Terry Apala knows his origin story. He is the Ajegunle-born, Yoruba-speaking apala artiste from Delta, who is heavily influenced by Haruna Ishola and Yusuf Olatunji and fondly seems to forget that he says this a lot in interviews. I started to pay attention to Terry Apala after his 2016-released, gaudy and bombastic Champagne Shower, a song euphoric in its fuji-trap perfection and with a video that inexplicably managed to escape NBC sanctions. Terry is a full-trap machine, churning major apala-laced chords on Jangolova, Mo Popular, and Omidan.
“It’s the year 2000-and-apala,” he’s always inclined to say, like this one in an interview on Cool FM Spotlight. Unlike his origin story, the year 2000-and-apala isn’t a just an overly-repeated, inventive pop catchphrase but a mission statement. Terry’s intention is to make you fall in love with apala music so that you are shameless about it. It’s a surgically neat, essence-preserving operation, what he’s doing to apala, infusing the inherently invigorating elements of trap into a near-extinct genre.
Born Ejeh Alexander Terry, Terry’s name is positively and visibly affirmative by virtue of the apala suffix, and it’s indicative of his larger-than-himself vision. His latest single Feel Me, released this week and a follow-up to the Bisola-featured Bad Girl, is a dreamy, synth-fuelled track that still recognises and preserves trap integrity. Terry is comfortably robust on Feel Me, luxuriating in the rhythm-shifting percussion so much so that the ending gave me a faux-levitating sensation.
“If you na dey feel me say yeah yeah,” Terry sings, his apala-suitable husky tones faintly glowing on synths. It’s meditatively bright, almost otherworldly. More to the point, Terry’s Feel Me has that mellow, club-dance potential.
“I modernize apala to hip-hop.” his lyrics on Modernize goes, and I just couldn’t agree more.
Listen to Feel Me below.