Burna Boy faces backlash over remarks on Afrobeats
Singer, Burna Boy has faced mixed reactions from netizens following his remarks stating, “Afrobeats has no substance.”
In an interview, Burna labeled the genre as having no substance because it essentially revolves around nothing except having fun. He continued by saying that he, as an artiste, is a strong believer in making music with substance because African musicians that make music with an Afrobeats sound don’t have real-life experiences they can discuss in songs.
Reacting to this remark, netizens expressed their displeasure with the singer’s wording, as it does not reflect the image of the genre.
An X user @itzbasito wrote;
Nlgga saw that he couldn’t own the king of Afrobeats title so he is doing everything to give his sound a name just to be the king even if it means being the king of an empty town. He finds himself in other people’s shadow no matter what he does hence the reason he is shlting on Afrobeats.
Dear Burna boy, you don’t need to downplay other people’s crafts just because you sampled your way to the top.
Music journalist, Joey Akan wrote:
“Whenever Burna Boy has to sell a new album to a foreign, Westernised market, he finds a divisive narrative to bestow him exceptionalism in a market that does not know his backstory or lack proper context to process his bullshit.
He cannibalises his people for strangers who are yet to fully commit to him.
Previous campaigns saw him wearing activism as a cloak, and standing in line for “oppressed Africans,” to provide himself the marketing angle to push out African Giant and Twice As Tall.
And following the blessings of “Last Last,” he’s aiming for a trifecta, by going all in with his Messianic messaging.
“Nigerian music has no substance,” he says, before positioning himself and his output as the most substantial creative expression from Nigeria.
Nigerian music has substance. We are a party nation, finding expression in rhythm and emotional upliftment via happy music. That’s why the drumming continues to be most recurring instrument in all our of pop music.
For themes, Nigerian music embraces escapism and realism. While Burna is right that, “it’s a good time,” he also fails to understand that the good feeling is a consequence of natural need for emotional upliftment. Has he paid any attention to our lyrics?
We danced to Omah Lay’s “Soso,” a record about deteriorating mental health, and the cultural toxic reliance on women to perform unpaid emotional labour.
Shallipopi might use Amapiano to get you off your seat, but self-actualization via survival is a central theme in his expression. Odumodublvck oscillates between love, camaraderie and community upliftment, but his tools of trade are often coarse and rudimentary.
And how about our eternal obsession with love? Where Adekunle Gold, Joeboy, Rema, Fireboy DML, Blaqbonez and BNXN have constantly explored all the facets of human connection, and the dance that precedes connectivity and companionship.
While we might dance to Joeboy’s “Sip (alcohol), we are witnessing and turning up to a beaten man, reliant on substance abuse to prop up his sanity and cope with the trauma of survival. We just don’t see it, because we’re too busy dancing.
When people say, “Nigerian music does not have substance,” it’s not an indictment on the culture and our tendency to oversimplify deep issues, communicating weighty themes via dance music.
It’s a window into that person’s mind. That window exposes a lack of intellectual leap, or the refusal to see our music beyond the happy feeling it provides…”