By Bankole Wright
For a period of time, the Nigerian music industry has been marked by frivolities and musical emptiness. This means that the Nigerian music industry has been characterized by a repertoire of moral, political, social barrenness, torrents of noise and encouraged moral decadence which has overtime eaten into the heart of the industry and has created of cliché of nothingness.
Taking a retrospective look at the collection of music of the 90s, one can simply vouch its commitment towards the society- its pains and pressures whereby making it a committed art; one sold out to serving the purpose of exploring and exposing societal maladies for transformation and social tranquillity. One can readily make a bold reference to Fela Anikulapo Kuti; whose songs borders on a huge stock of social criticisms and satirical lyrical renditions. It was a period of fearless and radical opposition against maladies in Nigeria.
However, as time passed, committed music began to wear out, motives began to change. From reality to fiction and fantasy, the Nigerian music industry has unfortunately thrown out one major function of its existence which is its role as a voice and a prophet of hope. Well, despite the saddening situation, some days ago I became optimistic when I heard Falz D Bahd Guy’s new song titled Wehdone Sir.
First let me start by boldly saying that we rarely have creative and innovative musicians in Nigeria these days, which get me asking; what is the standard of a good music in Nigeria? What makes a song good and worthwhile? I would not go into the structure of music as I am not a music analyst but I can confidently consider the quality of a song through its lyrics, and Wehdone Sir got to me impressed in terms of its lyrics.
The first verse opens up with the exploration of a character, an individual, devious in deeds, a cheat, promiscuous and of course an unrepentant liar.
He opens by saying;
“You pop bottles when you dey club
But your rent dey hard you to pay up
This character according to Falz is a veritable debtor yet he flaunts brand new cars, one who promises several ladies marriage just to win their gullible hearts. This verse therefore reflects a man in the society, a regular man we meet in our everyday life, the hopeless, the jobless, the pilferer, the unrepentant debtor. Then he went further to say in the chorus of how he( he as an eye-the eye of the society) is aware of the excesses but “who am I to take a action” he laments. This reflects a silenced society, quieted masses. Therefore, that eye (the society) says Weh Done Sir.
The second verse, a rather more direct approach to the decaying nation opens on a religious note, an exploiting pastor who travels abroad for holiday from the tithe and offerings of the congregation, yet the gullible congregation go out to hustle for money to be given to the pastor to spend on himself rather than for the progression of the church.
“man of God dey chop, him dey robust
but with your small salary you will pay
With all efforts in the hustle and struggling to make ends meet, the Apostles who receive the tithe and offerings are receiving more international recognition.
Falz did not stop there, he goes straight to the politicians; the governors who buy houses abroad while the masses have nowhere to lay their heads.
“you say money no dey
Make we understand
But his (politician) private jet is about to land
He goes further to say;
“you din know when you are splashing out
But you say the naira is crashing down”
The chorus is indeed a reflection of the decadence in the society; at the individual, religious and political levels. In what looks like a satire, Falz D Bahd Guy exposes the condition of Nigeria.
My optimism here is that the masses are no longer silent, we may not be able to take immediate actions but we say Wehdone Sir, to leaders who use the hand of wealth and power to slap the faces of the less privileged and the poor, Falz goes deeper to identify that one day they will all meet their waterloo. We the masses may not have the power to take actions against corrupt and exploitative practices as well as moral decadence and ethical imbalance but all we say through the voice of a sensitive and committed artiste is “wehdone sir”; Wehdone to stealing, looting of public fund, exploitation of gullible worshippers because one day the wind will blow and the anus of the fowl will be revealed. There will always be a day of reckoning.
This insightful song which thrusts deep into the condition of Nigeria is a pointer to the fact that Nigerian music industry still has a hope of growing into being committed to its society, away from the crave and lust for money but a voice speaking out the truth on behalf of the masses.
Falz D Bahd Guy has indeed proven himself to be an extremely creative, artistic and intelligent artiste who does not just possess a funny personality but is also observant of the present decay and deterioration of the nation.
One major tool for social transformation is the music industry. If nothing is done, nothing will ever happen.
By Bankole Wright