We are still pretty bummed at how easily Shey Shay’s 2015 debut album Seyi or Shay slipped through the media cracks without sweeping home plaques and golden figurines.
Off her highly underrated album, Seyi Shay’s newest visuals accompanies Mary; a tongue-in-cheek quasi-gospel psychedelic trap hip-hop ode to marijuana, also often known as Mary Jane. With a featured verse from Phyno, Mary plays like an unserious song made with the intent to appear as the exact opposite.
Seyi Shay keeps things sexy by eroticising weed, with a series of innuendos, metaphors and personified statements, but the lines are not too blurred and anybody can read between them.
The easiest way to watch Seyi Shay’s latest flick is to forget all you thought you saw from Rihanna’s Pour It Up video which features a similar opening sequence. With the exclusion of a wet floor and a greyed screen, Seyi Shay similarly walks to an isolated chair in the middle of a room. But instead of appearing daintily clad like Rihanna did with high waist panties and diamond studded bra, Seyi Shay kicks off her camera time dressed in a femme-fatale-esque playsuit, a hat and sexy long garter stockings. There’s a thin grey line between subtlety and sex appeal and newcomer director Meji Alabi easily settles the video on that grey line as screen time is split between a Seyi Shay showing off her long legs and an assembly of nuns in silence.
Seyi Shay bars no creative holds as there are random flashes of renaissance sculptures and Christian-themed paintings evidence of the double entendre narrative tool of ‘Mary’. The subject matter of the song is slickly depicted both as a woman in physical form (Yes, she meant the Holy Mary mother of God) and a form of sentient drug-induced ecstasy. The video is brought to a close by Phyno’s verse as the two cosy up and grind tightly into each other.
Artsy videos are very rare in a Nigerian industry where the female body is often converted to the only plot device and mechanism any music video needs. While it’s clear from the art direction, costume and scenes where Seyi Shay drew bits of her inspiration from, the creative loans from the works of more established pop stars like Lady Gaga and Rihanna is so cleverly done, Seyi Shay gets a free pass on any other unoriginality the song itself may hold.
The visuals for Mary also retains plot elements from the original audio creative material about a personal encounter with a feeling so divine, its effect on human sensibilities is almost damaging. It is a perfect video for a song that doesn’t pretend to be anything it’s not.