Analysing a Drake song in a 2020 article on RollingStone, Charles Holmes said “Every artist gets to a point in their career cycle where the audience becomes too aware. We know what to expect, because we have hours upon hours of music to train our internal algorithm.”
Even the visuals for “Laugh Now Cry Later” song, Holmes insisted, feel like an unending déjà vu scenario. This too has often been said of Cameroonian singer, Tzy panchak who has for the past years, been one of the most appreciated Anglophone singers.
Over the past year or two, many have cited Tzy’s works as containing very similar lyrics as well as song patterns and chorus delivery. Is he nearing the end of the line? Is his creativity well running dry?
While the clime under which Drake operates is not the same as Tzy’s, it doesn’t hurt to pull off a few lessons. When sizing up the performance of Toronto rapper, Drake, in 2020, Holmes concluded that it was obvious we’ll one day know all the rapper’s punchlines. Granted. But today, Drake remains pronounced, still topping the charts and dishing out renewed works from an apparently unending collection.
Was it obvious we will one day get bored of hearing Tzy’s choruses? Of course. But does that end a career or fade out his relevance? It should not.
While as a fan it would be logical to move on to the new kid(s) on the block and keep getting entertained, the artist remains a business and must evolve.
Evolution does not exclude being daring and bold. We have seen Tzy unite multiple new artists on projects and we have seen him do choruses that have pulled tears down our cheeks. But we have not seen him use his art to spark the debate over the conservation of culture and the use of its facets. Well, not until the ‘self-made’ (dans les bruits) video released few months ago.
Like its title, the song definitely did make noise. And while the merits and demerits of this noise are in themselves a whole other conversation, the fact that they were brought to life from almost nothing [a bottle of belaire, a camera and clueless(?) vixens] sets another precedence for the Blue nation soldier. It was like an exercise that demonstrated his off-stage prowess and ability to influence social discourse on a grand level.
A vital step of the artist’s evolution, lies in the reception of critique of the work they put out. When Tzy came under fire for the controversial portion clip, the initial response from his team was the Cameroon standard – silence. For many hours, they let the media shape what the narrative was and appeared to ignore the voice of reason.
When they finally woke up from the slumber, it was chaos, smoking guns and canons. I still can’t believe in all that, no one said to another: ‘you will hear from my lawyer’. In meta parlance, it was gbas gbos. They probably took to Cleo Grae’s advice: You can’t be standing this tall if you scared of heights.
Even without the argument of sound repetition as well as the masquerade gaffe, the Belaire song was almost certain to arouse a conversation. It depicts a brasher and arrogant side of the artist, one which until now had been relegated to his social media outings. But it is the magnitude that witnessed a rise in epic proportions.
For the moment, Belaire particles from his multimillion deal are still flying in the air. What becomes of the music and how do we listen to it when the particles settle?
Prior to all the drama, Tzy had always expressed belief in his own greatness. But the words never sparked as much dialogue and debate as his art did recently. If anything, the indicator remains that the art should speak more. There remains a piece of the Tzy puzzle audiences are yet to solve and it would be in his advantage to put it to use.
Tzy started off his career singing for change and supporting social causes. Eseka train accident, Anglophone crisis and a few love stories here and there… He was known and supported for being the soft side of the industry at a time when everyone wanted to sing about how many girls they could lay in a night or how many millions they had lying in their accounts.
To listen to a new Tzy song today, fans have to readjust expectations and lay bare their minds to be able to absorb the words he sings. Parents too would have to find ways to tell their underaged kids why listening to a new song from the ‘family’ artist might not be a very great idea.
‘Self-made’ has set a precedence and I can’t wait to hear what follows when the belaire hype finally goes to rest. Content here, content there, content everywhere.