Barely days into the New Year, Burna Boy presented Nigeria its first taste of celebrity brouhaha. Initially happy with him being on the set list for the Coachella 2019, Burna Boy wasn’t the most impressed with his font size.
In a now-deleted Instagram Story, the Afro-fusion Nigerian artist hit out at Coachella organizers, writing: “@coachella I really appreciate you. But I don’t appreciate the way my name is written so small in your bill,” he wrote on Instagram. “I am an AFRICAN GIANT and will not be reduced to whatever that tiny writing means. Fix things quick please.”
Many people took to trolling him, saying he didn’t understand the rationale behind the Coachella font sizes. Some said his new found level of celebrity was getting to his head; a select few supported the ‘Ye’ singer, rubbishing the veiled ‘politics’ surrounding the fonts.
The words – ‘Burna Boy’, ‘Coachella’, ‘African Giant’ – trended, when the time came, Burna Boy performed on the Coachella stage, in an outfit as crazy as his performance. He wasn’t done with the controversy, however, as he’s been engaged in public spats with social media users, the unsavoury words of “backwards unprogressive fools” coming up sometime.
Markers were being raised. If Burna Boy wasn’t careful, he would fall out of the people’s love, it seemed. Since 2012, he’d been on his grind, steadily building his brand. Veer into the mind of the observer and the worry would arise: could Burna Boy, born through his antics, be responsible for his own downfall? A reviewer of Burna Boy’s Outside album, Dennis Peter, had written of the artiste, that “Embedded within Burna Boy is a flagrant character matrix with an unending penchant for causing controversy, and a constant fixation for an exciting press that’s always eager to cast the artist in his controversial light. The ever prominent dramas probably wouldn’t cause much noise or be of much consequence if Burna wasn’t a generational talent.”
Are these, however, in lieu of his current position in African music, enough to bring down Burna Boy? We look towards his history of controversy, of which its zenith was the reported involvement of the act in a stabbing which took place in London. According to a well-flouted story, Burna Boy was tried as a minor and sentenced to jail. Eleven months later, when he was released on parole, he came back to Nigeria. In a song, ‘Freedom’, he seems to hint at a troubled past as he sings, “tell me what I gotta do to prove to you that I’m a changed man?” Then there’s the Mr. 2kay incident, where Burna Boy allegedly sent robbers to his industry colleague’s house. He’s also had his peace about meting out violence to bloggers and pastors.
In relativity to his more recent misgivings, one finds more ‘lenient’ acts from the dreadlocked singer. His fans recognize that he can’t fully “give in” to being an entirely likeable character. And there’s a compromise. He’s a musical genius, after all, they seem to say with a shrug when another ‘forgivable’ Burna Boy news comes their way. This also plays into a grander narrative of Burna Boy being a kind of embodiment for youthful revolution. His constant recycling of Fela chants and melodies, his public use of marijuana, his voice and personality, the intellectual quality inherent in his music – he is today’s youth. And the drama is a part of what makes him so appealing.
However, since he has always been controversial, it would pose a serious question as to why he hadn’t been as big as he is now then. It would appear to be that the answer to that question is “Burna Boy finally understands”. From early 2018 to the present moment, his moves on and off the studio has been latent with purposefulness.
‘Ye’, unarguably the anthem of last year, was everyone’s jam. From London to Nairobi to the Coachella stage, people loved ‘Ye’ and more often than not, would sing its lyrics word for word. That was, however, an exception: Burna Boy would become expert in utilising his versatility so that each demography that made up strong portions of his fan base got unique content.
It played into our very eyes with ‘Gbona’ and ‘On The Low’. Both songs were afropop, catchy vibes and all, instantly recognizable as African. The man knew that he had to consolidate on his hometown success after he’d given the largest cut of his album Outside to the UK. He would later do the most with ‘Killin Dem’, a collaboration with Zlatan Ibile, the hottest rapper in Nigeria, the one behind the Zanku dance rave. Expectedly, the song was a massive success, topping video and download/streaming charts for quite some time. One would think that Burna Boy would rest a bit, enjoy the view of his shiny castle from an elevated place. He most recently released ‘Dangote’, a song which, once more, glorifies the hustle inherent in today’s youth. Name dropping Nigeria’s richest man, he asks rhetorically: “Dangote still dey find money…why me no find money?”
He also served his outside (pun intended) market once more, releasing Steel and Copper, a four-track collaboration with Los Angeles producer duo DJDS. The sound is switched, Burna Boy touches on themes of survival as if he was cast back into the world, naked in his sins. On ‘Thuggin’, he sings “I’m still thugging anyway.” The video, which has been described as ‘impressionistic’ is further proof of Burna Boy’s understanding of his target market. Whereas the majority of the African gaze favours the outlandish in visuals, the outside community wants to sit before their TV screens, keenly eyed, asking: “why did he do that?”
This, more than anything else, has proven to be a serious tool Burna Boy has employed in dealing with the demands from fans with different cultural leanings. By giving parts of him strategically, he has managed to keep control of the what resides at the centre of his being: brute confidence that surely, he can do it all.
Watch current Burna Boy’s music video, On The Low.
