Every Nigerian Afropop musician seems to go through a phase where they declare themselves the next Fela. From Falz, to Wizkid, Davido to Burna Boy, your bonafides as a mega star isn’t quite complete without Fela phase and its accompanying sociopolitical posturings. Rebellion makes good music and sticking it up to the man can earn you thousands of adoring fans. However, choosing to use your music as a mirror to reflect government’s failings is tasking work and not everyone is cut out for it. Many of Fela’s self-professed ‘heirs’ renounce the heritage they eagerly adopt when its convenient and settle for blaming the oppressed citizens who support their careers of being cowards. Adebantu of the musical collective BANTU has other ideas of how to galvanize Nigerians to action and he’s sharing them on ‘Disrupt the Programme‘, the first single off the new BANTU record.
Bantu has grow a cult following in Nigeria thanks to their monthly independent concert Afropolitan Vibes, that at the height of its influence became a proving ground for emerging artists and an ongoing homage to veterans in the music industry. With songs that celebrate the everyday man, document contemporary Nigerian life and stick it to the man-in-power, the BANTU collective has become a symbol of how music can become a cultural unifier and an important tool in galvanizing citizens towards social justice. As the collective’s toured globally and gained a global audience, it has become increasingly concerned in making an impact here at home. Their 6th studio album ‘Everybody Get Agenda’ (coming out later in the year), is the culmination of that internalized agitation.
‘Disrupt the Programme’ is a true heir of the kind of social activism several generations of Kuti’s embodied. Direct to the point, unapologetic in its position and buoyed on a eclectic bass riff that compels the listener to action, whether in cathartic dance or revolutionary protest, DTP reminds the listener of the power of the masses and the urgency of the matter at hand. There is no gleeful mockery of the suffering of disadvantaged, no entitled demands for a celebrities to be given the same protection political influence gives politicians., no absence of personal accountability. Just hard facts and a road map to freedom.
A masterclass of how to do music right for Burnaboy and all the other pop stars who desperately want the notoriety of Fela but none of its accrued responsibilities.
Stream ‘Disrupt the programme here: