I was inside a bus, ears plugged in and generally minding my business when a random song popped in, courtesy of a random playlist on Apple music. Naturally, the first instinct was to skip to the next song, but Thank God —  or whatever you believe in — I didn’t do that. By the end of the second verse, I knew I had found a new anthem; one that filled me with a particular sense of liberation. I don’t know what exactly Tems was thinking when she wrote and performed “Try me”, but if I would guess, it was her middle-finger gesture to something or someone. And now, it is that exact thing to me. 

By the end of my bus ride, I felt like I’d been thrown into some sort of superhero movie. 

Since I discovered the song in the middle of Lagos road and traffic, I’ve thought about how this song could get me through all I hated about the road and its elements.

Lagos Conductors, Someone is Ready to match your Craziness

We all know for a fact that the angel in charge of home training conveniently missed Lagos conductors when he was dishing the virtue out. And what did we get because of that? Daily doses of uncouthness. I could live with regular verbal onslaught, but we have to draw a line when my money is kind of involved. And boy, do they like to take your change if the chance pops up.

Well, guess what? Since I heard “Try Me”, that #50 I would normally let go of when they pair me with a random stranger during Monday rush hour is mine to fight for. And in the midst of this, if the conductor feels like he’s the street designated verbal merchant, I now have an armory of words at my disposal to unleash. I always thought that I was not made for the craziness in this city, but with the lyrics of this song wafting in my head, maybe I stand a chance. We die here!

Bike Riders, A New Speed Enthusiast Has Joined The Race

Oh boy, how much I used to hate situations where I’ve got no choice but to jump a bike. Those guys love their speed, don’t they? For some reason, your “Kanda kanda” or “small-small, Oga” only feeds their thirst to get more distance between them and the next vehicle. What do bad roads and the death traps in them mean to them?

But maybe I don’t need to worry about that anymore. Nothing has happened so far, has it? Maybe all I need now is to plug my ears, turn the volume up and enjoy the trip I paid for? I am the Ganja, they are the lighter.

Traffic, You Can’t Break Me Now!

For the longest time, this city’s traffic has filled me up with the deepest sense of despair. I mean, what could be crazier than spending the equivalent of your whole trip on a spot?

But why do I bother, really? It’s crazy that I needed a song to tell me that. I broke out of my chains, guys; I broke out of my chains.

I don’t know if you have listened to “Try me” or how it works for you. But it works for me perfectly. It’s like I have discovered traffic in this city in a whole new light. And if that is not freedom, I don’t know what else I can call it.

Maybe I would go back to the old me if my encounter with a conductor hits the roof, or if my new need for speed gives me a scar, or if my new found love for Lagos traffic makes me so comfortable that I miss out on some important appointment. But for now, let me just revel in my new found freedom. I can’t let anything try me now.



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