(Source: Pan African Music)
KayNu – Hustle (Prod.by UnkleBeatz)
DJ Neizer & Kojo Manuel Inspire Kumasi With Music At Road To Detty Rave Concert
The Road To Detty Rave show in Kumasi, was headlined by Sarkodie, Joey B, King Promise, Shaker , Kojo Cue, Fameye, Tulenkey and many more but one of the big highlights of the night was DJ Neizer’s spiritual yet inspirational session with Kojo Manuel.As an accomplished and working engineer plus DJ, Neizer has combined two very tough lives and is excelling at both, a point the MC for the Road To Detty Rave Concert, Kojo Manuel expressed and used to inspire the students on being whoever they want to be, because they can.
With the lights off and the thousands of students had their phone lights on, DJ Neizer proceeded to play prayerful songs including Kwesi Arthur’s Pray for Me which had everybody singing along with emotion before switching to an energetic back-to-back jams that had the thousands of fans jumping and screaming all night.The 2017 Campus DJ of the Year definitely has the Midas touch
“I’m The Only Serious, Business Minded Artiste In Ghana. – Shatta Wale
Award-winning dancehall artiste, Shatta Wale, has explained that his constant criticism of his fellow artistes and for that matter, the Ghanaian music industry is because of his desire to see the industry thrive on the global stage.
According to him, the attitude and mentality of his colleagues do not depict people who are serious-minded and business-focused. In a television interview on Metro TV’s Good Evening Ghana programme, Shatta Wale said although his criticisms are hurtful, they are the hard truth.
“My criticism is for change in the industry; change of attitude and mentality towards our work. I believe most of them are not serious when it comes to music. People have sung since time immemorial and have made people see musicians as band boys and so we are not taken seriously.
“I’ve taken music seriously so when I see some artistes pretending that life is good for them, it makes me feel that pain. Osibisa was one of the successful groups globally. When it comes to my colleagues, we have not taken music serious,” he said.
Explaining further, Shatta Wale, known in real life as Charles Nii Armah Mensah blamed the media for compounding the problems in the music industry. According to him, the media has over hyped musicians and have created the impression that “they’ve made it.”
“Presenters make them feel swollen-headed even with a single song and so when they move out there they move with some hype and they think they’ve made it. I’ve been there before. When I came out as Bandana, that was the same thing I went through. But I was living in a single room and I wasn’t making money,” he said.
According to him, what hurts him most is that some of these musicians who are seen playing on the international stage are paid as low as £100 and £200.
“Some of these artistes are paid £100, £200. You’ll see this person is travelling and I go like, when you went there how much money did you make? Do not lie to the next generation. Do not let them feel like travelling and meeting people out there is the business. The business is how much money are you putting in your pocket? How much are you saving? Cos we are all growing…it’s a seasonal thing.
“I’ll grow one day and see that at this age I have to stop doing music so when I stop what am I going to do? So, I’ve started now, doing businesses here and there. If you think that this is going to be forever… that is why you find old musicians coming out and complaining and it makes me feel sad,” he lamented.
In 2018, Shatta Wale was billed to perform at the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Awards held at the Accra International Conference Centre but he failed to turn up.
Explaining why he did not perform at the awards, he said he had no contract with CAF and that he wanted to prove to them that “I’m a very serious artiste who takes his business seriously.”
“CAF didn’t sign a contract with me. They didn’t link any of my management team so when that whole thing came up I was a bit surprise that how come they would want to pay me some money without contract.
“It wasn’t because they paid my Nigerian counterparts more than they offered me. It wasn’t because of the Nigerians. I wanted to show them that this is a serious artiste who takes his business serious. If you wanna put me on a show there are procedures that you have to go through,” he explained.
In his opinion he is the only serious musician in Ghana and it was evident from his collaboration with American singer, Beyonce
“I’m very, very serious,” he said.
Asked if there was no other person in the industry he would consider serious, Shatta had this to say: “I don’t know who to mention. I can’t mention any.”
“What I’m saying now is the truth and it’s the hard truth. They will find it difficult to understand. All those names you are mentioning they are names that I have spoken to and I have educated them on how we should move this music thing,” he explained.
According to him, a serious artiste does not “chase” foreign artistes for collaborations.
“All those artistes you are mentioning are chasing Nigerian artistes. I don’t go chasing Nigerian artistes. They come to me. They love me for the work I do so they come to me with a good heart. It’s not just about talent. I take my business serious.
“When you know what you have, you’ll always sit down and wait for the right time. Like I waited for Beyonce’s collaboration to happen,” he added.
“There Are No Greener Pastures Anywhere. — Wiyaala
International Ghanaian Afro-pop singer Wiyaala, popularly known as the Lioness of Africa has advised young people to stay home, seek opportunities and work hard at home rather than go abroad.
She thinks that, being optimistic and putting the same effort into working back at home can equally lead you to achieving greater heights. She said, ‘Europe, USA and even Accra are not all that they are made out to be. I’ve seen many young Africans struggling to survive. It’s a myth to think of these places outside as the promised land.’
Watch the video at https://www.t2tinternational.org/event
Speaking in an exclusive interview with the host of 3FM Drive, Giovani Caleb, she said that ‘‘ young people, especially females who seem to face more problems than the boys, need to work harder and realise that the same energy you use in the big city or going outside you could also use in your regions and towns. There are huge opportunities coming in farming and tourism’
The Lioness also related how the Wiyaala Gala Concert in the UK raised significant funds for Teach2Teach, an NGO which trains unemployed SHS leavers to teach basic education to children in deprived communities in Northern Ghana. This helps reduce youth unemployment and improve primary school education in some of the world’s most disadvantaged communities.
(Source: Nancy Hatie Nwadei)