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Reviewing Tem’s First Album ‘Born In The Wild’: A Journey Through Soulful Sounds

Reviewing Tem’s First Album ‘Born In The Wild’: A Journey Through Soulful Sounds


After tantalizing fans with captivating singles like “Mr. Rebel” and remarkable collaborations with the likes of Wizkid, Future, and Drake, Nigerian songstress Tems unleashed her highly anticipated debut album, “Born in the Wild” on June 7. This isn’t a collection of tamed pop anthems as the title suggests. No. Rather, it is a sprawling sonic safari, showcasing Tems’ raw talent and genre-bending prowess. Early reviews are pouring in, and critics are raving about the album, praising its smoky textures, mesmerizing vocals, and fearless exploration of sound.

A genre-bending masterpiece: Tems takes control of her narrative

“Born in the wild is a smooth ride through hazy, brooding songs crafted in her signature Afrobeats sound,” writes Yahoo! Lifestyle, highlighting Tems’ unique style that has been captivating audiences since her breakout hit “Try Me.” This signature sound is evident in tracks like “Higher” and “Free Millennium,” where pulsating bass lines and rhythmic percussion weave a foundation for Tems’ sultry vocals.

Tems- Born in the wild
Photo: @temsbaby/Instagram

But for those expecting a strictly Afrobeats affair, “Born in the Wild” throws delightful curveballs. Tracks like “Found” flirt with soulful R&B sensibilities, while “Lean into My Heart” dips its toes into dreamier, atmospheric territory. This genre-hopping is more than just experimentation; it exemplifies Tems’ artistic vision and refusal to be constrained by genre convention.

This artistic freedom allows the Grammy winner to explore a wide range of emotions. “Burning” traverses the complexities of fame with a sweetly plaintive innocence,” according to Yahoo! Lifestyle, showcasing Tems’ ability to weave vulnerability into her music. The song’s lyrics hint at the pressures of sudden recognition, with lines like “Everybody wants a piece of the fire.” However, the underlying tone remains hopeful, suggesting a journey of navigating fame while staying true to oneself.

Confessions of a rising star: Vulnerability and introspection take center stage

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While the album delves into the heady world of a burgeoning pop star, “Born in the Wild” ultimately feels grounded. Tracks like the reflective “Voices in My Head” reveal a yearning for genuine connection, with internal struggles laid bare through lyrics like “Too many voices, too many choices / Talking loud, making all this noise.” This vulnerability is a recurring theme throughout the album. In “Get It Right,” Tems croons, You know I keep it steady,” but the smoky soundscape and melancholic melody hint at a deeper emotional complexity beneath the calm exterior. This interplay between confidence and vulnerability makes the album relatable, allowing listeners to connect with Tems’ journey on a personal level.

It’s also refreshing to see a female artist take control of the narrative in the often male-dominated world of Afrobeats. Tracks like “The Key” and “Isioma” address themes of female empowerment and self-worth. In “The Key,” Tems sings, “I got the key to my own heart / Unlock the door and let the sunshine in,” a powerful declaration of self-ownership and resilience. This resonates, especially with young women seeking role models who challenge societal norms and rewrite their stories.

Early collaborations and influences: The Road to “Born in the Wild”

Photo: @temsbaby/Instagram

Tems’ artistic journey didn’t begin with this debut album. Born Temilade Openiyi in Lagos, Nigeria, she began writing music at a young age, honing her craft and finding inspiration from a diverse range of artists. From the soulful melodies of Lauryn Hill to the genre-bending sounds of Fela Kuti, Tems absorbed influences that would later shape her unique sound.

Her early collaborations played a pivotal role in her development as an artist. Working alongside established names like Wizkid, Rihanna, and Drake exposed her to a wider audience and honed her ability to navigate different musical styles. These collaborations weren’t simply features; they were artistic dialogues that allowed Tems to refine her voice.

The future of Afrobeats: Tems leads a new generation

Photo: @temsbaby/Instagram

Tems’ arrival marks a significant moment in the evolution of Afrobeats. The genre, once dominated by a specific sound, is now undergoing a transformation, embracing diverse influences and pushing creative boundaries. With “Born in the Wild,” Tems stands at the forefront of this movement. She isn’t afraid to experiment with electronic elements, R&B textures, and alternative sounds, all while staying true to the rhythmic pulse of Afrobeats. This ability to blend genres seamlessly creates a sound that’s fresh, exciting, and undeniably global.

Tems’ influence extends beyond music. She has become a style icon, her fashion choices reflecting her artistic confidence and individuality. As she continues to evolve and push boundaries, one thing is certain: the world is waiting with bated breath to see what Tems does next. 

Listen to Born in the Wild here

Featured image: ADRIENNE RAQUEL via @temsbaby/Instagram 

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