It is only a norm in the human society to compare and contrast things and people. Often, this comparison is in a bid to hold on to some illusion, to something we might never have again. This has been proven by a number of scientific findings, it is therefore safe to say that it is a fact.
It was therefore not surprising when I saw a lot of hullaballoo on the social space following the release of Folarin Falana’s Moral Instruction album. Remember that he released a teaser track titled ‘Talk’ from the album only few days before. The album caused uproar online as a lot of people were quick to conclude that the late musical icon Fela Anikulapo Kuti now lives in Falz.
I daresay that the conclusion is too fast and there are a lot of evidence to prove that. However, that is not the bone of contention on this edition of Monday Trivia. The substance of discuss is “who is more fela? Dremo, Burna boy or Falz”
Fela needs no introduction to the average Nigerian music lover; in a class of his own, the eccentric icon is Africa’s foremost music pioneer. He used his music for much more than entertainment; he inspired and spoke truth to power. He did all of this during a harsh military regime and he definitely had his reward. He was locked up several times, his mother; equally a freedom fighter was killed in the process.
The ordeal never stopped Fela from speaking the truth without fear or favour from his musical stage. In death, Fela has had a lot of books written about him. A glance through any of it will prove to you that while Fela might not be a saint, he never shied away from his responsibilities.
In the modern Nigerian terrain, we have had a number of artiste casually fling the name Fela in our faces. It’s a nostalgic game, one which ought to connect to us and make them gain our trust. On the 18th of March 2016, Dremo came up with a refix to the popular Panda and named it ‘Fela’. In the song, he acknowledged that Fela is back. “Fela I pada wa, I want to light up the Shawarma, two chains on, no shirt on.” He goes on to highlight the marijuana smoking and dress style of the musical icon. Sadly, that was all the Fela we could get from Dremo.
Burna boy in his own right has a long history with Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, one that predates his conception. His grandfather was Fela’s first manager and his mother was a troupe dancer on the Fela’s band. There are even rumours suggesting that he could be Fela’s biological son, giving the Icon’s promiscuous lifestyle. Burna saw becoming Fela as a birthright, his performance at the 2013 edition of Felabration saw him strip down to his underpants.
There is a fundamental part of Fela missing in Burna boy though. Burna has never done a song against the government or for protest, neither has he called for change in any track. In comes, Folarin Falana. Astute, full of wit and down-to-earth, Falz began his Fela revolution with This is Nigeria. His recently released album “Moral instruction” is still the talk of the town and the album is characteristically Fela.
While Falz have never thrown the Fela cognomen in our face, he is fast fitting into the mould that the Icon has left behind. While he has a lot of grounds to cover, he is on the right track and he deserves all the accolades he is getting.