Burna and 2kay once made music in the South-South of Nigeria.
Burna Boy and Mr 2kay are dominating the headlines due to the ongoing robbery case. But the connection between both stars didn’t start with this issue. It began in Port Harcourt.
Before the lights and cameras that Lagos afforded, the city of Port Harcourt hosted both stars at the start of their careers. Burna Boy and Mr 2kay share affiliations that run deeper than the music industry in Lagos. Port Harcourt was once the home of these stars where they made music and enjoyed relative success as musicians.
Mr 2kay was a bigger artist. An indigene born David Abiye, Mr 2kay’s roots run deep into the ghetto of Port Harcourt. You know how Lagos artists such as Olamide and Reminisce keep screaming that they are from the ‘streets’? Well, 2kay is from the street too.
He grew up with his single mother and the family survived by hawking food with the young Mr 2kay also assisting his mum. While hawking he accidentally discovered his singing talent, as he could create songs based on whatever product he had balanced on his head. His customers encouraged him, recognising him for his talent.
After his elementary and secondary school education, Mr 2kay left Bonny Island with the aim of gaining admission into the University of Port Harcourt. He eventually got admitted to study Visual Arts at the University of Port Harcourt but soon dropped out due to lack of funding.
After dropping out, he returned to his native Bonny Island where he hustled as a construction worker to raise more funds. He was later signed to Grafton Entertainment, owned by businessman, Tonye Ibiama, who came to his rescue in 2010. He dropped his debut album, ‘Waterside Boy’ in 2012 which was highly acclaimed in the Niger Delta.
For Burna Boy, (Damini Ogulu) things were different. Burna Boy returned to Port Harcourt in 2011 after fleeing the UK. While in the UK back in 2010, Burna Boy was arrested by London Police for allegedly being part of a gang and stabbing someone to death. He was tried as a minor and sent to jail.
After 11 months, he was released and given two months parole plus community service on the grounds of being of ‘good behaviour’. But Burna is said to have disobeyed authorities and travelled back to Nigeria where he signed a record deal with Aristokrat Records. He later travelled back to the UK but was arrested at the airport and deported to Nigeria.
Burna Boy existed in a city where Mr 2kay dominated as a bigger artist. 2kay was a son of the city who made music based on the trending sounds. Burna was an alternative artist, with a different sound that attracted people due to its novelty. While Burna was still a struggling artist in the city, Mr 2kay had already captured regional attention, with his hit song ‘Waterside Boy,’ launching him to relevance. The single inspired an album in 2012. Burna Boy’s debut single in Nigeria was released in 2010, it was a freestyle titled ‘Freedom’. His next single ‘Abeg abeg’, became a regional hit record.
“They say because I no dey speak pidgin, that I am not a Rivers State indigene. They say I dey freestyle too much no written,” he sang on the record.
Little known Burna then signed with Aristokrat in July 2011, released two mixtapes ‘Burn Notice’ and ‘Burn Identity’ in April and November 2011 respectively. He then went on to drop the mid-tempo hit record ‘Like to Party’ in mid-2012. With two other successful singles ‘Tonight’ and ‘Run my race’, Burna rose to fame, making a name for himself. The rest became history.
2kay would later move to Lagos, dropping the song ‘Bubugaga’, which found traction in the UK. In 2016, he dropped an EP ‘Count it all joy.’
It is due to this shared history, that's why some people can't wrap their heads around the unfolding events.
“I’m shocked that Burna Boy would have done what he did.” A label executive who asked not to be named says. “These people are from the same place, so it’s shocking that Burna Boy has been fingered."
A group of robbers were apprehended after a lengthy investigation by the police into the armed robbery and assault of singer M 2kay. 2kay was attacked after his performance at the Buckwyld N’ Breathless concert which held on October 13, 2017 at the Eko Hotels & Suits.
What happened to Mr 2kay was shocking. Mr 2Kay was in the room with a friend and struggled with one of the robbers, as the others punched and hit him with a gun, repeatedly warning that they will shoot if he didn't calm down. The robbers led and locked 2Kay’s friend in the bathroom, while the others tied the singer’s arms, legs and mouth, beat him to a pulp and took his valuables including jewelry, clothes, perfumes, phones, and money. They also cut the room’s intercom (phone) to avoid any form of communication as they left the hotel.
And somehow, all of this violence and armed robbery has come to the doorsteps of Burna Boy. According to the police, Burna Boy was the mastermind, after he hired the robbers via his road manager, Joel Kantiock. Why he did that hasn’t been confirmed. But according to sources, and a twitter DM conversation which has been made public, Burna took offence at Mr 2kay rebuking him for his comments on ‘beating pastors.’
In a recent interview with Hip TV Mr 2kay reacts to the recent comment of burnaboy claiming to beat up any pastors or preachers.
“For me what Burna Boy said is a no, how will you say you will beat up pastors that pray for this country day and night,” 2kay had said. “I don’t know if he is high or drunk for him to have said that. But for me it is totally wrong. If pastors lay a curse on you, then you are done” he said.
Burna Boy was obviously angry at 2kay reacting to his threats, and decided to teach him a lesson. But there are a thousand ways to deal with a perceived slight on your person without committing a crime. Burna Boy has been declared wanted for his actions, and the conversations about him have moved to the toxic space of criminality, gang associations and more.
Omotore, the gang leader, told Punch that he was invited by Joel Kantiok, Burna Boy’s road manager, who told him his boss needed to deal with Mr 2Kay. He said:
“On that day, I was at home when Joel called me on the telephone and said Mr. 2Kay had to be beaten up. He said Mr. 2Kay had issues with Burna Boy.
“On getting to the hotel, he gave me the room number where Mr. 2Kay was. He led me and three others, including one Sunny, to the elevator and told a security man to open the elevator for us. We posed as room service officials, entered his room and beat him up. We tied him up and collected his phones, a wristwatch and some other things. I was paid N50,000.”
Igwe corroborated Omotore’s story. He however told Punch they did not cart away Mr 2Kay’s property. He said:
“My friend, Tunmise, contacted me on the telephone. He said Burna Boy told his road manager that he was having a misunderstanding with Mr. 2Kay. I am also a fan of Burna Boy, so I decided to volunteer myself. Tunmise came to pick me at Bariga and we went to the hotel.”
The suspects were paraded on Monday at the state command headquarters in Ikeja by the Lagos State Acting Police Commissioner Edgal Imohimi.
Imohimi told Punch that the suspects were tracked through footage caught on the CCTV cameras installed in the hotel. He gave an account of the stolen items, adding that the robbery on Mr 2Kay was carried out to “teach him a lesson.” He said: “I advise Ogulu aka Burna Boy, to report himself at the nearest police station since efforts to locate him at his residence or any known hangouts, have proved abortive.”