Young Nigerians have mentally disconnected from the woes of the country and it shows in contemporary music.
I am not really big on Skales' music (anymore) but I was curious to listen to this remix. People had been raving about it online. I am pessimistic about Twitter hype but a voice in my head convinced me to give it a try.
I watched the video and I must admit that it is a nice song primarily driven by Burna Boy's input.
Another thing I noticed is that 'Temper' remix is based on Fela Anikulapo-Kuti's hit song 'Sorrow Tears & Blood'. Released in 1977, 'Sorrow, Tears & Blood' is one of the Abami-Eda's greatest hits and one of his most poignant records.
The song chronicles the invasion of unknown soldiers of his residence, the first Kalakuta Republic, the assault of Fela's band members, his family and his queens.
This incident would be one of the biggest tragedies in Fela's rather colourful life. His mother died from injuries in the hospital after she was thrown off a balcony. As for Fela, he would start from scratch, moving to Ghana to rebuild his empire.
On 'Sorrow, Tears & Blood' you can hear the pain in Fela's voice as he recounts this tragic day. It's a bittersweet musical experience. The music composition is arguably his best, the narrative perhaps the most lucid and the tragedy, very personal. The entire song is, however, one groovy record that will make you move your feet as you imagined Kalakuta up in flames.
Burna Boy and Skales have used this groove from a very personal Fela record to score a dope track.
Where Fela sang "Hey, yeah/Everybody run, run, run/Everybody scatter scatter/Some people lost some bread", Burna and Skales replaced it with "Hey, yeah/Everybody run, run, run/Everybody scatter scatter/Hey, yeah dance don catch fire/Hey, yeah boys don start to maya."
In music, this is called an interpolation, when one singer takes the lines of another singer and changes it for his or her own purpose but without changing the melody.
Essentially, while Fela used his rhythm to speak about how he was abandoned by Nigerians as his haven was ransacked, the new school acts of Burna and Skales decided to turn up using the same melody.
These pop acts are not the only ones guilty of this, using Fela's harmonies and rhythms in their party anthems. A lot of new school acts in Nigeria borrow a lot from Fela but remarkably not his socio-political content.
Wizkid calls himself Young Fela. Burna Boy is an apostle of Abami Eda. Upcoming rapper Dremo titled his single 'Fela' and paid homage to the Afrobeat creator as the originator of the 'dab' in his video.
While all these acts are influenced by Fela, they lack a key ingredient of what made him tick- his political and social values. Why is this so?
On an episode of Loose Talk Podcast titled 'Nigeria We Hail Thee', lawyer and human rights activist Ayo Sogunro noted that many Nigerians had mentally seceded from the country. This means that a lot of Nigerians do not care about what happens in the country. They only care about themselves.
This observation is very valid when it comes to young Nigerians. Jaded about the country, the ruling elite, the political class, and the quality of life, many young people have pulled out from the country mentally. It's now every man for himself.
This individualistic approach shows in how Nigerians now worship wealth rather than progress. 'As long as I am rich, as long as I don hammer I am good. Wetin concern me?' is the mindset of the average Nigerian today.
The turn-up generation, this who we are. Why sing about the problems of the country, when we can groove? So we borrow Fela's sound but ditch his content because we can't deal with Nigeria and its wahala.
Instead of writing and singing about the woes of the country, young Nigerians have turned to escapism to block away from the troubles of the country. From literature, arts, music and movies young Nigerians are purposely dipping their works in escapism and not consciousness.
The only thing we are conscious of is the next party, the next football match or the next high. When politics comes on we can't deal with that. We don't want to. Tweeting about politics is not the same as being active in it.
With seductive synths, sharp snares and an Afrobeat rhythm, Skales and Burna Boy have pushed out another escapism pill to help us block out the troubles of our dear country as it burns just like Kalakuta Republic in 1977.