Nigerian Hip-hop artist, Falz, is known for making both club-banger dancing type music, as well as music where he inserts political commentary. He has worked with many popular African hip-hop artists like- Davido, Burna Boy, and Maleek Berry. His music includes the classic braggadocio style of rap as well as conscious lyrics. His song and video, “This is Nigeria”, is a spin-off of the popular song- “This is America” by American artist, Childish Gambino.
Chilidish Gambino’s This is America is a rap song full of political commentary on the current state of America. The chorus repeats, ” This America. Look how how i’m livin’ now, don’t catch you slippin’ now.” The video depicts symbols of police brutality, black violence, and race fueled violence. In the video, he randomly shoots the choir that was singing the hook and bridge of the song with an automatic weapon. This part is suggested to be symbolic of Dylan Roof’s mass murder in a church in Charleston. The video got over 600 million views on youtube and ignited much discussion about race relations in the U.S, and it raised the bar for conceptual creative writing for American hip-hop artists.
Falz’s This is Nigeria does the same thing for his country. The entire set up of the video is identical to Gambino’s in ways. The setting was a large garage with different scenes being acted out throughout the video. Falz’s video included a lot more street violence as opposed to racially charged violence. Some of his lyrics include, “This is Nigeria/ Never ending recession oh/ When looters and killers and stealers are contesting election oh/ Politicians way thief some billion and e no dey go prison oh/”. His spin-off earned 18 million views on youtube and sparked conversation and awareness about crime and corrupt politics in Nigeria.
Falz paid homage to, and executed a version of, an American hip-hop song which visually and musically brought issues facing society to life. The parallel shows the black people across the diaspora face similar issues of oppression, and violence in our communities. Falz show’s how Nigerians can relate to the unrest blacks feel in America and all over the continent of Africa.