“For a musician who copies from those before him, who lacks originality, and suffers greatly in the same poetic, lyrical language where the likes of Flavor, Wiz Kid, and Davido bathe, should just Sharrup and play.”
A guy rolls with measured mediocrity all his life suddenly wakes up one morning from a sharp needle-like pain up his butt cheek. It is the same hyper-sensitive dose of rocket-type fuel Lucifer pumped into his veins to cause him to see what other Angels did not see…the possibility of overthrowing God. And so, it is with this fight-thy-neighbor-musician we know as Burna Boy. I have followed his escapades in every category of life’s genres, and the vapor he spews is as hollow and coarse but blinding as a desert sandstorm to the one standing in his path.
The gorgeous Afrobeat gem, the scintillating rhythms from Africa’s ancient beats mean nothing to this wet-around-the-ears dude whose name barely cleared the music hurdle just a few years ago. And he didn’t just clear it, he knocked it down to scale over…again barely. As far as I am concerned, in the general variety we call grooving, danceable music, Burna Boy’s brand has remained lame; the man plays in the third wind instrument of six, relegated at the far edge of the hundred-piece orchestra. To make an asinine claim that he is the messiah come to resurrect an eternally, and supernaturally flavored of all syncopation, the likes of Fela Ransom, Victor Uwaifo, Celestine Ukwu, Sunny Ade, and Sonny Okosun, laid down boggles the mind. Does this man know anything about Tuku Music as Oliver Mtukudzi, the Zimbabwean popularized it? Has he heard anything about Mali’s Habib Koite, and Sierra Leone’s Seydu, Africa’s notable maestros? The wily, invincible tapestry of the most brilliant layers of pulsing sounds ever laid down by the giants of African music, is what this inebriated soul said he has come to rewrite.
Well, in that salty, American vernacular, F$%# him and the horse he rode in on.
For a musician who copies from those before him, who lacks originality, and suffers greatly in the same poetic, lyrical language where the likes of Flavor, Wiz Kid, and Davido bathe, should just Sharrup and play. Note for note, Burna Boy wins on the verse of belligerence; his rabid, uninspiring lyrics are pointless with each line hanging emptily. His fights are common, everyday occurrences. Fights with fellow musicians because his warped mind is telling him about the phantom, competition he faces…where there is none. These others must be eliminated and talked down on, for Burna Boy’s rise to stardom to happen. The man goes on American News and bites off the breast lip of the mother who is feeding him. Even if they are, no one ever says that they are the best at anything, unless the one was stoned and prone to self-exaltation kind of bombast. And in this particular case, Burna Boy is full of it. The one who gave it to the world, in its most polished form, was Fela A. Kuti…and he is right now rolling around in his grave wondering WTF is this boy talking about.
Nobility could be a birthright for a few years before one loses it.
Let’s move on. Where’s the finesse? Where’s the humility that should come with you in the public’s eye? Nobility could be a birthright for a few years before one loses it. And if someone were to earn it, he/she could have lived modestly with the same intuition that guides all wise people. You, Burna Boy, couldn’t even tell how limited you are…the difference between your butthole and a hole in the ground…I mean, musically. A sudden flash in the pan got you standing on the revered world’s stage as many have. Maybe, you should put your ear to the ground to hear the tales of downfalls from those who have stood, before you, on that same blue-and-red colored pavilion. But, given the burrowed swagger with which you operate, and the toothless bulldog bite after each bark, you Burna Boy, couldn’t tell the difference between a Komodo dragon and a wall gecko. You are the world’s most notable, abominable fool for crapping in the silver platter you eat from. Afrobeat is your mother and father…and like someone told you a few days ago, Afrobeat is bigger than you; it is a larger-than-life phenomenon. Why don’t you cut a slice out of this huge pie/pizza and just shut up, before your neighbor, Adekunle Oluwole Olatunji bitch slaps you to keep that trap shut for good.
♦ Don Okolo, Professor and filmmaker, is on the Editorial Board of the West African Pilot News. He is the author of many books.
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