Posted in music

My Thoughts on #ENDSARS.

It’s been a terrible time in Nigeria the past few weeks and as a Nigerian myself, living in London, I feel it’s hard for me to feel useful all the way from here. For those that do not know or are unaware of what is happening, there is currently a movement started by youths in Nigeria to ‘END SARS‘.

SARS stands for ‘Special Anti Robbery Squad‘. The squad, a branch of the Nigerian police force, was initially set up to combat armed robbers and thieves in Nigeria. However, many of the SARS team were found to be abusing their power by illegal searching, illegal arrests, sexual harassment of women and even physical abuse of some young men. At the beginning of the month, videos of SARS killing young men and stealing their items of them became more and more prominent highlighting the abuse happening. The ‘END SARS’ movement has been going on for many years but this month gained further momentum, with protests taking place all around the world including places outside of Nigeria such as the UK and America.

Image from: https://globalvoices.org/2020/10/20/nigerian-military-opens-fire-on-peaceful-protesters-in-lagos/

Unfortunately, the protests in Nigeria took a turn for the worse on November the 20th 2020. During a peaceful protest on Lekki Toll Bridge in Lagos, members of the Nigerian army opened fire at peaceful protestors killing many and injuring many too. After the massacre, The Nigerian government were not able to confirm the exact numbers of those that were killed as they claimed nobody was killed or injured. If it wasn’t for social media and people sharing videos of what was happening, we would be led to believe that nobody died. Over the weekend the Nigerian government finally confirmed that around “69” people have been killed overall during the protests. (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-54666368). To add insult to injury, the Nigerian government have claimed they are not sure who gave the orders for the shootings on Lekki Toll Bridge to take place. This lack of accountability from the Nigerian government and those who are SUPPOSED to be in charge is part of the reason Nigerian people are protesting and fighting for their human rights. The Nigerian government have constantly shown that they are only in this for themselves and do not have the best interests of the nation at heart.

There is a bible passage that I believe sums up Nigeria at this current state;

“When there is moral rot within a nation, its government topples easily. But wise and knowledgeable leaders bring stability”.

Proverbs 28:2-26 NLT

Unfortunately the majority of leaders in Nigeria are rotten. Nigeria has the potential to be one of the most thriving countries in the world but the greed of some of its leaders and those in government is what is holding it back.

Image From: https://ecowarriorprincess.net/2020/10/endsars-nigerian-youths-protesting-what-you-can-do-to-help/

In 2014 I wrote a blog post about the kidnapped girls in Nigeria. At the time, it felt like Nigeria was in a bad place and I didn’t know how it could get better. In the article, I mentioned that the only way Nigeria could move forward and start to heal as if the government started focusing on the needs of the people and focussed less on their money. It seems this did not happen and alas we are an even worse situation now. (Please read my previous post from 2014 below.)

2020 has really been a year to remember for all the wrong reasons. I am devastated that young people in Nigeria are being killed in vain for a country that does not value their worth. The great late Fela Kuti was one of many people who always spoke out about the injustice in Nigeria. The current Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari was actually one of the people that put Fela put in prison! It was also exposed that the judge was bribed to convict Fela and give him a jail sentence despite the fact the charges did not apply to him.

After his release from prison, Fela Kuti released a song called “Beasts of No Nation” in 1989which touches on the injustice of the world as a whole. One of the things that stood out to me was that he referred to prison as the “Inside World” and the outside was actually the “Craze World”. For him, all the murders, rape and injustice happening in the world was more dangerous that him being in a prison. The fact that this statement is still relevant to some places in Nigeria today is heartbreaking. For me, the lines that stood out for me on the song were:

Human rights na my property, so therefore, you can’t dash me my property

Human rights na my property dey wan dash us human rights

Fela Kuti – Beasts of No Nation

If you have time, please do check out some of Fela’s music, he speaks so much truth and so much of what he talked about is relevant today.

Being BLACK this year has been extremely traumatising. From the beginning of the year seeing videos of black people being killed in America by racist police. In addition, the news that Covid-19 research showing that Black and ethnic minorities were most at risk of complications. Now END SARS and being bombarded with horrific images and videos of young people, many of them younger than me being murdered in broad daylight in the country that is supposed to love and cherish them. All of this uproar for simply fighting for their rights. I’ve personally had to take some time out from social media many times this year because the constant negative and depressing news is not good for anyones mental health. I encourage anyone else that is feeling overwhelmed or traumatised from the news to sign out and take time out for yourself.

