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Singer doesn’t need a police case, the music is all that should matter

Burna Boy doesn’t need this. At this stage of his career, the stakes are too high for him to jeopardize a promising future for a ‘slight’ on his name.

Over the past weekend, a conversation on social media about the place of Burna Boy in Nigerian music erupted. Many believe that the fusion artist was terribly underrated by fans in Nigeria, and deserves some more.

The argument for this was solid. This was a guy with a string of achievements in his career, including recording with Drake, touring packed venues across the world, and more recently, being the only guest artist on Fall Out Boy’s tenth studio album. Musically, Burna Boy possesses one of the most unique sound formation, with an artistry that is neither limited nor hindered. An artist with his quality and range of music talent should be competing in recognition and success with Wizkid and Davido. The man has enough quality to have that. He is that good.

But why isn’t he at that level? Why doesn’t his star shine unhindered, just like his music? Why doesn’t his name grow far and beyond, bringing unimaginable recognition and success his way? Why isn’t Burna Boy popularly recognized as one of the best Nigerian musicians of his time?

The answer is upon us. Yesterday, the police released a press release and a video that was surprising to many. 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.

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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.

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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.”

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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.”

This turn of events hurts. This is a guy who has been on a steady music run, and has an album planned for December. He has a headline concert ready to go on December 17, 2017, with promotion already heavy on social media. But to throw all that away and destabilise his career for the sole reason of ‘dealing with Mr 2kay’ isn’t careless, it is evil.

Burna Boy and Mr 2kay’s relationship didn’t start today. Back in Port Harcourt, before their migration in Lagos, the duo dominated the oil-rich city. They created a rivalry in the South-South, with 2kay edging Burna due to his street cred and music. Burna moved to Lagos via Aristokrat Records, and the rest is history. Whether he is eventually found guilty or not, hiring armed robbers to attack a colleague isn’t what should be a part of the conversations around him. How does one come back from blatant criminality? How?

Burna Boy is insanely talented but for an artist, talent is never enough. The string of controversies that have followed the singer all through his career have acted as distractions, diverting public attention from his art, towards his combustible personality. It’s like hustling backwards. He takes two steps forward, and erases one step with a needless and completely unnecessary action which diminishes his achievement.

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Burna Boy doesn’t need this. At this stage of his career, the stakes are too high for him to jeopardize a promising future for a ‘slight’ on his name. The music is all that should matter, with the artist championing his art. Right now, another controversy is affecting his career, and that shouldn’t be the case.

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