Posted in Diaspora, Togo

Tabi Bonney Album Review – “The Summer Years”

This album is very diverse in its cuts, mostly due to the various other artists Tabi has collaborated with.  There is nothing that I heard that relates to immigration. In my opinion immigration may not be central to his lyrics because he attended High School in Washington D.C., and does not necessarily connect strongly with the immigration experience.   The song “Material Girls” has a strong European techno sound, and there is more French spoken than on his previous albums; he refers to his home as a ‘chateau’.  Even though Tabi does not speak about the immigration experience in his lyrics, his album reflects the influence of his early life in Togo, which was heavily influenced by the French.  On  ”Hello and Goodnight”, Tabi’s father, Itadi Bonney, speaks French in the background, and the song has a more old school reggae sound.  In the song “Big Dreams”, that has a big band feel,  Tabi refers to himself as having ‘exotic pedigree’, which more than likely refers to his African heritage, it also includes some French, ‘au revoir’.   Tabi’s collaboration with Matt Berlis, who plays the piano, makes the song “Chasing” unique.  In this song Tabi sings that he is an outsider and wants the city he is from to say ‘I miss you’, however, it is difficult to conclude that he is referring to Togo or Washington DC., but since Tabi has been living in DC, the reference could possibly be that he wants Togo to feel he is a favorite son.  On this album Tabi mentions a few different African Americans when providing examples of success; MJ  (Michael Jordan),  Michel Jackson, Dru Hill (an R & B group).  “Hip Hop and Love” has a jazz sound piano, mixed with the clapping rhythmic percussion and big bass, is a big contrast with “Beautiful Lover” that has the background chorus, and strong bass beats with string instruments.

This in my opinion this album really reflects how much Tabi has grown as a musician;  he stepped out of his hip-hop genre on many of the cuts.  Tabi’s diverse approach on this album is appealing to me.

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