WHERE’S THE LOVE: YABA BULUKU BOYZ CELEBRATE AFROBEATS UNITY AMIDST SHATTA WALE RANTS
One of the biggest Amapiano songs of the year is “Yaba Buluku (Remix),” benefitting heavily from the magnetic presence of Nigerian singer and global superstar, Burna Boy. The initial version was released as part of DJ Tarico’s Moz Piano 2 album, with vocal features from his Mozambican colleagues, Nelson Tivane and Preck. The cross-continental success of “Yaba Buluku (Remix)” is one of the umpteen examples of African artists crossing country borders to collaborate and, in the process, uplift Afrobeats in its musical diversity.
Obviously, with Burna Boy as the bigger star, the profiles of DJ Tarico, Nelson Tivane and Preck have been given massive boosts, and they currently perform as a trio under the collective name of their breakout hit. Following up their recent collaboration with Nigerian rap hit-maker, Zoro, the group has teamed up with Nigerian singer Yemi Alade, popularly acclaimed as “Mama Africa” for her pan-African prominence. The song is a bubbly dance track that celebrates Afrobeats unity, with the inherent nod to Nigeria being the current Mecca of African music. The song is also coming at a time when that acknowledgement is vexing to Ghanaian Dancehall star Shatta Wale.
Over the last few days, Shatta Wale has taken to Twitter to reveal his gripes with the dominance of Nigerian music, claiming that there’s no love for non-Nigerian artists in the country. A lot of people have come at the singer, rightfully calling out the baselessness of his issues, seeing as more artists are increasing their visibility not just in Nigeria, but on the continent, by virtue of collaborations and associations with Nigerian stars. Yaba Buluku Boyz clearly cherish this connection, and their new single signifies that their allegiance lies in unity.
Shatta Wale claims Nigerians only show love to their own artists, Yaba Buluku Boyz are proving him wrong
If you’ve been on Twitter in the last few days, chances are you’ve seen Shatta Wale’s tirades against Nigeria’s pronounced popularity in Afrobeats. In a series of tweets and replies framed as sarcastic clapbacks, the Ghanaian singer claims that there’s a lopsided disadvantage for artists trying to cross over into Nigeria. These are claims being made in the same year Ghanaian singer Gyakie became a sensation in Nigeria on the back of her huge hit song, “Forever” and its Omah Lay-assisted remix, and South African rap artist Focalistic became a household name with two Davido-assisted bangers, “Ke Star (Remix)” and “Champion Sound.”
Another example, which might even be more far flung, is Yaba Buluku Boyz, the Mozambican trio of DJ Tarico, Nelson Tivane and Preck, who became continental stars following the Burna Boy-assisted “Yaba Buluku (Remix).” Where Ghana and South Africa are prominent in broader Afrobeats conversation, Mozambique has only popped on the continental radar, thanks to the power of collaboration and acceptance not just in Nigeria, but also across Africa. The trio are doubling down on their pan-African appeal with a new collaborative single with Yemi Alade, the Nigerian singer popularly referred to as “Mama Africa.”
It’s their third link-up with a Nigerian artist, having recently worked with Nigerian rap artist Zoro. While it bears their trademark raw and infectious energy, the new single doesn’t sound like any of their previous collaboration, showing that they have more to keep offering Afrobeats—unlike their colleague who’s only offering us groans and complaints.