In the interview that started off to lighthearted affinity tales with Africa, Burna Boy talked about the African culture, the African woman, hypocrisy, identity, his career, his upbringing and the late, but influential Nipsey Hussle.
While Calloway talked about how Chicago rapper, Rhymefest talked about his newfound knowledge of Africa, Burna, who recently got featured on a YouTube spotlight says he does not blame African-Americans for such ignorance.
He blames the problem on conditioning which comes from oppression, slavery and misinformation. He also notes that Africa is the same people divided by peculiar experiences.
On the power of blackness
As the interview progressed, Burna was quizzed on what he felt Africa was. Just before noting that Africans were, “Kings, giants, creators, originators...,” he asked a question that intimated that Africa could be the greatest power on earth if we all traced our roots back home (Africa).
He said, “If we all found our way back home and like, we are all doing all these that we’re doing here back home, who would be the leader of the world? You cannot be strong anywhere if your roots are not strong. We need to make our roots are strong enough before we can demand. All these marching s**t and all that… are not priority.
“If Africa was looked at the way it should be looked at, then you would have no problems over here, you would have no problems in the UK or wherever there is Africans because we are only as strong as our roots are. For me, I feel this is the time to come home,” he continued.
Asides that, he also notes the problems with Africans in Africa who keep fighting each other and are not taking pride in Africanism in a way that could sell Africa to black people outside Africa. He then talks about this from his grandfather's perspective and from the influence of fashion.
The influence of African-Americans is also immense on Africans. Burna agrees, he talks about how his parents used to want him to listen to Nursery rhymes, but he would always listen to Naughty by Nature, DMX and so forth instead of a Fela Kuti.
He says, “Until I grew up (When I grew up) and started understanding what was going, I slapped myself like, ‘What you doing?’”
Sway could relate. He felt the problem was though black men were coming from a marginalized background, they looked empowered and confident in their lyrical content and music videos. Thus, it made young black like Burna Boy on the other side of the world want to be like them.
Burna had another perspective. He says, “That’s another way to look at it, but you have to understand that there’s also different parts of Africa. There’s the Africa of the rich kids; where it’s like they just got heavy from… And then, there’s the Africa of; they don’t even know where to sleep type s**t, they’ll sleep on the mud and then the rain will fall and wash them, and then there kids will die… Two of them are gonna have different views.”
On his upbringing
The award-winning artist says he had the best of both worlds, “I had friends who had everything had I had friends who had nothing.”
On his career trajectory
Sway asked Burna what the moment was that changed his career, and Burna replied that it was not a moment, but instead a long build-up that led him to where he is. He noted that life was a gradual process and that careers need foundation for solidity.
On illicit drug use in Africa
Sway’s co-host, DB asked Burna Boy if he thought the drug epidemic in the west had spread through the influence of music to Africa. Burna replied that, “Nah, man. Let’s just say whatever you guys have here; whatever you guys do here, we do over there.”
While he claims drug abuse was “not necessarily” a product of western influence, he says, “As I said, when something becomes cool to do over here, somehow… It’s crazy.”
The issue of the subtle elevation of the African women over the black women that grew up outside Africa came up, Burna says, “The African woman is basically god. There’s no other way to describe it; like you can create anything (Laughs).
Just before continuing, Burna Boy noted that he understood the question to be based on whether there was (black) hypocrisy in the world. He answers, “There is, unfortunately… Some people are gonna do some stuff behind closed doors, some people are gonna do it in the open. It doesn’t mean they are both not doing the same s**t. It just means one person is good at hiding it and the other person is not (Laughs).”
Why Steel and Copper?
He says, “It’s the most solid type of elements as far as we’re concerned because that’s where all the weapons made from and all the stuff, so it’s steel and copper… I had a saying that’s like, “Real and tougher, proper than steel and copper.”
On Nipsey Hussle
When a caller talks about Nipsey Hussle to Burna Boy, he says, “For me, nobody in the world was more of a man than Nipsey Hussle… I feel like he is everything I want to be. He was just doing so much; I feel like Malcolm X and Tupac and all of them came back into him, and then, they just took him away again.”
On the night of the interview on April 7, 2019, Burna Boy performed at the Apollo Theatre.
You can watch the full interview below;
Burna Boy also gave a wicked freestyle at the end of the interview.