Ayra Starr and Tems released their new albums, “The Year I Turned 21” and “Born in the Wild”, in the last two weeks and have since dominated most conversations in the Nigerian music scene.

Inching close to being the hottest Afrobeats artists of 2024 (so far), their new albums are meant to offer something rewarding. Here are nine subtle lessons that listeners draw from their long-awaited albums.

Dodging bad energy is serious work

You can’t avoid bad-belle people entirely. The only way to become a no-nonsense pro max is intentionally and consistently telling them off like Ayra Starr and Tems did on their new albums (“The Year I Turned 21” and “Born in the Wild”). From Ayra’s Birds Sing of Money, Goodbye and Bad Vibes songs to Tems’ Wickedest and Unfortunate, they set a big “fuck you” tone for bad energy dealers. 

Rollout is MOTHER!

Your business service is a product, and to attract target users and customers, you need engaging content that not only attracts but also gets them talking. That’s what Ayra Starr and Tems did. They were in everyone’s faces. Ayra’s album appeared on Chowdeck and some Nigerian bank apps, and users were urged to listen. Tems put out announcement visuals and even threw a party for music listeners and industry players a day before her album release. These babes put their new albums on everyone’s lips.

Good kids make happy parents

Ayra’s and Tems’ mums appeared on their albums to contribute to their process and album narratives and motivate them. These emotional features prove that parental support is just as crucial as making parents proud.

Always enjoy yourself

You don’t have to be told this, but you need a reminder to enjoy what you work hard for and have a good time sometimes. Somebody play Ayra’s Commas, Control, Jazzy’s Song and Tems’ Wickedest, Turn Me Up and T-Unit and turn the fuck up.

Never leave your squad behind

Carrying all your real ones with you (including sharing opportunities) shows that you value your friendship and are proud of it. This is how Ayra Starr feels in Woman Commando.

Women are the biggest gangstas

On Bird Sings of Money, Ayra says her past experiences have toughened her up in the trait of a gangster. She even made Woman Commando, and Tems made Gangsta. When the other gender is back on top, you’ll get the memo or not. For now, new lords are in town.

Never hesitate to throw toxic lovers away

Don’t wait for your toxic partners to fly their red flags before you throw them out like bath water. You better get necessary updates from Tems’ Unfortunate and Ayra Starr’s Goodbye (Warm Up).

You’re your biggest motivator

It’s okay to be sad or cry. But when a horse knocks you to dust, pick yourself up and push yourself to be better until you can ride it with a flex like Ayra on Last Heartbreak Song and 1942 and Tems on Burning and Hold On.

Forever be a dream chaser.

Ayra wanted to be a pop star before 16, but it only happened when she turned 19. Now she’s 21 and global. Tems had a 9-5 for a while but didn’t let her music dream die.

Album Review: Tems Finds Optimism After the Wild



Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.