Remember music is a great way to tune out too!

I don’t have the answers on how any of this trauma can be fixed but one thing I do know is that the new generation have to continue the fight. No matter how tiring it is, we have to keep going to keep fighting for a better world. The deaths of those that have fought with us will not be in vain.

Image From: https://globalvoices.org/2020/10/20/nigerian-military-opens-fire-on-peaceful-protesters-in-lagos/

#ENDSARS #PrayforNigeria #TheMarathonContinues

Here are some great links to explain the ENDSARS movement in more detail:

https://edition.cnn.com/2020/10/25/africa/nigeria-end-sars-protests-analysis-intl/index.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/End_SARS

See you all soon!

Posted in music

Happy 60th Independence Day Nigeria!!!

Happy Independence Day to my home country Nigeria!!

I will forever be proud to be from this amazing country and Nigerians will forever be my favourite people ever. We have such a rich culture stemming from iconic music and films, wonderful food, iconic fashion, endless banter and amazing spirit!

While Nigeria has been independent for 60 years, unfortunately we still have a long way to go to show all our talent. I really hope the new generation within the next 60 years are able to help improve the country and right some of the wrongs some of the older generation have made. Myself included, it is up to us younger people to help show the world the beauty in my beloved country!

Have a listen below for Nigerians national anthem sung by some of the most popular Nigerian artists; Yemi Alade, 2Baba and Rema. I really loved this rendition of the iconic ‘Arise O Compatriot’.

OMO NAIJA!!!!

Posted in music

Album Review: Burna Boy – Twice as Tall…

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The “African Giant” also known as Burna Boy, released his fifth studio album on Friday the 14th of August! The build-up to the album was quite small as we were only really given details towards the final week of promo. Burna Boy’s previous 2019 album “African Giant” was critically acclaimed and considered by most people (including me – https://musicandlifeblog.com/2019/08/19/album-review-why-i-think-burna-boy-african-giant-2019-is-a-work-of-art/ ) as his best album to date. With such high praise from an album, it was always going to be an almost impossible uphill task to live up to the same expectations. Due to this, I decided to try my best to listen to this new album with fresh ears, trying not to compare his previous genius album to it. Albums are always a reflection of where the artist is at that moment, no album is gonna be from the same frame of mind.

With the first few minutes of me digesting the album, I won’t lie, I had quite a few questions. Admittedly, from the first few listens I was a bit confused at the direction of the project. I gave it time and with further listens I began to genuinely enjoy a lot of the songs. I feel this album is an introduction of Burna Boy to the global audience. It feels that the title “Twice as Tall” is in reference to the magnitude of Burna’s rising success worldwide. A major and important fact people need to remember when listening to Burna Boy is that Burna’s music goes way beyond just beats and rhymes. His music clearly takes inspiration from politics, his spirituality, culture and activism. On this album, in particular, he takes inspiration from many other African countries. I think this is why Burna Boy never really loses his flavour in his songs regardless of what the tone of the song may be. This album is a continuation and sequel of his previous work. He never forgets his roots despite the unnecessary Diddy noises and clear American influence through features.

I would have preferred for him to be singing more in the Yoruba dialect or Igbo that he does so well (Similar to how he uses it in the song ‘Bebo‘) but I can see that in regards to a global stage, the more English the easier for others to digest.

I believe it is only fair to listen and take in this album as a solo project and not a comparison to his previous album.

It will be interesting to see how Burna Boy follows this project up and what direction he will now head into but I know that wherever he goes, Burna’s unique sound will never be far away.

Below are some of the key songs I took from the album:

Level Up (Twice As Tall) Ft. Youssou N’Dour

I really liked this intro track featuring the Senegalese singer. Straight in, Burna goes personal with his journey starting from the beginning of his career; “I remember when I couldn’t level up. I was trying, but I couldn’t level up. It was rough, you see“. The whole song focuses on the theme of never giving up and keeping the faith. It’s interesting that this is the intro track as usually people would end an album with this inspirational message proving that they are a product of keeping the faith. I really liked the vibe of this song, very laid back but motivational. It’s not surprising Diddy had a little speech on this song as after finding out he was part of the album process, this message is very on-brand with his motto, to also keep going. I personally didn’t think his input was necessary at all and is part of the new direction I was not a fan of on this album.

