In his sophomore album “Dope” Tabi Bonney comes a bit harder in terms of the production quality, and in some cases his lyrics. Listening to this album I definitely hear more maturity, more mention of Africa and his home town Lome, Togo, and of course, the same amount of party songs about girls, weed and everything in between.
Although this is a more mature album in terms of his lyrics, the messages in his songs are still the same: getting money and making it big in the music industry. The first track on Dope “The Blow” expresses the same kind of hunger that he has for making it in the music industry, “grinding” toward that goal, and more importantly, doing it all himself free from any big time record labels. “I’m a superstar, I don’t need nobody else, where ma latter at? I’ma climb this myself.” It seems as though no one is going to come in between Tabi Bonney and his dreams for further success in music. Along with this hunger, he also has some cockiness to go with his rhymes while giving some mention to his African roots.
“Them Africans is coming up; I should know, I’m one of them. Wale, what up!?” As he has expressed in previous interviews with various music journalists, he shows much respect to artists like Wale that also hale from DC and have African nationality. Although artists like Wale are on heavy rotation at the radio stations and in media in general, this still doesn’t stop Tabi Bonney from speaking his mind and continuing on in the rap game and it doesn’t stop him from, every so often, giving credit when credit is due like he did in the aforementioned lyric from a song entitled Duhh on his sophomore album.
The intended audience for this and other albums that Tabi Bonney has released mainly consists of young adults/teenagers in the DC area. I came to this conclusion based on the music and some of the slang terminology he uses. For example, there is a particular kind of music that is ever popular in the DMV area called Go-Go music. This kind of energetic music contains a mix of typically snare drums, keyboard/organs, and tambourine-like instruments. This genre of music is extremely popular in his work and also within other artist of DC. Furthermore, the use of common colloquial terms that originated in the DC area such as “Bammers, and lunchin’’ are more of a hint that his music on Dope and on other albums are intended for the younger listeners.
As a whole I really appreciated this album collectively. Although Tabi Bonney stirs clear of informative lyrics as far as politics and his own personal African background goes, he does acknowledge the fact he does have roots in Africa and does express his love for his country and his ethnicity.