The Shuffle: Bibi Mascel’s “Special Lady” is a reminder of Nigerian music’s precious past

The song that inspired Tyler, the creator's new single, "I THINK"

Two weeks ago, Nigerian-American superstar, Tyler, the Creator released the music video for “I THINK”, a standout cut off his critically acclaimed LP, ‘IGOR’. Like most of the songs on Tyler’s latest album, “I THINK” is a sample-based song which the rapper lends from the energetic “Special Lady” by Nigerian singer Bibi Mascel.

Released in 1982, “Special Lady” is a reflection of the Disco craze that dominated popular music at the time. Funky guitar riffs, hand-claps and bombastic synths set the high octane groove for Bibi’s helium-pitched vocals to stride across, as he describes falling in love for the first time after finally meeting “the one”.

For “I THINK”, Tyler heavily relies on the heavy drums from “Special Lady”, as well as its melody and central text —“I think I’m falling in love, this time I think it’s for real”.

In the comment section of the YouTube page for “Special Lady”, almost every listener points to Tyler’s sample work as their introduction to Bibi Mascel’s song. A quick google search for the artist himself reveals next to no information beyond this song, which shows how lack of preservation of history has harpened upon proper appreciation of Nigerian music history.

The good thing is though, that younger Nigerians are interested in preserving and documenting our past – the entire premise of our weekly update, and audiovisual exhibition from earlier this year. By virtue of his latest single, Tyler, the Creator—born to a Nigerian father, no less—has unknowingly added a piece of context to the puzzle, and we’re glad to have discovered this.

With its vivid influence on Tyler’s summery bop, Bibi Mascel’s “Special Lady” is a reminder that Nigerian music has always slapped, and its past should be treated as a preciously as the present is.

Listen to “Special Lady” here.

Featured Image Credits: YouTube/NigeriaFunk

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Dennis is not an interesting person. Tweet Your Favourite Playboi Carti Songs at him @dennisadepeter