Any religious sentiments from an artist known for his overtly sexual lyrics was always going to raise eyebrows. Regardless, a conceptually-driven album guarantees a spin over here, ever more so when you take into account South Africa’s Tellaman’s impressive roster of collaborations including DJ Speedsta (“Mayo”), Kwesta (“Act Like”) and frequent work with Nasty (“Don’t B.A.B.”).
God Decides is a nod to Tellaman’s journey, as well as the trajectory of his personal relationships. The new album serves as the Durban native’s latest opportunity to exhibit a body of work after Lucid Dream and Mind vs Heart. The 27-year-old singer, producer and songwriter, born Thulumusa Samuel Owen, breaks down the album’s concept via an e-mail to Fruttiboxx: “God Decides is about Tellaman meeting a girl he loves while trying to make it as a musician, and trying to make both work. But at some point, she fails to understand that the industry gets the best of me. Being in a relationship and trying to make it as a musician is a very hard thing to pull off, and as a matter of fact I haven’t figured it out yet.”
Accordingly, the album is based on a previous relationship and incorporates skits from different vantage points, lending it a balanced perspective. What Tellaman achieves throughout this listen is maintaining an uptempo vibe despite exploring varied subject matter. Tracks like “Extra,” “Calm Down,” “Contemplating” and “Own Up,” for example, tackle the hardships faced in young relationships. These songs still manage to be bops while addressing infidelity, feuding, temptation and accountability.