LAGOS’ AFRO-FUSION STAR TIM LYRE RELEASES HIS HIGHLY ANTICIPATED PROJECT, ‘MASTA’
Singer, songwriter, producer, multi-instrumentalist, there’s a lot that Tim Lyre does well. As he proved on his 2022 offering ‘Worry <’, one of these things is creating an excellent body of work.
On ‘MASTA’, Tim Lyre travels between Hip-Hop, Dancehall, Amapiano and Afrobeats, showcasing his vast versatility over the eight tracks.
The project begins with his most recent single, ‘Why Evils’, featuring fellow Nigerian artist Tay Iwar. This track kicks things off with catchy melodies and luxurious instrumentation. An R&B quality is given through the vocal performances of both artists, and the laidback drums on which they provide them. “I just need a moment to collect my thoughts” lingers in the mind after listening, a relatable sentiment expressed with delightful delivery.
‘Running Over’ follows, showing off Lyre’s ability on the mic. Here we see skippy flows alongside more boastful lyricism. The chorus retains Lyre’s more signature vocal prowess, with a catchy hook merging with bouncy drums in the instrumental. ‘MASTA’ found its inception in London, and ‘Running Over’ is a song where this is particularly apparent.
Speaking of London, the title track appears next, with a feature from London-native Jords. The vibes are strong on this one, it strikes as a track that will be excellent in a live setting. Jords delivers an exquisite verse, matching the energy provided by Tim lyre perfectly. This one stands out as one of the highest points on the project.
It brings us into, ‘Skyline’, a short-but-sweet, hip-hop influenced offering. The drums possess a trap quality, with heavy 808s and swirling melodies combining wonderfully. Production credit goes to both Tim Lyre and Ronehi, who executed this style very effectively.
‘Chasing Wind’ provides a new sound in the project thus far. Live drums are merged with lovely, bright guitar plucks. Lyre enters with a softly delivered melody that is sweet on the ears. The metaphor of ‘Chasing Wind’ serves as a poetic sentiment. He delves into a more impassioned delivery in the second verse, before returning to the melodic hook. Lyre’s vocal delivery, combined with his lyrics and production, result in a radiant expression. Also, well-worth sticking around for is the guitar section in the outro; a fantastic ending.
Next, we have ‘Confess’, the first single from this project to be released, back in 2022. It begins with enchanting saxophone, which is joined by drums, and then Lyre embarking on his verse. The theme of confession is highly compelling. The idea of yearning to get something off your chest is explored, and in that we see some of the best lyricism of the whole tape.
‘Tighter’, featuring fellow Nigerian Minz, is the penultimate song of the project. Here we have a sultry offering, with both artists providing a tale of love, joy and sensuality. Rising star Minz gives a wonderful contribution, with them possessing a compelling dynamic as a duo. This is an exceptional Afrobeats jam that will slot nicely into a wide array of playlists.
And with that, we arrive at the final track, ‘Mood’. Swelling synths and dazzling guitar plucks shimmer over a bed of funky percussion. A spirited number with a catchy hook, Lyre discusses a captivation of a significant other. Then with the final feature of the project, South African singer Khanyisa contributes a heavenly verse, beginning over a stripped back section of instrumental. ‘Mood’ serves as a fantastic ending to a project containing some of Tim Lyre’s best work to date.
The Nigerian artist has connected over his 8-tracks, whilst spanning different genres, moods and vocal styles. Tim Lyre is one of the finest acts currently creating in the Alté movement, and his work deserves its spotlight. Over the several times I’ve listened through this project, I found myself gaining a deeper appreciation for the individual songs each time.
As well as recognising the way they fit together as part of this collection. ‘MASTA’ is a terrific project, cementing Tim Lyre as an artist who is well worth your time and attention.
Words by: Matt Sharp