In an industry where releasing music sequels is a feat credited to the top guns like Salatiel, it goes without saying that rapper Tata is definitely taking a huge bite. On January 13, 2023, he released the second part of his No Holidays EP, five years after the first.
When he released No Holidays in 2017, Tata was a greenhorn, still a new name to the New Bell Music label and to the entire Cameroon music industry.
One hard album, another EP and multiple singles later, he took many by surprise when he announced and eventually released a second part of the No Holidays EP. It is a four-piece project with three featuring Ishaku and a fourth, Tbr Wirngo.
Five Years is a long time and it behoves asking the value question. Was it worth the wait?
To understand the context and depth, it is essential to rewind to the beginning – the first No Holidays EP.
The five song project was Tata introducing himself with his peculiar Limbum (language of the Mbum people) rap. On most of the songs, he addressed the theme of love and working hard to please his lover.
He presented himself as a lover boy with witty bars to entice his woman. If one track stands out on the EP, it should be ‘Ambiance’ ft Reniss.
The song also made it to the New Bell Tropical Vibes playlist.
Fast forward to No Holidays II and we see a very much transformed Tata. While most of the songs on the sequel still deal with love and feelings, Tata presents himself in a whole new way.
He sings of hardcore life and being a badbwoy lover, probably the type that would bring in the calvary if needed. He is no longer the hopeful romantic. He sells the idea of being his own man now calling the shots.
On the third song on the EP, Tata migrates from love and emotions to tell the audience about how good he is musically. He also tells us how hardcore he can be and why he deserves his flowers. Much like rappers would do.
He also extends a hand to rapper, Tbr Wirngo. That, we’ll see later.
Understanding Tata’s progression is key to piecing together the five-year wait. Between this period, he has graduated from the Mbiyeh-Talla boy who came to the city with a bag full of dreams. Today, Tata has been able to explore a deeper and darker wild world of hip-hop.
His most prominent pieces all carry a shade of the brutal bars street hip-hop demands. Remember ‘Run mop’, ‘Ndaleh’, ‘Banekeh’?
This too can partly be traced to the numerous fights the New Bell Music label has had to engage in over the years. In his latest project, Trap Tap Flow, Tata even addressed how he treats beef thrown at him by opposing forces. (They send me beef I package am send am for La Mirage)
It can also be argued that Tata’s progression to the relatively dark corners of the rap room, has been part of his mission to prove himself. Whatever the motives, he definitely did it.
No Holidays II- The Project
The first two songs, ‘Decide’, and ‘gum body’ have Tata and Ishaku professing love and its captivating properties.
The first track, ‘Decide’ has Ishaku urging a lady to make up her mind after he has approached her. He goes on to paint himself as a provider and comfort-giver for her.
Tata on his bars brings the raw lines, citing the depths to which he and his partner have gone to please each other – the chords of blood and sweat sealing their union.
On ‘Gum Body’ he talks about taking a girl of his choosing back home to mom. Proud of her as his wife, and mother of his child, Tata says they’ll blend like rice and stew.
You see the progression?
On ‘let them know’ the vibe switches up and both men boast of how good they are with. Tata refers to himself as the Limbum flow GOAT, dependable like Fai Collins.
He also sends shots to other rappers who feel they have attained the peak: “bring your top five, I mess them up!!”
Prior to the EP release, Tata had been throwing shots into the dark and even mentioned that he had enemies because of his affiliation to Jovi. Who could they be? We are dying to see the list.
‘Mahdi’ is the last track on the EP and a link to motherland. With most of the song in Limbum, both artistes have fun on the beat.
Contrary to what many would expect from two hard rappers on the beat, it was not an attempt to outro each other. It was just two cool guys chilling and making music. For the culture.
The song is also a demonstration of Tata’s efforts to raise others, like Jovi did him. He has been working on his Lunga Sound and now we see it is very much coming alive. And yes, he’s not scared to raise another rapper who might some day be his competition.
The seeds sowed by his mentor Jovi, are still very much alive: fear no competition cos you are good.
Ishaku’s hooks remain sublime and his delivery cannot go unnoticed. He and Tata have been a formidable pair and apparently, it promises to get better. Wonder why they call him lover boy?
The New Bell trajectory
The downside to this formidable EP project however, is the fact that it lacks traces of commercial capacity. The current hip-hop trends have artistes experimenting with and pinching off other genres including amapiano and afrobeats.
The primary aim is for commercial purposes, given that those are the trending genres. On the up side, New Bell Music has been known for sticking to its script and not going with the sway. It is a New Bell thing.
A second ‘issue’ with the project, is the messages. While it doesn’t contain as many dark references as other Tata projects, you would agree that any parent would cringe having their 11 or 12-year-old ask them to interprete some of his bars.
While we can’t stop having music with censored content, what we can do is establish clearer boundaries to ensure our kids consume mentally healthy and sound content.
But that too is not happening anytime soon. The new media is not making matters any better. If Boom and Trace don’t display near-naked ladies all day, streaming platforms would still give ‘underaged’ kids access to explicit content.
These are definitely tough times for anyone parenting. And of course, happy times for Tata and for Cameroon rap fans.
Favorite song: ‘let them know’