Burna Boy has shared his thoughts on the Afrobeats genre, criticising it for lacking any “substance”.
The Nigerian singer, songwriter and record producer made the comments in a new interview with Apple Music. Speaking with host Zane Lowe, he recalled his less-than-fond take on the genre, and pointed out how he believes the majority of Afrobeats music is lacking in any deeper meaning.
This, he explained, is because he sees many of the artists as lacking any real “life experience”, which results in their final product being about “nothing”.
“Half of them, [actually,] 90 per cent of them, have almost no real-life experiences that they can understand,” he claimed in the discussion. “That’s why you hear most Nigerian music, African Music, or Afrobeats, as people call it, is mostly about nothing, literally nothing.”
“There is no substance to it, like nobody is talking about anything. It’s just a great time, an amazing time,” Burna Boy added. “But at the end of the day, life isn’t an amazing time.”
Unsurprisingly, the comments quickly sparked upset from fans and clips of the interview soon spread across social media, where many called out the musician for his take on the genre.
“Him talking about substance, what have he said bout d hardship we been through in Nigeria,” one user wrote on Twitter, blasting him for his comments. “How many times have he sang about this cruel government… What have he said about ds passed election?”
Another agreed, describing the opinion as “ignorance at its peak”. “A great time is not ‘nothing’. It is something. Something tangible. Afrobeats has lifted a lot of people out of depression,” they added. “@burnaboy should stop capping rubbish just because he wants to sell his album.”
Him talking about substance, what have he said bout d hardship we been through in Nigeria… How many times have he sang about this cruel government… What have he said about ds passed election, the subsidy removal what have contributed to it rather than to flex his life…
— mizzy (@grnd_mizzy) August 23, 2023
This is ignorance at its peak! A great time is not ‘nothing’. It is something. Something tangible. Afrobeats has lifted a lot of people out of depression. During #EndSARS protested using Davido’s FEM as our anthem. @burnaboy should stop capping rubbish just because he wants to…
— Dr. Kelvin Alaneme (@Kelvin_Alaneme) August 23, 2023
Some fans on the other hand offered an alternate take, and shared their solidarity with the musician after he criticised the genre.
“What Burna said is the truth. He tells [a] story and that should be the essence of music. He is an objective person, they mostly appear as being arrogant,” one wrote.
A second added that “Burna Boy didn’t even tell a single lie about his perspective on AfroBeats as a genre and not having ‘substance’ whatsoever,” claiming that it is his reluctance to “sugarcoat” his views that “makes him different entirely from the rest”.
What Burna said is the truth. He tells story and that should be the essence of music. He is an objective person, they mostly appear as being arrogant.
— ± (@yashim_jonathan) August 24, 2023
Burna Boy didn’t even tell a single lie about his perspective on AfroBeats as a genre and not having “substance” whatsoever, truth is bitter and will always be bitter and that’s what makes him different entirely from the rest. Burna Boy stands out amongst the whole industry… pic.twitter.com/nZKkAlc8xl
— benny. (@benny7gg) August 22, 2023
The track is taken from his upcoming seventh album ‘I Told Them’, which will be released tomorrow (August 25) via Spaceship/Bad Habit/Atlantic Records, and also came alongside an announcement of an intimate London show.
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