Timbo: Give him his flowers
In this current time, it could be argued that many UK music fans have been in an entanglement with one of the most creative sounds to bless the UK, Afro-Swing. The genre is a concoction of renowned genres: Afro-Beats & Dancehall (also known as Bashment). The execution of songs contains a highly identifiable African twang to them, with many being accompanied by distinctive Caribbean chords. The contrasting opinions on who the real pioneer of Afro-Swing is known to all, with one artist that, although does get credit, should be congratulated more – Timbo STP.
The self-proclaimed, “Mr Show you how the ting go,” or commonly known, “Mr Eyelele,” shot to the forefront in the 2010s, introducing us to a brand new sound that was instantly infectious. On the face of it, when influenced, you tend to pay homage to the source somehow, and with the organic African sound covered, the next step was to implement the use of Patois, the dialect that remains soaked in the U.K’s dictionary of urban slang. A healthy addition that brought communities of the Black British diaspora together.
The movement began in 2013 after we all witnessed the infamous freestyle that involved himself, along with Sneakbo, Sho Shallow, Ragoe, Cass and Mitch (STP: stack that paper – struggle to proceed).
The melodic vocals that he showcased were the beginning of the now, industry-cemented sound. The heights that were reached by him were nice to witness, but many fans like myself were stunned at his or a hierarchy decision to not pursue the possibility of signing a professional deal. Even though, it’s unfortunate that it didn’t materialise as it may have increased his development as an artist Ironically, the current climate is now producing a wave of Afro-Swing artists that are in high demand, with multiple labels now capitalising on the popular sound. It is very unfortunate that the once king of the palace has to watch it get a refurbishment and taken to new levels, but I guess that is how the game goes at times.
Timbo was an artist that wasn’t afraid to break the mould of rappers that only do that, offering something that both, Men and Women could vibe to. Not taking away from the fact that rap music can still increase a vibe, but the Afro-Swing sound was almost always a party starter. During the time, Timbo seemed like a happy-go-lucky person, magnified by his vibrant lyrics and energetic personality that can be visibly seen in the videos he features in. A video that perfectly fits this statement is infamous, ‘Ringtone’, a song by Mover, which he features in. A hood classic that will never run out of plaudits, and I for one, as well as others, could recite near enough the whole song word-for-word in a heartbeat.
The South London resident, up until now, has fans that will place him in high regard, and a name that may be familiar to all, Anita. The mystery of this woman remains, but there was an ongoing pattern of him mentioning her in songs, such as Do Anything, Holiday, and the previously mentioned freestyle. Those, along with a mixture of other songs and moments during his peak popularity is why he is always spoken about.
Timbo was the hardesttt🌊 pic.twitter.com/sdsl4ZLIUA
— Johnny ✍🏾 (@jamerian_) September 14, 2018
Timbo is well-and-truly the pioneer, but emerging artists at that time, Sona and Naira Marley, also played a huge role in assisting with the genres rise to where it sits now. The contributions he made to the sound will never go unnoticed to true fans of the genre – paving the way for artists that have bathed in success. We have witnessed the likes of Yxng Bane, Not3s, Kojo Funds and of course, J Hus, collecting their accolades. Although the latter is exceptionally talented, we may not have been gifted with ‘Common Sense’ and Big Conspiracy’ if it wasn’t for the influence and bravery of Timbo.
On Twitter, his name is seen as ‘#WhereIsTimbo’, but we all know that he is plastered in the genres history. So, give the man his flowers and more because he deserves it.
Words ~ John-Mark Collymore