Universally, the entertainment industry is synonymous with controversy.
However, only a few entertainers have been able to exploit it in a positive way. A Nigerian rapper, singer-songwriter, and lawyer, Folarin Falana, popularly known as Falz, is one of them.
Falz’s background as a son of a legal luminary and fierce social justice advocate, Chief Femi Falana, SAN, is a further revalidation of the saying that ‘an apple does not fall far from its tree.’
His thought-provoking music has earned him comparisons with the late afrobeat pioneer and political activist, Fela Anklápó Kuti.
The Daily Post looks at the various times the lawyer-cum-rapper has stirred controversy with confrontational songs.
This Is Nigeria
Falz has been making confrontational music for a while, but his 2018 cover of Childish Gambino’s ‘This Is America’; and This Is Nigeria’ was the song that introduced him to most people as a socially conscious singer.
In the song, the rapper addressed many sociopolitical issues.
“Extremely Poor. The medical facilities are poor. We operate a predatory, neocolonial capitalist system that is founded on fraud and exploitation, and therefore you are bound to have corruption,” he raps in the opening verse of the song.
Falz called out Philomina Chieshe, a sales clerk at the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) in Makurdi, Benue State, who claimed a mystery snake swallowed N36 million in cash in her possession.
“Wey da Madam Philomena
Money vanish from your office
You talk, say na animal.”
The UK-trained lawyer also called out fake pastors and prophets and addressed President Muhammadu Buhari’s controversial criticism of Nigerian youths as lazy at the 2018 Commonwealth Business Forum in London.
“This is Nigeria
Praise and worship we singing now
Pastor put his hands n the breast of his members
He’s pulling the demons out
This is Nigeria
No electricity daily o
Your people are still working multiple jobs
And they talk say we lazy o.”
However, what stirred the most controversy was not the lyrics of the song but the singer’s use of hijab-wearing ladies in the video to depict the abducted Chibok girls.
Falz’s most recent confrontational song, ‘Yakubu, which featured ‘Vector tha Viper, is titled after the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu.
Yakubu conducted the controversial February 25 presidential election and announced APC Presidential candidate Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the President-Elect. He has been condemned by many due to some purported electoral malpractice, violence, and lack of transparency.
The song was released on March 30, 2023. In the song, the rapper questioned the INEC chairman’s judgment on the just concluded 2023 general elections.
“Mr Yakubu! ẹ ma n se bi fraudster
You don’t want to prosper
Come and collect Oscar
Three hundred billion te gba lọwọ ijọba
K le fi se ná sir? (A ti fi je mossa)
Twitter dey talk
This one go hot
Other chairman corrupt but
This one is not
Youth sef dey talk
When we protest, they shot
Make we carry PVC
Make we see wetin go sup (Go sup)
Suddenly, we scatter,” the rappers lament in the opening verse.
In the second verse, Vector raps: “Mr Yakubu who is not like Gowon (No)
He’s not head of state (No)
He doesn’t need a gun (No, no)
He took the results verified by a lot (Yes)
The honorable court even ruled back then that all parties could go ahead and access the source of their claims.”
In a recent interview, Falz said he is against the victory of the president-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, because “the rules and regulations that were supposed to guide these elections were not applied.”
He also disclosed that he does confrontational music because he is not afraid of death, stressing that life in Nigeria is not meaningful.
He added that he would rather go down fighting for justice than remain silent and die from the failed system of the country.