What does it mean to be born in the wild?

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To be "Born in the Wild" signifies a life forged in untamed, challenging environments, devoid of conventional guidance or protection. It speaks to a raw, unfiltered upbringing, characterized by self-reliance and an innate connection to one's surroundings. For Temilade Openiyi, the Grammy-winning Nigerian Afrobeats star popularly known as Tems, this phrase encapsulates her journey of self-discovery and empowerment, as depicted in her new album's opener, "Born in the Wild."

In this review, we highlight 10 of our favorite tracks from Tems' exceptional 18-track debut album in no particular order.

         1. Born in the Wild

The album opener, "Born in the Wild," tells a story of Tems' self-discovery. With lyrics like, "Born in the wild, born in the wild / I grew up in the wilderness / Didn't know much about openness," Tems reflects on her upbringing and her journey to finding her feet and empowerment. This first track gives a prelude to the rest of the album, showcasing Tems with no limitations, basking in the excellence that she is.

          2. Special Baby (Interlude)

The second track, an interlude voiced by Tem’s mum, adds a layer of vulnerability to the album. Tems' mum talks to her doubtful daughter, reassuring her that she is deserving of all the success that has come her way. Her mom mentions people questioning her talent and success: "They can't understand it," she says, reassuring Tems that despite all the external noise, her talent, impact, and potential are undeniable as the results show. This interlude serves as a reminder of the importance of the support of loved ones and keeping the external noise at bay.

          3. Burning

"Burning," the third track on the album, takes a sharp turn from the previous track as we hear Tems' soothing voice exploring some of the downsides of fame and success she struggles with. Tems grapples with the emotional toll of being in the spotlight, questioning if the dream is worth the constant pressure and scrutiny: "Will I stay or will I leave?" She goes ahead to warn about the industry's games, and echoes "burning" through the song, signifying that everyone in this industry seems to be conscious of the fact the industry is messed up: "Guess we're all burning."

          4. Wickedest

"Wickedest," the fourth track off the album, comes in hard! This is an easy Afrobeats anthem for the gal dem, sampling Magic System's "1er Gaou." Tems exudes confidence on this track, shedding the vulnerability from previous tracks. She stands on business, letting us know she is aware of who she is—the best to ever do it—and she gives the gals an anthem while at it.

           5. Love Me Jeje

The fifth track, "Love Me Jeje," is the first single off her album that we already know and love. It features an interpolation of Seyi Sodimu’s "Love Me Jeje," a classic Nigerian song released in 1999. This sweet and soulful song turns us up like NEPA.

           6. Get It Right (feat. Mr. Money)

Tems features Asake, Mr. Money on the sixth track, "Get It Right." The duet came with vibes on vibes on this club banger. We can say they got it right with this feature—pun intended.

            7. Unfortunate

Track nine, "Unfortunate," is a triumphant melody about leaving behind a manipulative relationship. Tems confronts her partner with a history of "dirty plans," with no girl ever making it back, and failed reconciliations. Despite the emotional depth of the situation, Tems finds strength and declares her partner's misfortune as her own good luck, as it makes it easier for her to leave the relationship and get the love she truly deserves: "Maybe it's fortunate you're unfortunate."

           8. Free Fall (feat. J. Cole)

J.Cole seems to be back in form on this collab, as he drops bars on this ode about falling hopelessly in love only to end up heartbroken, Cole delivers one of his best verses with outstanding wordplay “Toxic, who would’ve thought what’s comin’ was a plot twist/ Soon as you let mе in, you start huntin’ for the locksmith/ Now the key I oncе had to your heart does not fit/ I got three choices, batter your door or lock-pick/ Or walk away confused at your logic,” he raps. Tems Angelic vocals on this classic is what you would expect - tender and soulful.

           9. T unit

A playful nod to 50 Cent’s “Candy Shop,” this track is easily top 5 for us (and it is not no. 5). We don’t see Tems rapping so often, and damn, is she spitting. The Rebel Gang Leader unleashes her inner-rapper with this high-energy anthem brimming with self-confidence and celebrating her hard-earned success. Watch your back, Odomodu Blvck—you have some serious competition.

          10. Hold On

Tems ends her album with this masterpiece, reminding us of who she is again, Temilade Openiyi is unmatched when it comes to vocals - one pea in one pod. This song emphasizes growth, self-acceptance, and inner strength. Tems encourages listeners facing various challenges to find their voice, embrace self-belief, and hold on because the hope and fulfillment they seek is within them, waiting to be discovered.

Born in the Wild is definitely one for the books and we are not having enough of this album anytime soon, but don’t just take our word for it, Stream it now!