Grammy-winning singer, Damini Ogulu, popularly known as Burna Boy, has come under fire for his recent remarks about the Afrobeats genre.
Speaking with Apple Music’s Zane Lowe, in an interview that was published on the streamer’s YouTube channel on Monday, the artiste said, “Not even experiences because 90 percent of them have no real-life experiences that they can understand. Which is why you hear most of Nigerian music or African music, or Afrobeats, as you people call it, is mostly about nothing, literally nothing.”
Burna claimed that “there is no substance” to the genre because most Afrobeats artistes only talk about having “an amazing time” in their songs.
“But at the end of the day, life is not an amazing time,” he continued. “No matter how nice of a time you are having now, had at some point, or you plan to have, you are still going to face life. So, for me, I feel like music should be the essence of the artiste. The artiste is a person who has good days, bad days, his great days and worst days. For me, I feel like music should be the essence of the artist.”
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In the interview, the singer talked at length about his inspirations, influences, being a fan as a celebrity, his music career, and his upcoming album, “I Told Them”.
Lowe describes Burna Boy’s new album as encapsulating the “can’t be stopped energy that New York and its hip-hop legacy breeds”.
When asked what inspired the “I Told Them” album name, Ogulu revealed that it addresses people from his “own home” who have doubted his success.
“A prophet is not really recognised in his own home and sh*t. This one is for the part of my home, and people in my own home who didn’t believe or doubted it, or still doubt it. And not just them, everyone that ever heard me speak in the past when I first started,” he explained.
“You can go back to my old tweets and stuff,” he continued. “I basically predicted everything that’s happening now. So, this is basically that. It’s fun to tell people something is true, and they doubt, and then they end up seeing it. There’s no greater feeling.”
Lowe also asked the “Ye” crooner why he thought colleagues who shared the same experience with him could not love or believe in his talent.
Ogulu further disclosed that his upcoming project would be “a window” for his fans to see his experiences.
Why it’s good Fela didn’t exist in this generation
The “Last Last” songster said it is good that the legendary Afrobeat pioneer, Fela Kuti, didn’t exist in this generation because most of the people revering him today would have criticised and called for his arrest.
He argued that it was fortunate for him to have lived during the time he did because it allowed him to spread the messages his songs carried.
“What I have realised is that the times are really funny,” said Burna Boy, whose maternal grandfather, Benson Idonjie, served as Fela Kuti’s first manager. “Fela in his time was going through things that, if he were here today, it might have been a whole different feeling, like a whole bunch of people from Nigeria who you see today celebrating Fela are the same people that would have been tagging the police to go and arrest Fela if there was Twitter then.”
He added, “So, at the end of the day, I feel like God doesn’t make mistakes. You know what I mean, like the times are just perfect for everyone, you know. If he [Fela] was here today, like his career started now, he may not have the space to explore that [his conscious creativity] because there is too much in this day and age that it just doesn’t interlock with the spirits. Right now, spirituality is almost non-existent.
“Now, it [the society] is just mostly run by stupidity and ignorance. It was still the same back then [during Fela’s era], but it wasn’t as amplified or accessed [as it is today]. Now, everything is defined by stupidity and ignorance.
“I’m grateful for the fact that he [Fela] existed in his time so that we can get an experience of the true organic nature of what he was, the essence of what he stood for and the messages he passed across to us.”
The Grammy-winning artiste has dropped several tracks off his much-anticipated seventh studio album, “I Told Them” which is slated for release on Friday.
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