Burna Boy performs onstage during Day 1 of the Afro Nation Detroit Festival on August 19, 2023 in Detroit, Michigan.

Burna Boy performs onstage during Day 1 of the Afro Nation Detroit Festival on August 19, 2023 in Detroit, Michigan.

Photo by Aaron J. Thornton/Getty Images.

Burna Boy Sparks Debate on Afrobeats Substance

Grammy-winning artist Burna Boy challenges Afrobeats' substance and sparks a Twitter frenzy, dividing fans on genre's depth.

Grammy-winning Nigerian artist Damini Ogulu, popularly known as Burna Boy, has ignited a heated debate on social media with his recent remarks about the state of Afrobeats.

In a candid interview with Apple Music's Zane Lowe, the hitmaker behind "Last Last" boldly asserted that a significant portion of Afrobeats songs, primarily originating from Nigeria, "lack substance and real-life experience." The self-proclaimed "African Giant" went further, describing the genre as "literally nothing," and emphasizing the importance of artists infusing their music with genuine life experiences.

Burna Boy articulated his perspective, saying, "Due to my background and the challenges I've faced in maintaining my position, it's often harder for those who are closest to you to truly understand and appreciate you. They might believe they do, but in reality, they don't."

He continued, "As you start traveling the world, you encounter individuals who might know you better than those from your own backyard. This is because a substantial 90 percent of Nigerian musicians lack real-life experiences. This deficiency is why much of Nigerian music, and by extension, African music or Afrobeats, as it's commonly known, often lacks substance. It's essentially about nothing, devoid of any profound themes."

Burna Boy repeated his observation, stressing, "This is why you often hear that most Nigerian music, African music, or Afrobeats lacks substance. It's all about having a good time, which is fantastic, but ultimately, life isn't just about having a good time."

Burna Boy firmly believes that "music should reflect the essence of the artist" and serve as a window for listeners to glimpse into that essence.

His comments on Afrobeats' substance, however, ignited a backlash on Twitter, with numerous disappointed fans expressing their views. Nevertheless, some supporters rallied behind Burna Boy's assertions that Afrobeats could benefit from greater depth and substance.

Check out the full interview here, and some fan reactions below that.

Burna Boy: The 'I Told Them...' Interview | Apple

You can see a few reactions from fans below: