STATE OF THE KULTURE: With ‘Moral Instruction’, Falz Is The New Midas Touch Holder For Nigerian Protest Music
“What Fela sang against in the 70’s and 80’s, using mob music, Falz is turning everything into Gold in his era”.
Perhaps, we could smell Fela’s pants, so we can come into intercourse, and perceive the pungent releases of the daily bloated olfactory smell, evolving from the climax of his passion to wage a stand against the socio-political wrongs; Nigerian Military Junta dispositions of ill governance, mated towards her citizens.
His moral compass as well as his make up efforts that stood out without faux, the pattern he used in weaponising his music to pass a mob nuclear munition, staging and stirring several conversations against Governments policies, at the outputs of corruption and fraud.
The ‘if I perish I perish’ strong will of Fela, who would walk up against the government with a brand new record, speaking up against their ineffectiveness again and again after just being released from the prison the 200th time.
The Fela who would perform in front of a crowd at ‘The Shrine’ with bandages covering wounds from the beatings and lashings he received from the Military who had just maltreated him after being arrested from his house and whisked to a military facility in Dodan Barrack.
The dynasty of ‘Abami Eda’, who created protesting records like Zombie in 1976, Sorrow Tears and Blood in 1977, Beast Of No Nation with the Egypt 80 in 1989, and several other rout records piling up the shelf of his discography, having the significance of a speak up against societal dis-functioning with a desideratum for a fix up.
A ‘phenom’ Fela Kuti, an enigma, touch bearer, a focal point, the media’s bride with bleeding leads, a big pin in the butt’s of bad Governments, the king of social protest music, a non feeble, non cowardice, non incognito, the herald and the deity that held the ‘Midas Touch’ for Nigerian protest music. The prime Fela Anikulapo Kuti.
If posterity had a human face, and at any point in time in the Nigerian history, her Government starts behaving well, and a better society built with moral values was achieved with prosperity, peace and progress, posterity would wear Fela’s favorites outfits with his pants beneath, make his hands up tight fist pose, gather an audience of a good number of people at the shrine, play his favorites instrument which was the trumpet, sing with joy in his heart the hoopla and butt licking songs smoking a handful of blunt, just to tell Nigerians that things have gotten better from his several complaints against the Government.
But, posterity is not Fela, so he can’t be framed in such a non conforming lifestyle, even if things were done right.
In essence, the Nigerian history will always remember and be kind to Fela, for his mental and physical strength in creating poster board protesting music, using the AfroBeat he pioneered, to blend agit-prop lyrics and dance rhythms as a medium for social protest, and Government failings.
Sorrow Tears and Blood by Fela
Nigerian Government has failed to undo her failures, and with a closer look to what successful governments have offered her citizens, if Fela was still alive today, he would still at the top of his voice raise concerns against the government.
Fela’s prime is long gone, but his music lives on. As a matter of facts, Fela’s musical collections remain one of the most sampled music material world-wide. The likes of Jay Z, SwizzBeat, Lupe Fiasco, Wyclef Jean, Erikha Badu and several other Hip Hop acts have remade his songs to fit in to their artistic agenda.
Nigerian artistes have not been left behind in the process. Wizkid, Burna Boy Kahli Abdu with the album ‘Ministry Of Corruption’, and the latest one done by Folarin Falana aka Falz The Bahd Guy－with the album ‘Moral Construction’.
In 2018, Falz sampled Donald Glover－ Childish Gambino song ‘This Is America’, where he mirrored the wrong social dénouement of Nigeria. He made meaning with what has remained unchanged decades on decades after Fela was fierce in gospelling against the same thing in his time, resonating words like ‘This Nigeria, Everybody Na Criminal’, referencing the corrupt lifestyle of every Nigerian. He made a protest picture against the Government, Pastors, churches, police, youths and other unending Nigerian social crisis like drugs and prostitution. This made him catch the world’s attention as he made major headlines across popular tabloids of the world
In 2017, with his album; ‘27’, Falz jeered fraud and Yahoo Yahoo, ruling against it in the song ‘Confirm’ which he featured Sir. Dauda, an act signed on to his imprint Bahd Guy Entertainment. This was a follow-up to his Hip-TV interview that year, where he criticized artists who were praising and hailing Yahoo Boys names in their songs. He also addressed rape, illicit sexual lifestyle with Child of The World.
