Face 2 Face – 2 Face Idibia (Review)
As a preteen who was just coming into himself, this album heavily shaped my taste in music alongside other albums from The Remedies, Plantashun Boyz, The Maintain Group, African China, P Square, and other greats that influenced the next generation.
The album introduced us to African Queen. A ballad that would make a generation of Nigerian girls grow up to be women that believed they were second to none.
I can remember how the girls in my class came together and sang it like a hymn repeatedly. Lyrics books were bought just to make sure they knew the words unmistakably by heart.
African Queen, Ole, and Right Here were songs that lots of guys used to hone their wooing skills. It taught them the words and proper sequence to follow in talking to that babe and getting her to fall in love.
If sliding into DMs was a thing back then, African Queen, Ole, and Right Here would be the lubricant that ensured guys got a frictionless and knee-burnless slide.
For me, I still don’t get how people get all mushy about African Queen. The drama that Black Face keep bringing in aside, for me, it wasn’t exactly 2 Face’s best song.
Maybe it went over my head or I wasn’t the right audience for it. I probably wasn’t hormonal enough to enjoy it. If I had a memory of one beautiful girl attached to that song, I’ll probably be remembering it more fondly.
In my humble opinion, Right Here is a better love song than African Queen. It is more poetic, the use of pidgin English, the use of a storyline, and the fact that he was actually trying to woo someone who was giving him an attitude.
Ole meanwhile, though all done in English is a love song so good, that I am considering singing it to my wife at our 50th wedding anniversary. That song is poetry on an overflow.
My favorite song on the album, the song that made me first appreciate 2 Face, the song that made me know he was here for the long haul, Nfana Ibaga. A.k.a No Problem.
According to the legend now attached to the song, Nfana Ibaga was a phrase that Annie Macaulay who was then 2 Face’s girlfriend and would go on to be his wife used to say. Black Face never told us who inspired African Queen, but we know that Annie Idibia was the muse that planted the seeds of Nfana Ibaga in 2 Face’s heart. May I dare to say that the romantic in me acknowledges Nfana Ibaga as a better love song than African Queen?
Let me not be that daring.
This timeless piece has been the benchmark album for 2 Face’s career. Every single, EP and album he has released since then has had to be compared against it. Thankfully, 2 Baba hardly disappoints.
There is something on the Face 2 Face and Grace 2 Grace album which has been missing from the other 2 Face’s albums. The intro.
I don’t know whose idea it was to have that intro on the album, but that addition is one that everyone is grateful for.
I have never skipped through the intro, and I can’t remember anyone ever doing that. In fact, skipping through the intro should be a punishable offense.
If you doubt me, listen to the intro first, then come back and tell me that you disagree.
2 Face does get philosophical quite a bit on this album. Although Nfana Ibaga gave us the timeless joke that 2 Face never bathes, it is still filled with loads of advice and sound bites that one can live by.
U No Holy Pass can be likened to 2 Face going from Bsc level philosophy to Msc level philosophy. He was going HAM with the words of wisdom. The summation of the song would be fix yourself before you attempt to fix others.
Who will forget the Party Scatterer before party scatter? Keep On Rocking.
Keep On Rocking talks about how when Nigerians are ready to party, nothing can stop them.
In a comical manner that will rival any stand-up comedian, 2 Face and the Natives describe trying to get to a party venue amidst plenty of stumbling blocks. What do they say about stumbling blocks? Turn them to stepping stones.
And if you are wondering how much 2 Face has immersed himself into Lagos Life, listen to Thank U Lord.
2 Face shocked me, shook me, then shocked me again. If you have only listened to the song without the intro, what have you been doing with your life?
First time I heard the intro of the song, I stopped what I was doing, sat down listened to it again, rewind it, and yes, it was back in the days of radio cassette, when rewind still meant rewind.
Okay you caught me. I first heard it on a friend’s phone. But I still rewind it to hear it again. And again. And… I don’t know how many “agains” I need to write before you get the message.
2 Face didn’t just do an intro in Yoruba, He did an Oriki for Eledumare.
Hearing this made me appreciate the song a lot more. At this point, all whats, ifs and buts about 2 Face was wiped out from my mind.
Face 2 Face is a classic. I hope to sit with 2 Baba one day and discuss in detail the creation process for this album.
And can we now talk about the features? First of all, there is Black Face.
Whatever we might all say about the relationship between 2 Face and Black Face over the years, we should know that true love used to live there before. I hope the love is back.
Secondly, where are Da Natives. Those guys denied us comical music that could soothe away the troubles of Nigeria.
Everyone else on the album did a great job. From Beenie Man to Lil Seal and the rest.
Most importantly, a big thank you to Kennis Music for giving us the soundtracks to an Era.
They were at the forefront of the Afro Pop era. At a point, all the biggest acts in the country were either signed or in some way affiliated to Kennis Music.
Who will forget Prime Time Africa and Kennis Music Easter Fiesta? If you don’t know what those are, ask your aunties and uncles.
2 Face and Face 2 Face set the ball rolling and gave us Wande Coal, Wizkid, Mo Hits, Banky W, M.I Abaga, Davido, Tiwa Savage, Teni, and all the boys we have now. Including Fireboy, Joeboy and Burnaboy.
When you see your favorite artists “fanboy” 2 Baba, know that the “Baba” at the end of his name is not decorative. Like a Four-Star general, he earned all four letters of it.
I will always love and respect 2 Baba. And Face 2 Face is an album you should often come back to.