“I’m from DC!! I-I’m from DC”
This is the line that can be heard throughout the album A Fly Guy’s Theme (2006) by Lome Togo native Tabi Bonney. However, a casual listener of this album would never know that he is indeed from the continent of Africa based on his songs and the colloquial regional terms his uses in his lyrics such as “bammer, Joe, lunchin” etc. Fly Guy is filled with mediocre (at best) lyrics and mundane melodies and beats. Granted this is his first real album under a major record label, but one would think that his ancestry would be more evident and allow him to speak about more substantial things other than scantily clad women, cars, clothes and attaining material wealth that a majority of rappers so eagerly and ambitiously try and obtain.
The 12-track album glorifies the aforementioned concept of wealth, with subtle lines that encourages his young fans that they too can achieve “success” if they put their minds to it. The opening song “On It” speaks of his own adolescence, how he once idolized famous rapper Big Daddy Kane, and how he now is living out his dreams and grinding towards getting to where he wants to be. Although most of the songs on the album speak of childhood dreams and being better than his competition in the industry, he fails to mention his upbringing, being African, or the struggles one might face being an African immigrant. He casually mentions his home town, Lome, in the song “On It” in which he expresses, “You wanna go to Lome? I’ll fly you there” however after this rather ineffective and showy line, there is no other mention of his homeland. There is absolutely no representation of African people, traditions, or politics in his initial work and to the untrained eye it would seem as through Bonney was just your average Washington DC artist.
“Yeah, she hot, but I ain’t paying her bills. A pair of Reebox aint even in the deal maybe a pair of knee socks and a BC pill. Told her meet me at the top when I got my deal.” The song “Tick….Tick..” is one more song full of lyrics expressing Bonney’s ever-present tunnel vision when it comes to making it big in the rap game. Like other rappers, Tabi Bonney tends to makes mockery’s out of women, criticizes other artists in the industry claiming that no one does it better than he does, and continues to press forward in efforts that he will be seen at the “Top” as the last track on Fly Guy suggests. There are positives, though very few, to some of the lyrics that were cultivated to form this album. For example in the song “Top” Bonney speaks about being successful in the music industry and giving back to 3rd world countries, although he doesn’t specify exactly which 3rd world country he was referring to. “I wanna hit the 3rd world with another budget, and tell my brother and sister ‘man, it’s on me!” There seems to be some importance to him of his family and giving back, although that urgency is seen so late in his album that it can be argued that giving back isn’t on the top of his list of things to do when his career reaches its climax.
A Fly Guy’s Theme, really disappointed me. I was looking forward to listening to an album with meaningful lyrics, creative and witty punch lines, and stylish producing. Instead, Fly Guy offered elementary lyrics, not so clever punch lines, and melodies I hoped ended sooner than the allotted 4 minutes of the song. Hopefully in the future there is an improvement on the thematic and lyrical structures of Tabi Bonney’s work. But so far, I am NOT a fan.