Popular rapper, Folarin Falana, aka Falz theBahd Guy, has said that he did not foresee the magnitude of the responses to his latest video, This is Nigeria, saying the rejoinders have really encouraged him to continue the trend.
Falz said this on Tuesday in an interview with AFP.He noted that Nigerians are ready for a return to the days of music maestro, Fela Kuti, when musicians used their high profile to address political and social issues.Falz’s latest track This is Nigeria — an adaptation of US performer Childish Gambino’s This is America — has racked up more than four million views on YouTube in just two weeks.In it, he highlights widespread violence andcorruption in Africa’s most populous nation, in stark contrast to fellow artists and their fixation with wealth and status.
The 27-year-old performer acknowledged that his subject matter — from Boko HaramIslamists and disputes over land and waterto crooked police and politicians — was controversial.“But I didn’t foresee the magnitude of the response…
This has really encouraged me to continue doing that,” he said.“Everyone is carried away with our entertainment and enjoyment of life and we forget that a lot of things are really happening here…“There are a lot of things that we need to constantly talk about so that somehow there should be a recognition of this… People feel that the Fela Kuti’s spirit needs to come back.
”Fela, the self-styled “Black President” and pioneer of Afrobeat, was known as much for his outspoken political and social viewsduring years of military rule as for his music.Falz’s real name is Folarin Falana. His father, the leading human rights lawyer Femi Falana, once represented Fela.The rapper said his father, whose speechesare sampled at the beginning and end of “This is Nigeria”, had been a major influence.
Musicians had to recognize they also had aposition of power, with a “huge voice” that should be used as a force for good.Nigeria is entering a highly charged period before elections in February next year in which President Muhammadu Buhari hopes to secure a second term.Already, the former military ruler’s record on tackling insecurity, cutting corruption and boosting the economy is coming underclose scrutiny.
Until Buhari’s victory over Goodluck Jonathan in 2015, no opposition candidate had ever unseated an incumbent president at the ballot box in Nigeria.Falz said it was important for the country’s massive youth population to understand they have the power to change their future, including the problems outlined in “This is Nigeria”.
“It’s a democratic system of government, it’s government of the people,” he said.“So, if people don’t actually go out there to vote, we’re still going to be stuck in the same mess that we complain about.“So, you have to go out there, register, get aPVC (permanent voters card) and make sure that when the election comes that youactually vote.”Ironically, Fela’s son Seun Kuti — also a musician — this week appeared to suggest the opposite, urging people to be wary of the political process.
“Don’t let anyone force you to endorse theirsystem until you are sure it represents you,” he said in a fiery post on his Instagram account.
“Time to cast a vote of no confidence in the political system and build our own! Thisis the task of the #liberationgeneration.”