One of my favorite records at the moment is Tiwa Savage and WizKid’s “Bad.” Tiwa Savage is an incredibly talented Nigerian singer-songwriter, one of the biggest stars in West Africa if not Africa in toto (no Toto). She’s done writing for American artists (check out her demo version of Fantasia’s classic “Collard Greens & Cornbread”—how interesting this concept came from an artist not raised in the American South?) and is responsible for my favorite (at worst, 3rd favorite) recent afropop song, “Eminado” (it translates roughly to “lucky charm”). Perhaps in part due to her experience writing for Western audiences, I notice her records seem a bit more…traditionally Pop, in the American sense, than songs by even WizKid or Davido. As Tyrone Palmer (formerly of this blog) put it to me, a song like “Love Me x3” isn’t that far off from the kind of record you might hear on a Rihanna album.
I don’t love “Bad” quite as much as her appearance on Korede Bello’s impeccable Don Jazzy-produced “Romantic”—that song barely needs a tap to take off in the States, IMO. But I decided to post “Bad” because I’d like to hear some theories on the chorus, which is obviously “Badder than bad, you know” and not …the other thing it sounds like (“Better than…”). Right? Is this an inadvertent cross-cultural LOL, or an artistic double-entendre? I wish I could respectfully put it down to my head being “in the gutter” but once I heard it that way, I couldn’t un-hear it, like the beating of the hideous heart. Let your voice be heard in the comments.