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Cobhams Asuquo, Using Music as a Weapon

In a recently released track titled, Boosit, Nigerian musician and producer, Cobhams Asuquo, delivered a moving presentation on a number of pressing sociopolitical issues. Asuquo, who produced Aṣa's internationally acclaimed first album ASA, collaborated with the comedic-rapper, Falz

In a recently released track titled, Boosit, Nigerian musician and producer, Cobhams Asuquo, delivered a moving presentation on a number of pressing sociopolitical issues. Asuquo, who produced Aṣa‘s internationally acclaimed first album ASA, collaborated with the comedic-rapper, Falz on Boosit.

Spoken in an impressive Ibadan-Yoruba accent, ‘boosit’ is a direct transliteration of the English word ‘bullshit.’ This is exactly what the artists capture in the line “if you must to be talking, you must to be making sense.” Presently in Nigeria, there is a growing popular impatience with bad rule, human rights violations and inequality. As the society develops at full speed, the terms of engagement are rapidly changing.

 

Fela Kuti, Music as a Weapon

Fela Kuti, Music as a Weapon

 

The song itself scores a strategic point by associating with the master singer-political activist, Fela Anikulapo Kuti. Early into Falz’s flow, the terms ‘coat’ and ‘agbada’ pop up–terms that have gained popularity as symbols of civilian politicians. Here he mimicks the ‘agbada’ and ‘suit’ in Fela’s Beasts of No Nation.

‘You wear your coat and your title/You wear agbada with a sharp shoe’ vs ‘Animal dey wear agbada/Animal dey put suit.’

 

Further along, he brings to memory Fela’s Teacher Don’t Teach Me Nonsense with the line ‘don’t teach me nonsense…teacher don’t teach me nonsense.’ Although Cobhams’s songs are known to be didactic, this is his first time coming out with full force with a socio-political critique. “I don’t usually do this,” he said in the song but this – he did well. To sing is noteworthy, but to sing to inspire and direct the voices of a generation toward the achievement of collective aspirations and demands is a challenge for any musician.

 

The past few months have rocked Nigeria. From state governments’ inability to pay workers, declining crude oil prices, to the climbing inflation rate, living has been a difficult feat for a vast majority. The people, however, are no longer suffering and smiling. They are speaking up, organizing, and demanding. The office of the citizen is now becoming a formidable voice in Nigerian politics and leadership.

 

On stage at 'Hear Word! Naija Woman Talk True'

On stage at ‘Hear Word! Naija Woman Talk True’

 

In many places, there has been a spirited push for an adjustment of gender relations. Omoni Oboli’s Wives on Strike and Hear Word! Naija Woman Talk True are brilliant examples that have led local discussions in that regard. Women can not be seen as commodities any longer. Moreover, the idea that a woman does not deserve the same opportunity to thrive and even surpass a man, that a man is inherently lord and ultimate, is not the development that Africa desperately seeks.

 

This new generation of Nigerians are also refusing to see religion merely as a cultural activity. Greater significance is now placed on sound doctrine, verifiable clergy pronouncements, and tangible evidence of all-round growth. More than ever, there is a mounting pressure on religious and cultural institutions and agencies to really make sense.

 

Whether you are a politician, pastor, husband, wife, or a foreign institution, if you cannot give the new generation something–don’t tell them nothing. No boosit.

 

Listen to Boosit Below!

Ifeoluwa Adedeji
Lagos, Nigeria – Ifeoluwa works in PR at Red Media Africa, where he engages governance communication, citizenship and enterprise advocacy, and public relations. An alum of the University of Ibadan and The Speech Academy, he is on Twitter @TheIfeAdedeji
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