Interview: Bad Boy Timz Just Wants to Have Fun

We speak with Bad Boy Timz about the Headies, working with Olamide, the success of "MJ" and his run in 2020.

For once, Bad Boy Timz seemed flustered. On stage, receiving the award for Rookie of the Year at the 2020 Headies, the ascendant star isn't quite sure what to say, but then sure as day, he starts talking and everything is back to regularly scheduled programming. "As soon as I climbed the stage to pick up the award, I knew that I was in for the big leagues," he tells me confidently via Zoom a few days after the award ceremony.

When Bad Boy Timz, born Olorunyomi Timileyin, speaks, it's with the same high-octane energy that made his 2020 sonic offerings a welcome respite from last year's COVID-19-imposed listlessness. As part of the new vanguard of Nigerian musicians expanding the scope of afrobeats, the singer melds traditional music instrumentation with modern delivery techniques built around popular lingo and joyous melodies. Whether they be one-take freestyles or painstakingly written would-be pop anthems, Bad Boy wants to have fun—and he wants you to have some too.

"MJ," the song that catapulted him to mainstream attention is a pseudo-tribute to Michael Jackson that turned out out to be one of the biggest Nigerian songs of 2020, inspiring two remixes—with Mayorkun and Teni—and providing a pedestal for him to make a star turn on "Loading," a standout off Olamide's latest album, Carpe Diem. Timz went on to close the year with "Have Fun," a song that he says was made at the happiest moment of his life, and with a Headies win in the bag, he is looking forward to the next phase of his career.

Below, we talk about his 2020, working with Olamide, winning at the Headies, and his thoughts on the future of afrobeats.

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