A number of Nigerian artists have in the past been compared to the late Fela Anikulapo Kuti, but according to social media, the one who truly comes close in terms of his message, consciousness and fearlessness is rapper, Falz.
Falz released the new single, ‘Talk’ on Friday, January 11, 2019, as the lead single off his upcoming album, ”Moral Instructions” and as the title suggests, not only did the rapper ‘talk’ on major and political happenings in the country [yet again] , but he also got everyone ‘talking’ including sparking comparisons to the Afrobeat Legend, Fela.
— #27 (@falzthebahdguy) January 11, 2019
The song which was accompanied by a vividly descriptive video shows Falz’s intention in the light of events in the country, which is to ”save Nigeria”, backed by a call and response hook bringing some soft landing to his serious expressions.
In 2017, Falz dominated conversations with the release of the viral video to his song, ‘This is Nigeria’, the scathing record where he penned an open letter on the state of events in the country and the opening line on his new record takes a direct shot at the Muslim Rights group, MURIC, who threatened to take him to court.
”Brother Muri shout finish we no see am for court”, then he swiftly moves on to deeper topics as he speaks on the coming elections, the President’s frequent trip abroad ”4 year tenure, 3 year holiday”, failed change promises as well as other troubling societal issues.
— #27 (@falzthebahdguy) January 11, 2019
With ‘Talk’, Falz does not mince words on his view of things and has again abandoned the safer option of cynicism, for the whip of criticism.
Being conscious or politically aware in your music is one trait that a lot of Nigerian artists have shied away from in recent times, but he continues to distinguish himself as he consistently uses his music as a tool to speak up for the people.
It is now a given that any time a Nigerian artist attains a major feat like in the case of Wizkid or delivers protest music that shoot incendiary messages at the Government, the go-to name for comparisons is the late Abami Eda who was well known for brazenly taking shots at Nigerian politicians during his lifetime and thorn of successive Nigerian military governments.
Hence it was no surprise to see the Fela comparisons spark up again on Twitter with the release of the song.
You see what Falz is doing with his music? Speaking for the people, addressing issues in the country.
But the other guys think being Fela is about going topless and smoking cheap weed
— Major A. (@king_adze) January 11, 2019
"4 years tenure, 3 years holiday"
"We buy your story but you no give us change"
"In 2019, 19,800 alawee"
"3 private jets you say you buy am for church"
Look at Falz speaking for the people, and addressing issues in the country. Fela would’ve been so proud of him ✊🏾 pic.twitter.com/TUkGNOAIAV
— Iseunife The First (@Shawnife_) January 11, 2019
Falz speaks the truth, the absolute truth. Fela would have been so proud of this jam #Talk
— KING 👑 (@DanSholz_) January 11, 2019
Falz the badt guy! The objectivity of this song is amazing! Things like these reminds me of Fela; using music to deal with social and political matters. #Talk
— Testimony Tobi Segun 🇳🇬🇳🇬 (@evertestimony) January 11, 2019
Falz has done it again.
If you ever had doubts about his creativity, his intelligence and his absolute capacity to use his craft for public good, his new song #Talk completely clears all doubts.
Leave those smoking and making empty noise, he’s the true Fela of this generation.
— OurFavOnlineDoctor 🥳🏁 (@DrOlufunmilayo) January 11, 2019
Falz may have further strengthened these comparisons with the art cover for his upcoming album, Moral Instructions which was designed by the legendary Lemi Ghariokwu who is famous for his works with Fela.
But the major reason why this keeps happening is that Nigerians are in search of that voice who will convey their plight and despite the abundance of artists on the scene, many who claim to associate with his legacy and conveniently flirt with the Afrobeats genre when convenient, they shy away from lending their voice to the cries of Nigerians even in the midst of obvious societal turmoils.
Music, even rap, which is the genre usually in the forefront of speaking up against political oppression has long lost focus and bite in its chase for commercial relevance.
But Falz has dared to go down this path and while he may not exactly be ‘Fela’ in directly calling out the names of people in power, he has gotten bolder over the years with his messages triggering a call to action and resonating with the people.
Ahead of the 2019 elections, Falz says we need to talk, and with his album due in a few days, he plans to roll out a template to Nigerian youths that will focus on creating awareness and inspiring positive change.
We may not need a new Fela after all, in fact there are very few like him, but we should appreciate Falz, a man who on his own terms is proving to be more than just the musician, but an activist and the new ‘hero’ of the masses.