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Falz 'Moral Instruction' cover.

7 Songs That Prove Falz Is the Moral Conscience of Nigeria's Youth

Falz has taken both popular and unpopular stands against the gamut of Nigeria's societal ills.

Falz has been the moraliser-in-chief of Nigerian pop and youth culture for all his career, which spans one joint EP with Simi, Chemistry (2016), and four studio albums: Wazup Guy (2014), Stories That Touch (2015), 27 (2017) and Moral Instruction (2019).

The man born Folarin Falana has taken unpopular stands against internet fraud, transactional sex, ill gotten wealth and the gamut of Nigeria's societal ills in his songs, social media and interviews, culminating in his latest album, Moral Instruction.

It's his most musically-mature record on account of the evenness of production, dextrous, fluff-free raps, bountiful humor and an emboldened crusading spirit. Below, we examine all of Falz' album releases for the seven songs that best present the rapper as the bastion of moral rectitude in Nigeria.



"Wehdone Sir"

"Wehdone Sir" is the most sweeping of Falz' moral reproaches for its sustained attack on lying and insincerity. The song's wide range of targets includes bottle poppers who can't pay rent, pretenders to high social classes, pop stars who manipulate their ages, poor faithfuls with wealthy pastors ("so you're out there looking for more chiz (money), but apostle is getting on Forbes List"). The humorous approach removes the heavy hand of judgement. This is made even more effective by the fad, both gesture and dance, of mock salute to any such liar; a simple and clever combination of populism and moral finger-pointing.

"Child Of The World"

A coming of age tale which charts the story of a law student with promise and innocence about the world who is abused by her uncle, neglected and falls into prostitution later contracting HIV. Falz' empathy and warmth makes for good storytelling and a cautionary tale that is affecting enough to seem new or urgent, even when it is an overused trope in rap, especially by male rappers.

"E No Finish"

"This no be club song, I no come to shout / na real strong matter I wan talk about" announces Falz on "E No Finish," one of his most direct and stringent songs, from his most direct and stringent album yet. Here, the trained lawyer is humorless and his words unvarnished, his delivery is assertive and even forceful: "corruption and indiscipline, with no regard for the life of a citizen / so sickening, I hope you greedy muthafuckas are listening." The song is righteous and full frontal, and would remain so without importing from Fela's musical and moral universe. Typically, homages to the originator of afrobeat rarely shed their powerful influence. But Falz, askance and angered, cannot believe how little has changed in the country when he raps: "somebody tell Baba Fela e too talk truth / say the government still dey shit on youth / animal, them still dey put on suit and agbada / our leader dem still confused."

"Talk"

Lasting just two and a half minutes and rapped entirely in pidgin, "Talk" is succinct and apt over a galala beat (Nigeria's interpretation of dancehall). Here, the rapper takes his biggest swing at President Buhari and his promise of security and economic prosperity against a backdrop of austerity measures and (now abated) campaign of terror by Boko Haram. Falz deploys his trademark humor with clever play on words about the president's failings; "four year tenure, three years holiday," "We buy your story but you no give us change."

"This Is Nigeria"

Released 20 days after Childish Gambino's state of the nation address about America's societal ills, Falz' interpretation is every bit as critical of Nigeria and its failings. Over production that relies heavily on woozy synths and trap drums, he takes on rampart internet fraud, problematic prosperity gospel, President Buhari's careless comment on the country's "lazy youths," embezzled government funds, and poor state of policing in pithy ways: "Police station dey close at 6 [p.m], na security reason oh."

"Hypocrite"

This is where Falz takes to task, not just corrupt elected officials, but also the misguided electorate whose votes bring in and keep bad leadership in power: "what about even you voters / wey dey act as if you only see two jokers / recycle the same corrupt me / later you dey say that you hate the government." The staccato drumming and patient, melancholic piano suggests Falz is working with ideas from Nas' "One Mic" though he refrains from xeroxing the tonal changes in the NY rapper's delivery. "Everybody is a muthafucking hypocrite" goes Demmie Vee on the chorus before admitting that "of course I know truth is bitter" which sensibly portrays immorality as a fallen state of human endeavour, rather than conceive of perpetrators as born sinners, with little chance of redemption.