Way Too Big

I really liked this song and I think this was one of the songs from the album that I can see getting really good reception if played with a crowd. The song also works well with the title of the album, emphasising Burna’s journey to success. I always think when an artist is as big as Burna, they have the right to have a song with bragging rights at least. i can see crowds singing this song back to Burna at concerts or events. It also is a small reminder of Nigerian confidence and pride, to acknowledge that you are worth too much to lower your standards for anyone. This is definitely one of my favourites from the album.

Wonderful:

I’ve previously spoken about my love for this song. This is without a doubt my favourite song on the album. We were treated to this song earlier on before the album release and I thought that this was a taster of the kind of direction Burna was going for on this album. Having heard all the songs, I now believe this song is a bit out of place with the rest of the songs. This song is pure Nigerian music. It has the inspired instruments, the tone, the beat, the feel and the language. It is impossible to listen to this song without finding yourself moving some part of your body somehow!

Onyeka (Baby)

This is the love song for this album. The name of the song was originally in reference to the Nigerian singer Onyeka Onwenu. However, Burna Boy has said that the song is now more of a general song and can be in reference to all women. The song also references an Igbo highlife classic from Chief Stephen Osadebe titled “Osondi Owendi“. You can actually hear the similarities with the backing production of this track and the backing production of ‘Onyeka’. This is one of the many examples of how educated Burna Boy is with previous Nigerian music and how he uses it to inspire his music of today.

Have a listen to his inspiration.

Naughty By Nature Ft. Naughty By Nature

Hmmmmmmmm. I don’t know where to begin with this song. To be honest when I first heard this song, I was shocked and almost offended. I think it was the complete change in pace and of how different this song was from Burna’s usual music. However, as I listened to the song more, I started to warm to it a lot more. The song reminds me of a previous song called ‘Ice Cream Man’ that Burna featured on one of his previous tapes. The song has an almost nursery rhyme theme to it. The part for me where I find is wrong is the feature from Naughty by Nature. I understand their talents separately as an established hip hop group but I really do not believe their sound goes well with the Burna sound on this song. It sounds like a very random match. If I could hear a version of this song without NbN I would definitely rate it higher. Have a listen to ‘Ice Cream Man‘ to see if you can hear the similarities.

No Fit Vex:

I really enjoyed the slowed-down pace on this track especially as it followed the very hype song “Comma”. The title of the song is pidgin for saying “No Hard Feelings”. The song is very positive and focuses on the fact that Burna Boy is just living his life and has no hard feelings for anyone.

23

Another emotional song from Burna Boy. With this song, he reflects on his success again but this time using Michael Jordan’s signature ’23’ number. He mentions in the introduction; “The music make me feel I be Jordan, now I understand why them say aiye gbon gan”, meaning that he understands why they say there’s enough space. Even though he is not a basketball player like Michael Jordan, he is experiencing what it’s like to also be at the top of his respective field, in this case music. The song almost sounds like we are hearing his personal thoughts of reflection as well as gratitude. This song will be so beautiful to hear with a live band stripped back.

Time Flies Ft. Sauti Sol

This song is the perfect follow up to ’23’ in terms of keeping a similar mood. It took me a few listens to pick up this song and I worry that this song could be overlooked. In terms of African music however, this song is a perfect example of the beauty of what the continent contains. The song features the Kenyan group Sauti Sol. It’s clear that Burna took a lot of joy dipping into so many African countries on this album, again exploring his global impact. The backing vocals and production of the song definitely explore the beauty of Kenyan music. In the chorus, “Siwezi wacha rhumba” is sung which is Swahili for “I’ll never stop partying” and I can see how that motto fits with the tone of the song. Burna Boy’s vocals on this song are so soothing, this is the kinf of song that makes you want to close your eyes and really take everything in.

