This song squeezes in as a top pick out of a conscious album with several hits. The overarching message to take away from this one is that Nigeria (but ideally the world) needs to find their way back to communal humanity focused culture we once upheld.
One of the keys to comprehending how deep this song runs is understanding the Nigerian cultural habits sprinkled throughout. From the first verse, “One of my brother,” a listener might assume Falz is referring to a literal blood brother. However, in Nigerian culture any and everyone can be referred to as a “brother”, “sister”, etc regardless of actual familial relations. This ties into the title of the song, “Brother’s Keeper,” which might call up memories Nigerian parents hounding into us the mantra that we should “be our brother’s keeper.” As the song continues on, however, the listener is forced to acknowledge how this cultural practice is kind of ironic now with the way we are becoming more and more individualistic. Falz brings this point home partway through the song with the verses, “Me am not my brother’s keeper / I no dey send my brother / Cause we no get the same mother. / … We no get the same father ” He also points out how far off we have strayed from our culture without realizing it with the verses, “I for tell you the truth / But mi o mo bi ti mo fi si (But I don’t know where I put it).”
With some of the cultural understandings in place, the historical references specific to Nigeria stand as the other important aspect of this song. His first reference, “Servant of God dey break law? / Melo lo ti ri? (How many have you seen?)” points to the numerous financial and/or sexual scandals that have afflicted religious “leaders” in Nigeria. His next reference is to the handful of tragedies that have happened concerning oil tankers traveling in unideal areas and exploding, with the most recent one leading to the death of several schoolchildren. With this reference he connects to the way some Nigerians will snap pictures rather than help during a crisis, and how even the health care industry has been corrupted. He subsequently makes references to corruption in the oil industry, government corruption, pharmacists selling fake drugs, and exploitation of girls all for the sake of money and personal well-being without regard for the humanity of others. He perfectly summarizes how this behavior looks with the verse, “Na only me come this world,” which is physically impossible and points to the absurdity of people’s actions.
Falz closes out with this simple message: “God na everybody’s father / No be only you dey this world oh oh.”
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