"Foreign"

Common to a terribly aspirational society as found in Nigeria is the taste for fine living and the readiness to acquire it, or pretend, at all costs. Such individuals are parodied and mocked on "Foreign," taken from his collaborative EP with Simi titled, Chemistry. Rather than come across as the insults they are, Simi's sweet falsetto which makes her own depictions of class pretenders sound like friendly ribbing. They are not, and this is also true of Falz' put-on accent, takedowns and malapropism. Produced by frequent collaborator, Sess The Problem Kid, the tight groove and airy horns make for Falz' most convincing take on Fela's afrobeat, before the mature interpretation of this on his latest project, Moral Instruction.


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Listen to Falz' New Fela Kuti-Sampling Album 'Moral Instruction'

The Nigerian rapper's new album is here.

Falz has just dropped his brand new album, Moral Instruction.

As the title implies, the new record follows the rapper as he tackles several topics dealing with Nigeria's social ills and issues with political & social awareness throughout its nine tracks.

The album notably samples Fela Kuti, who was undoubtedly outspoken about similar issues himself, in some of its standout songs.

"Johnny" flips Fela's "J.J.D. (Johnny Just Drop)," "Follow Follow" samples the afrobeat king's scathing attack on the Nigerian military "Zombie," "Amen" features elements from the hit "Coffin For Head of State" and "E No Finish" interpolates "Army Arrangement."

Additionally, the cover art for Moral Instruction was crafted by Nigerian artist and longtime Fela collaborator Lemi Ghariokwu—the man behind many of Fela Kuti's iconic covers.

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Falz Is on a Mission to 'Save Nigeria' In the Music Video for 'Talk'

Falz is back with another politically-charged banger.

Nigerian rapper Falz is back with his first music video offering of 2019.

Once again, the "This is Nigeria" rapper tackles various social ills plaguing Nigeria from greedy politicians, and an ineffective president to Nigerian's penchant for conspicuous consumption.

The music video begins with a young boy playing a video game with Falz as his character. The game gives him the options to use his Falz player to "Save Nigeria," "Relocate to Yankee" or "Join Gang." He chooses the first option, sending Falz into the real world where the rapper tries his hand at becoming a judge a politician and more.

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"Zion 9, 2018" (inkjet on Hahnemuhle photo rag)" by Mohau Modisakeng. Photo courtesy of Jenkins Johnson Gallery.

South African Artist Mohau Modisakeng Makes Solo NYC Debut With 'A Promised Land'

The artist will present the video installation 'ZION' and other works centering on the "global history of displacement of Black communities" at the Jenkins Johnson Gallery in Brooklyn.

Renowned South African visual artist Mohau Modisakeng presents A Promised Land, his latest solo exhibition, opening at Brooklyn's Jenkins Johnson Gallery this month. This marks the New York debut of Modisakeng's ZION video installation, based on the artists's 2017 performance art series by the same name. It originally debuted at the Performa Biennial.

"In ZION the artist deals with the relationship between body, place and the global history of displacement of Black communities," reads a press release. "There is an idea that all people are meant to belong somewhere, yet in reality there are millions of people who are unsettled, in search of refuge, migrating across borders and landscapes for various reasons."

In addition to the video, the show also features seven large-scale photographs that communicate themes of Black displacement. From 19th century Black settlements in New York City, which as the press release notes, were eradicated to clear space for the development of Central Park, to the scores of Africans who have faced conflict that has led them to life as refugees in foreign lands.

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Rema in "Beamer (Bad Boys)" (Youtube)

The 10 Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring Tony Allen x Hugh Masekela, Sarkodie, Rema, Costa Titch x Riky Rick x AKA and more.

Every week, we highlight the cream of the crop in music through our best music of the week column.

Here's our round up of the best tracks and music videos that came across our desks, which you can also check out in our Songs You Need to Hear This Week playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

Follow our SONGS YOU NEED TO HEAR THIS WEEK playlist on Spotify here and Apple Music here.

Check out all of OkayAfrica's playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.

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