Real Life Ft. Stormzy

Burna Boy and Stormzy have already collaborated on the smash hit song “Own It” also featuring Ed Sheeran. I already knew that they potentially would make another great song but I did not expect the direction this song went in. I’m a Stormzy fan but I’m not so fond of his singing on songs, HOWEVER, this song put all my doubt to rest. Stormzy’s singing was the perfect component to this song. I had this song on repeat when I first heard it. This is another beautiful song and I loved the fact Stormzy was able to do something different on this record. They are both superstars in the music world for different reasons and this song is an example of how beautiful they can sound merged together.

Bank On It (Produced by JAE5)

What a track! As soon as I heard the drop I knew it was a JAE5 produced track. Burna and Jae have collaborated on quite a few tracks now and it is clear they always make hits. The song almost reminds me of one of their songs “Calm Down” in the sense of a similar drop. It is a great way to end the album as the song reflects on the fact that life is precious and that we are all human and will make mistakes in life. Despite anything and everything that may happen in this life though, Burna Boy wants to make it clear that he will continue being successful.

Overall, this is an album you really need to take in to understand Burna Boy’s new perspective. There is alot of gratitude, praise and success mentioned on this album and it is clear this is the journey of a huge star.

Posted in music

Videos to Watch… MoStack & Dave…UK’s Finest.

Hi everyone, I know I usually talk about songs and lyrics but this post is dedicated to two important videos that have recently been released.

MoStack – Daily Duppy

The first video is a Daily Duppy from from UK rapper MoStack. He’s possibly one of the UK’s best rappers at the moment and this freestyle showcases his versatility. He raps about his lifestyle “see my eye bags, I carry nuff baggage” demonstrating his use of clever puns which is shown throughout the whole freestyle. The beat/instrumental used in this freestyle is great too and MoStack rides the beat like a pro. Some of my favourite bars are; “We don’t speak but your secrets won’t leave my mouth” and “How dare you think a weapon’s more stronger than prayer, I’m more than blessed, I’m more than flex”, MoStack is so talented with his words. This is definitely one of my favourite freestyles from a rapper and I love the rawness and the mention of his love for fellow UK rapper J Hus. I like freestyles when an artist spills out their true emotions and this is exactly what MoStack did. I look forward to more music from him coming in the near future.

PS: Free J Hus!!

Dave – Black

Before I start this I just want to remind everyone about Martin Luther King’s famous speech; “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character”. This dream is seeming less and less likely as the days go on.

UK rapper Dave is infamous for his thought provoking music and incredible videos. This song and video is no different. This song is the first from his upcoming debut album ‘Psychodrama’ produced by the legend that is Fraser T Smith. Dave uses this track to discuss social and racial inequality and how it is to be a Black man in a white man’s world. As a fellow Nigerian, I love the accompanying video as it was filmed in my country and shows the beauty of it. As a Black woman, I love the issues raised, I feel this a song I would love my younger cousins to hear and to digest. I relate to so many things mentioned in this song as i’m sure many other people do. Statements like “Cause you need to do double what they do so you can level them” are things my mum told me from a young age and advice I know many other young black people have been taught. So many statements in this song are powerful; “A kid dies, the blacker the killer, the sweeter the news and if he’s white you give him a chance, he’s ill and confused” reminding me pretty much of the term “Black on Black” crime. We never say “white on white crime” so why is it a specific issue when black people are concerned? I love the awareness Dave brings to these issues and it’s so sad to see the constant battle many of us have to face just because of the colour of our skin. Another point to add is that Dave features many fellow Black celebrities in the video to showcase the positive role models we have. Dave ends by saying “Black is all I know, there ain’t a thing that I would change in it” which is my sentiments exactly. Have a watch below;

Posted in music

Sunday Song of the Day

Afrobeats are considered a style of music incorporating African music. Over the past few years it has become more mainstream and more popular.

“Woju Remix” released in 2005 is a song by Nigerian artist Kiss Daniel featuring fellow Nigerian singers Tiwa Savage and Davido. The song mixes Pidgin English with Yoruba language as well as English.

My favourite line is by Davido when he sings “She look my neck and say odikwa bright” meaning his neck is shining because of the gold around it. The song is a great song to play in the weather and the video is great. Take a listen and watch below.