the looming anarchy of a world that aims to dispirit just about anyone in pursuit of theirs. As per prerequisite, she is resolute in her delivery and she is in absolute control. “How Far” is a natural descendent of tropical dance and tribal sounds, and only a handful of producers are capable of coupling both worlds facilely and with such grace.
NYARARARA (FEAT. FUNGAI NENGARE)
The song’s lovable tepid island breeze comes from that all its components snuggly fit together. Despite its actual context, it’s as if the song is communicating to us that regardless of how the year has been, it’s summer now and we should chill the heck out. Competition in R&B circles has never been pliable, but Tina is not the kind you worry about, especially when you consider her vocal abilities. “Nyararara” is an unavoidable fusion jam and it’s worth noting that both Fungai Nengare and Tina’s vocals impeccably complement their rhythmic backing track.
The appropriately named “Haundidaro” hews to the themes of dishonest intentions in relationships. The frustration in Tina Masawi’s voice is quite palpable, but she is somehow able to retain the dance elements of the song. “Haundidaro” is that buoyant kind of Afrobeats song that makes you retrieve your Poco dance skills from some box with the things you thought you won’t be needing this December.
RIDE FOR ME
Self love doesn’t just end with posting spa pictures on Instagram, it also means shrugging off lacking suitors and riding for yourself from time to time. “Ride For Me” has a slower seductive tempo and marks the point at which the record switches from Sports mode to Cruise Control. The song is also an exploration of the higher side of Tina’s vocal range; here, her voice is mildly tinged with Helium and is slightly airy; a combination that earns her a spot in the bloodline of the likes of Nao, vocally speaking.
Albeit on the lackluster side of things, the song is gratifying in the sense that it indicates that it is not all morbid for Tina when it comes to matters of the heart. The song is generally laden with positive vibes and represents a love that has gone right. “Be Alright” is laid back by design and sort of ties the whole record together with its exploration of the brighter side of love affairs. Not only does this song prove that Reverb7 knows his way around instrumentals, but it also shows that his rapport with Tina Masawi is that of an intimate nature; an element that is always key in the studio.
I LOVE IT (FEAT. SYNIK)
Despite its slightly sadistic nature, this jam can brighten up any morning with its deliberately high-spirited arrangement. “I Love It” relates what most of us try to conceal in the name of being the bigger man as if there’s a trophy waiting for us at the end of it all. “I Love It” is significantly empowering, because in all honesty, what could be more emboldening and cathartic than reclaiming your power from the very place you parted with it. Synik’s rap set is one to be reckoned with, and the aggression in his bars is rightly positioned. It goes without saying that the song is beyond passable and is a pretty standard way to end the album.
91 explores all the altitudes associated with love, with a slight bias towards the negative experiences. The album has particularly been made memorable by Reverb7’s production skill set. The two have prominent collaborations in the past, and it sounds just about right that they entered this venture together. Tina Masawi has one of those peculiar voices that carry delightful unconventionality…