5th of May 2018
“Bros, you see that video Childish Gambino drop? Tight AF!”
“Men, boys dey think o! That guy hammer big time.”
“Azzin ehn. But come o. Falz, you fit do something like this na. As in our Naija version.”
“E no go bad…if na Naija, issues go plenty. Like no be today.”
“In fact the song go finish we go dey list issues”
Falz gets up and does ‘shaku shaku’
“This is Nigeria…”
His friends clap to a rhythm
“Guy e no go bad o. Bring paper…let’s list the issues”
- Fulani Herdsmen
- Chibok girls… yes. Instead of school uniform, na hijab we go use.
- What else? What else?
- No light
- Yahoo yahoo
- Bobrisky (laughter erupts)
“No find her trouble biko. She no dey take prisoners.”
“God bless you, I knew I was missing something”
So an idea begins to take shape. Calls are made
“Sharp sharp we go do this thing o. Before “This is America” stops trending. Geezy go direct am”
So Ankara trouser against the plain one worn by Gambino. Nothing says Nigerian/African more than Ankara print.
25th May 2018
This is Nigeria debuts about 3 weeks after the original.
- “FALZ IS BRILLIANT.”
- “He has gone where no musician has gone.”
“He is the Falana of his generation…oh wait…he is a Falana…but you understand.”
- “Falz has left Nigerian musicians and stepped up.”
- “We have never seen anything like this before.”
It’s a parody.
It’s a cover.
It is a remix.
It is a musical adaptation.
It is appropriation without any negative connotation.
He is a lawyer, he must have all legalities covered so he did not steal from Childish Gambino.
Nigerians are joining the movement Gambino started through Falz and his more relatable version.
It is brilliant!!!
It is mediocre, that is what it is.
It is cheap.
It is opportunistic.
It did not bring any new thing to the table. It is twitter hash tags in a song.
It was not even clever.
The video was a literal dramatization of the song. As in without a subtitle you could have written the song just from looking at the video.
You know how in Nollywood a girl is seen walking on the street with a bag on the head and then the soundtrack is explaining everything
“She is a village girl…”
Zoom on thread plaited hair.
“She is very sad”
Zoom on sad face crying.
“She has her load on her head and is tired.”
Zoom her staggering steps with a tired expression.
“Chimooooo life is hard.”
She all but sings along on the chorus.
That was what Falz the Bahd Guy did.
How many times did you have to watch ‘This is America’ to get the many subtexts hidden in that gold mine of a song/video?
The video without the song told so many stories intertwined with culture that you could write a thesis on it.
Now Google the lyrics of the song. Nothing was clearly stated and that was the beauty. It was all there and yet you had to really listen and unfold the many layers of meaning.
I have watched it so many times and still it is hard to say all it was about.
You know why?
It was a carefully crafted work of art that obviously had much thought. It was not a hurriedly put together mishmash of trending things inserted in the framework that someone else painstakingly etched.
That is brilliance.
To get the whole world talking about various aspects of a 4minute song that is more than a song/video/political statement.
Falz did 10% work to an already 90% structure. He even inserted the ‘transmission’ situation which was a shot so obvious and cheap that I blushed under my black face.
Fela should come alive and smack him on the bum-bum. You see Fela? Fela effortlessly crafted political activism in his own music. HIS OWN music. Two decades after his death he still keeps us enthralled by his ingenuity.
We have known brilliance so why do we not see mediocrity when it is smack in our faces?
And all those critics/writers/writeupers that if you so much as paraphrase an original line of theirs they will come after your jugular are desperately trying to brush away a clear cut case of putrid imitation.
And before you shout HATER, I will let you know that I like Falz. I started following him about 4years ago on instagram when his 15 second skits were gathering followership. He is undoubtedly funny. And he is brilliant. I say this because I doubted his ability to sustain a musical career because of his vocal deficiency. But he crafted his own style that works and he keeps topping year after year. Last year, I hear he had one of the best concerts of the year. He works hard obviously and against my initial prediction will be around for a long time.
It is because I am his fan that I will tell you that he belittled himself. He sacrificed what could have been on the altar of a trend tide. Falz has the ability to have been so inspired by Gambino that he crafts out HIS OWN musical political statement.
He is a freaking A-listt Nigerian musician. He is popular already.
He should be setting the template for the small fry to jump on.
And I don’t care if Diddy or Gambino retweet him and hail him.
He complimented Gambino. He is the wanna be.
In actual fact, he doesn’t need their validation.
They should be learning tricks by watching his art and being schooled by it.
He should not lower his head for them to pat patronisingly.
What would Fela do?
They keep dreaming of winning mainstream Grammy awards and yet being basic all along.
And you are the problem Nigerians.
You are so bloody easy to impress.
He tried. He tried. He did a cover. He did a copy. He did a parody. He did a remix. Clap for him. Well I guess we should clap for him, for once he did not do a ‘misogyny’.
That is why we have miracle centres for WAEC…thinking independently issa problem. (Off point but I am angry).
Last of all are the people that will want to throw it back at me by saying:
“At least he did something? What are you doing?”
I am writing unfettered and unaffected takes on life.
And I will even tell you one thing that I am actively not trying to do
COPY WHAT OTHER PEOPLE ARE DOING!
And with these few points of mine…..