Tyson Noir’s “Can I” is afropop run through with strains of 90’s R&B

Noir shuttles between genres to perfection on his latest release.

Tosin Oki, or Tyson Noir has been in the Nigerian music industry for a minute. With a well received EP put out in 2015 and a handful of singles since then, Oki has managed to stay on the fringes of the New Age music movement while remaining relevant in the industry, even performing at the King Sunny Ade 70th birthday tribute concert in 2016. The singer has just put out his first single of 2017, “Can I” and it couldn’t be sooner.

Tyson changes genres again, this time looking towards the now distinct sounds of classic 90’s R&B for inspiration for the new sound. There is a flush of saxophones solos and adlibs, heavy electronic sounding bass beats and a vocoder is used to fray the edges of Tyson Noir’s very distinct voice, as he sings about consent and politely seducing a potential lover and the chase of wooing her. Vocally this is the best we’ve heard from Tyson, his delivery is crisp, his songwriting is less cluttered than in previous efforts and stripped down instrumental allows his vocal work remain the focus of the song.

And I can’t help but come back to the saxophonist and the magic he brings to the song. The solo saxophone was a huge trope of the 90’s with instrumentalists like Kenny G and Yanni gaining crossover popularity from it. Many older music lovers will glom onto “Can I” because of this, and that, any way you slice it, is a good move.

Listen to “Can I” here.

All the essentials from Ycee’s ‘first wave’ EP