Before he released 27, he had a single titled WehDone Sir, were he laced his year to what should be expected, lyrically coding the song with a sublime ratio of protest: what people are doing which are morally wrong, scoffed in a cheer up manner with the toga phrase ‘WehDone Sir’.
The likes of Wizkid and Burna Boy are frequent in sampling Fela’s work. However, they shy away from the protest bequeathal of Fela. They only savor the enjoyment side of him, to admixture it with their own agenda, giving off to music fans ‘Jaiye’ music to enjoy.
Whereas, Falz has been quite different. He has not really sampled Fela in the past but he gave bright picks at singing music that called out people for wrong doings, even though he sometimes delivered it comically.
These set the tone to a path of him that demands change in the society, which music enthusiasts kept enjoying, thronging him and Oliver Twisting him for more.
Gradually, he kept building up a noticeable pack of cards that grew a castle, then he followed the process up with an album－ ‘Moral Instruction’ to properly remonstrate what he stood for to send home his rabble messages.
Incidentally, the success of ‘This Is Nigeria’ was not all the gas he needed, to get fuelled up to lend his voice against societal damages, rather the continuous failures of today’s government gave a bump to the pregnant Falz who delivered a masterpiece record, one of the most politically charged albums from any Nigerian artistes in the days of Democracy in Nigeria. Therefore, what Fela was as a protesting artiste to the Military government, Falz is wearing the same face to the Democratic government.
With his 2018 hit single; ‘Sweet Boy’, he panned a user contents as a roll out plan where he asked his fans to get registered in the Sweet Boys Association SBA. He will not just stop at rubbing the song on their faces with that content, asking them to listen and get linked to his association, he also released ‘Code of Conducts’ for the participants. The ten counts conducts were all patterned to address one social disorientation or another.
These and his other social slogan for change has put him on as a living authority in the Nigerian protest music sphere, separating and setting him up from the enjoyment give off of Fela to a shining light in the music industry, who is kindling the atmosphere with burning protest to change, using his music crafted ideas as a tool to quicken it.
Artists like Eedris Abdulkareem had a good streak with his approach to protest music, assembling a discography that had Letter To Mr. President, Mr. Lecturer, Jaga Jaga, Fela ft. Femi Kuti and Green White Green.
Legendary 2Face had also in the past pull few strings together with protest music, as he brilliantly created the Grass To Grace album, with which he ideas of protest in songs like E Be Like Say, One Love, See Me So and For Instance. Sound Sultan, Femi Kuti, Seun Kuti, Brymo as well as a few others also had a touch of quality with their speak up against social ills. Between all their savage works, as they look through the prism of protest music, mirroring what was wrong, calling out the status quo, they have never been as loud and as close to Fela, as Felz has recently done.
As Nigeria continues to struggle at the face of poor leadership, corruption, economic nosedive, nepotism, fraud, Herder crisis and other vices that keeps the country at steady plaque, for an election year, the parlance on how the country and her people should be ruled has been hanged on an unfound balance.
Just like Fela, Falz has not been shying away from speaking up with an aim for these vices to be fixed up in our society. His album ‘Moral Instruction’ which is a nine track record is totally charged forward with samples of Fela’s past music ideas, co-exhibiting it with his resilience on what he wants to change in the society.
The remake of the album art with that of Fela’s Beast Of No Nation with the Egypt 80 is emphatic to the direction Falz is stirring the wheels of the record to. The choice of Fela’s songs so sampled, consolidates his efforts to make a statement that will be read even after he is gone, and the delivery in each of the songs circles an impeccable completeness of a touch of gold.
For once, the socio-politically conscious effort of an artists can be parallelly charted with what Fela stood and fought for as a protesting artist. The two era music artists can be known for their gold touch of an effort to change situations. Fela held the Midas Touch in his time, Falz has also picked it up in his generation.
What Fela sang against in the 70’s and 80’s, using mob music, Falz is turning everything into Gold in his era.
Listen to Falz new album- Moral Instruction below:
Listen: Moral Instruction