Unlike other entertainment climes where labels are easily slapped on artistes, their brands and genre definitions, we haven’t fully coined a definition of what exactly counts as “conscious” music in this part of the world. On the surface, music made outside the mainstream genres and thematic sub-topics are tagged as alternative. A convenient genre defination considering a lot of artistes that make mainstream music when juxtaposed against those doing something we can tentatively call “different”.
Inexorably, the job of making songs about social issues and common man realities are primarily hung on the shoulders of these “alternative” artistes . But when a song credits eclectic producer Cobhams and rapper-comedian Falz as performers, ones’ immediate curiosity is not what the song is about, but is how it sounds.
Even though they share the same clarion call archetype message, for the most part of it, Boosit neither shares the aggressive urgency of Eedris Abdul Kareem’s Jaga Jaga nor the solemn observer stance of 2face’s For Instance. There’s an obvious inspiration from Fela’s Teacher Don’t Teach Me Nonsense in the post chorus refrain, but beyond that, Boosit is not like anything you have heard in a while. Yet with simple organ synths, thumping heavy bass drops and a clockwork base tempo, this song works in every way many of its predecessors have failed.
Boosit is probably not the most literal song you will hear this year, but it will rank amongst the grittiest. The title is a direct transliteration of the word “Bullshit” to the Yoruba accent. Cohbams opens the song mimicking Falz’ Yoruba accented patios, then introduces the rapper to lead the song through two weighty verses.
Through Cohbams mock-vexed opening and close, we get the feel both artistes tried to keep the thing light-hearted. But a song about the corrupt Nigerian government and a woman’s perspective of her abusive husband are not the greatest party or conversation starters. Especially considering the high prevalence of the latter and uncertainty of Nigeria as a country thanks to the former.
Speaking on the song, Cobhams says “We should stop being complicit, and hold our politicians, our pastors, our husbands and our wives accountable for the promises that they make. Let us be honorable because it’s the only way we can move forward.” And he sort of has a point. As Boosit plays, you’re trying to enjoy Falz’ nonsensical ramblings about the government then you hear him rap “You tell the people that you’re really having plans-ing/Stomach infrastructure, poverty neutralizing”, then remember how right he is and things are suddenly not as cackle-worthy as you anticipated.
The second verse doesn’t get any softer as Falz paints a more vivid image with words rapping, “Every single night,you’re drunk as a skunk/When you come through the door, you say ‘Wassup’ with a punch.” As the song plays out, not even Falz’ mock-Yoruba accent can save it from a humorless dark hole and this is where Cohbams fulfils his goal to get us to glean things differently.
We’re casually avoiding slapping the conscious number description on this song, but whatever it is, we haven’t heard anything that thematically comes close. Not in this calendar year at least.
Listen to the song here