Eedris Abdulkareem vs Burna Boy: Of entitled way pavers and delusional self-made superstars

Patrick Doyle

By Patrick Doyle

In the instant case of Eedris Abdulkareem and Burna Boy, I feel the need to make some clarifications. Going by the title of this treatise “entitled way pavers” speaks to the audacity of Eedris to ascribe the hallowed title of “way paver” to himself and the portion that mentions “delusional self-made superstars” refers to Burna Boy for his juvenile arrogance.

Off the bat, if we were to situate our understanding of the term the Nigerian music industry to contemporary Nigerian music dating back to when the first Nigerian music practitioner recorded music for public consumption, then the original way paver would be Rev. Josiah Ransome-Kuti (grandfather of music icon Fela Kuti), who recorded a musical work in 1922. That musical work is regarded as the first formal effort at commercialising and “popularising” Nigerian music. On the basis of this fact, Eedris had absolutely no locus to describe himself as a way paver for anybody.

That you precede someone in the order of entry into a trade doesn’t make you a way paver, especially when you are not the founding father of the trade.

Coming to the petulant Burna Boy, try as he may, his musical umbilical cord is inescapably tied to the Kuti family. I want to believe that we have established that a Kuti, Rev. Josiah Ransome-Kuti is the father of contemporary music in Nigeria.  If that is the case and Burna Boy plays contemporary music, the identity and nationality of his way paver is clear.

Going further, his grandfather’s claim to fame is attached to his relationship with another Kuti, Fela Kuti, who he worked with as band manager. His mother, Bose, who is arguably the best artiste manager in Africa, inherited her skills from her father, Burna’s grandfather, who in turn, has the Kuti family to thank for the opportunity to be a manager.

In addition, Burna’s grandfather is the doyen of radio and nightclub disc jockeys in Nigeria, without him paving the way for Nigerian music on our airwaves and nightclubs where would we be today? Even his claim of “finding himself” in Ghana is not dissimilar to Fela Kuti’s sojourn in Ghana in the 70s.

I hope these few illustrations will suffice to justify the title of this piece “Of Entitled Way Pavers and Delusional Self-Made Superstars.”