16 wives is the third studio album of Cameroonian rapper/producer, Jove Le Monstre. It was released on February 16 2017 under his New Bell Music Label.
Five years after its release, the album remains iconic. Since its release, Jovi has put out one more album, 10 EPs and recently, a mix tape. Yet, 16 wives never gets out of the picture.
One of the reasons Jovi’s 16 wives album remains iconic is his tone and choice of music in the package. Unlike in previous works, he went soft and meek. Nchanji M. Njamnsi was right when he said seeking tenderness in Jovi’s previous works was like fishing for a needle in a haystack.
On 16 wives album, it changed with most of the songs.
On ‘free music’, Jovi laid bare his love insecurities and expressed the desire to be free from the shackles of love. Tough guys get hurt too right?
‘Man pass man 3’ addresses his challenges and the vow he made to remain kinging. The song is a sequel to ‘Man pass man’, and ‘man pass man 2’.
On ‘Tchana Pierre’, he declares himself the new Tchana Pierre and goes on to prove it with his lyrical prowess.
When you think you have bled out your heart, song number 9 on the album, ‘No man’ proves otherwise. Here, Jovi talks about how everyone abandoned him at the most intense part of the journey and now, they all want the glory when it’s done.
‘Slave ships’ cites the glorification of ‘bush fallers’ [migrants] due to the hardship back home. It also mentions that many are willing to go through unimaginable risks just to go abroad because of the mentality. After all, ‘slave for dey hold am pass chief for here’.
Another 16 wives song that cannot escape this list, is ‘Chubaka’. Le Monstre kicks off with a shout out to his team, then goes on to address his manner of dealing with disrespect and the only type of apology he receives. He also gives a big up to Pascal. It is on ‘Chubaka’ that Jovi declares that rap music in Cameroon is for the passion and not the figures. A passionate hook too does the piece justice.
Like ‘Tchana Pierre’, the song ‘Tom Yoms’ is another one for the legends. Though Jovi goes so hard on the verses, the song remains on the list, as the hook sample is enough to making you weep on a hard day. He also gives a shout out to the legendary Dinga Man. Who could miss that?
Jovi has through his art asserted dominance as the Mboko God. On ‘Why God’ however, he looks up to a more supreme being for his sustenance and successes. He poses a series or rhetoric questions about God’s choice of country for him, and why he keeps shining despite the hurdles. His awesome melange of the French, Pidgin and English languages make the icing on the cake.
Then he ends the album with ‘mad love hospital bills’ [a personal favourite] where he mourns the death of his lover or girlfriend. Attributing it to societal ills and the restraints of religious practices, all his efforts to save her life proved futile. Jovi on the song hits hard at those trading fake drugs, unsanctioned and crude abortions, exorbitant hospital expenditures and the denial of blood transfusion for religious reasons. ‘For die cheap than for remain alive’.
One time for our loved ones gone ahead of us. 🙏🏾
So, what next? Something new.
“I’m always new that’s how they recognise me…” – Jovi [very badly, YVAMS, 2021].
– Giyo Ndzi