Home / Editorial / Afro Beat: Why Tekno, Wizkid And Burna Boy should be praised and not Fela Kuti

Afro Beat: Why Tekno, Wizkid And Burna Boy should be praised and not Fela Kuti

The 21st century music industry is a serious business. Twenty (22) years after the death of Nigerian’s most celebrated musician, the African sound (Afro beat as popularly called) has been struggling on it’s way to the front line of world.

Tekno, Wizkid, Burna Boy and a couple of other Nigerian acts like Tiwa Savage, Mr Eazi and Davido have vehemently resisted the rejection of African music by the western world by constantly pushing their sounds and expanding their horizons by taking huge and commendable risks.

Fela Kuti

Fela Anikulapo Kuti in 1970’s started off by rubbing off the Nigerian music and Ghanian sounds to produce the sound popularly known as Afro beat.

The Nigerian Music Activist deliberately performed in pidgin- English for effective communication to ensure a resounding welcome of Afro beat by the world.

The legend was jailed in 1984 by the then Muhammadu Buhari’s led government for currency smuggling which Amnesty International and others denounced as politically motivated. On his release after several protest by different activists, Fela Kuti who mostly sang against the failure of the Nigerian government to meet the needs of her citizens was freed by General Ibrahim Babangida .

Fela Kuti who was a political giant expressing his grievances and displeasure towards the Nigerian leaders through music died on 2nd August 1997, 3 years before I was born.

Tekno

Is Tekno Better than Fela Kuti?

Today, Tekno, Wizkid and Burna boy have on their different routes influenced and promoted the acceptance of afro beat by the rest of the world. Tekno who recently produced Swae Lee’s “Don’t Be Late” featuring American Hipop star Drake, a song off his upcoming album is an Afro beat material just about to take over the billboards.

He also performed “Don’t Jealous Me” with Yemi Alade and Mr Eazi on Beyonce’s Lion King: The Gift Album in July 2019.

Wizkid

Wizkid and Fela Kuti, Is Wizkid Better than Fela Kuti?

Wizkid on the other hand, has since 2015 with Ojuelegba’s remix featuring Drake re-introduced Afro beat to the world and went further in 2017 to show its diversity and flexibility with his Sounds From the Other Side project which saw the world appreciate how awesome Afro beat is.

The Starboy, Wizkid has since then collaborated with world renown acts like Drake, Beyonce, Chris brown, etc ; featured twice on billboard top 100 charts and sold out 20,000 capacity 02 Arena in London just to further make a statement to music stakeholders as to why Afro beat is the newest and best pop sound in the world.

Afro Beat: Why Tekno, Wizkid And Burna Boy should be praised and not Fela Kuti

Is Burna Boy Better than Fela Kuti?

Burna Boy on his own, delivered a solo performance on Beyonce’s Lion King The King Album in 2019, making him the only artist to do so on the album. In January 2018, Burna Boy was featured on “Sunshine Riptide”, a track from Fall Out Boy ‘s Grammy -nominated seventh studio album, MANIA (2018).

In February 2018, Outside (Burna Boy’s 3rd studio album) debuted at number 3 on the Billboard Reggae Albums chart. On 24 June 2019, Burna Boy won Best International Act at the 2019 BET Awards where his mum gave the epic acceptance speech that was celebrated by lovers of Afro beat.

She said, “Thank you BET, Thank you, Africa, because that’s the constituency for which we got noticed in the first place.

“The message from Burna, I believe will be that every black person should please remember that you were Africans before you became anything else.”

In July 2019, Burna Boy was announced as
Apple Music ‘s Up Next artist.

All these, just to mentioned but a few couples by the unlisted overwhelming records of Davido, Tiwa Savage and Mr Eazi, these 21st Afro beat icons have indeed been used, played, deceived and fooled on their way to sell Afro beat to the world. Is Davido better than Fela Kuti?

Drake in 2017 failed to show up for Wizkid’s “Come Closer” video shoot for no justified reasons after acquiring the African music scene by jumping on Wizkid’s Ojuelegba remix.

Africa is the second most populated continent in the world and is the most sort after musical market and Nigerian acts who are based in Africa’s music capital (Lagos) have been used as a promotional tool to capture Africa.

These acts have been used on several occasions to capture the African market by several acts across the world.

They come with the intention of expanding their own fan base, capitalizing on the desperation and competition within the head of Afro beat on who sells it out to the world to see their way through the rich soils of the African market.

But be it as it may, this has upheld Afro beat in the world music scene and giving these acts a foundation necessary to sustain the legacies of Fela Kuti’s struggle.

With this, I belief Tekno, Wizkid, Burna Boy and other Nigerian artists pushing Afro beat to the world should even be celebrated more than the iconic Fela Kuti. Or shouldn’t they?

Tekno and Fela Kuti, Is Tekno Better than Fela Kuti?

Wizkid and Fela Kuti, Is Wizkid Better than Fela Kuti?

Davido and Fela Kuti, Is Davido Better than Fela Kuti?

Burna boy and Fela Kuti, Is Burna Boy Better than Fela Kuti?

What do you think?

Article written by Dat Kulgee

About Onyema Courage

Onyema Courage is a passionate writer , a music critic , talent manager and a music business consultant. Twitter & Instagram - @iam_kulgee

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