Nigerian Grammy award-winning artist Burna Boy has come under fire for describing the lyrics of Afrobeats songs as lacking substance, an admission which appears to vindicate the long-held sentiment of outspoken veteran music selector Foota Hype.
The African Giant, while speaking in an Apple Music interview with host Zane Lowe, said that the majority of Afrobeats artists’ songs are not only devoid of real-life experiences but lack deeper meaning, and only depict having an amazing, blissful time, which is not what life is like in reality.
“Half of them, 90 per cent of them, have almost no real-life experiences that they can understand, which is why you hear most Nigerian music, African Music, or Afrobeats, as people call it, is mostly about nothing, literally nothing,” the Last Last artist said.
“There is no substance to it, there’s like nobody’s is talking about anything; it’s just a great time, an amazing time. But at the end of the day, life isn’t an amazing time… no matter how nice the time you’re having now or you had at some point or you plan to have yeah, you’re still going to face life…,” the Nigerian superstar added.
A few months ago, Foota Hype had, in commenting on statements by Bounty Killer that Afrobeats was in the lead while Dancehall was being held back by unappealing, silly content, declared unequivocally that whilst much of the new music coming out of Jamaica was trash, the fact remains that Jamaican artists are the ones who are still liberating Africa through their songs, and not the Afrobeats artists, whose content appears to be predicated on fluff.
“Suh we can’t seh wi a sing wrong content. Our content is just not accepted by Babylon and das why wi numbers look small. Afrobeat aint sing sh*t weh inspirational! Afrobeats a sing bout love a gyal carry yuh tings give har; everything weh yuh have and tun wutliss. Dat a weh it a sing bout. Afrobeats a seh when yuh have a woman gi har everyting weh yuh have an tun eediat. ‘Buy Lamborghini for you; I do everything for you’. A dem ting deh dem a sing bout,” he had said.
“‘My woman’. Yes wi love woman and everything, but a nuh dat alone deh fi sing bout. Suh we a sing the revolutionary music weh a uplift black people. An a unify back people suh why we shoulda change dah concept deh, fi get Babylon acumen?” he added.
Foota had declared that the types of Jamaican music such as Brysco’s Ensure and others which promoted sexual debauchery have no place in Jamaican music, but that “speaking about black liberation and struggle can’t be wrong”.
“Even now African music don’t sing nuttn bout African struggle, don’t sing nuttn bout African content, don’t sing nuttn bout African demise. African music nuh sing nuttn bout dem tribulation. Dem coulda care less bout how much a dem black bredda a dead,” Foota had stated.
“Suh no numbers weh dem a get dem can’t talk to we. Wi a fight fi dem struggle fi dem. Suh Afrobeat artiste haffi just respect Reggae artiste. Because Afrobeat artiste don’t even care bout di people dem weh deh beside dem. Dem neva sing a song bout dat,” he added.
Foota had said that it was unreasonable for anyone to expect artistes from any of Jamaica’s genres to always be singing about having a good time.
“If all a wi a sing bout fun content, who a gu free di people dem outta poverty? Who a guh free di people outta murderation? Who a guh sing bout how Mussolini kill off how much people and Selassie conquer him; how black people defeat di white man? And di white manna preach seh dem win. Who a guh preach bout weh di black man do?” he had asked.
Following the airing of the Apple Music interview on Wednesday, Burna attracted a range of reactions on Twitter, with some commenters agreeing with him, even as others attacked him for being impudent.
“Burna said that most Afrobeats artistes sing about nothing, & their songs lacks substance. This is coming from someone who has been releasing m!d music of late, & built his entire career off sampl!ng other people’s h!t songs. He’s a global sensation, but shouldn’t forget that other afrobeat artistes paved a way for him,” Daniel Regha said.
Another commenter, Fomax1 described Burna Boy’s comments as being traitorous.
“Burna and most of our leaders have the same thing in common when dealing with people who don’t look like them inferiority complex. The interviewer is white and Burna Boy automatically feels inferior and throws everyone under the bus for validation,” he stated.
Another commenter agreed with Burna, claiming that Nigerian artists were all about noise and lacked depth.
“Honestly a time will come your artists will come back to Ghana again to learn good music with substance. Afrobeat is just sounds with plenty noise and filling venues with same Nigerians outside. There’s nothing special about it. Do good and meaningful music Naija,” he stated.