Who ever thought Cobhams Asuquo would jump on a conscious rap song? You guessed it. Nobody. The multi-talented artist known for the seriousness of his themes, songwriting skills and the bevy of A-lists artists he’s been known to work with decided to scoop something for not only the streets, or mainstream but for the entire nation. Though written in broken-English, the consciousness of the song cannot be denied. It’s an observation on social issues and a commentary on social justice, gender justice as well as gender equality. Both artists invite the listener on a soul-searching mission and a tour of the many maladministering and misappropriating mishap of the country’s leadership. It laments on the mendacity of public office holders, relationships and conscience. It is a satire on the country’s leadership that starts with the public to the private. Or from the national to the personal.
Cobhams; as the title of the song suggests was upfront with his disappointment from promise-makers; “There’s one thing I don’t like in my life/ its rubbish aka boosit’ (bullshit). Falz didn’t falter in nailing the matter on the head: ‘You wear your coat and your tie too/ You say you want to swear oath you’ll abide to/ You wear agbada with a sharp shoe/ Then you manufacture qualification and a title’ and again; ‘You tell the people you’re really having plans in/ stomach-infrastructure, poverty neutralising/ It’s so clear, black board and white chalk/ It doesn’t take an Einstein to know that its plan work/ You think that I’m dumb and I can’t talk/ You’re treating human being like livestock/ Climb up and chop money is your blueprint/ It’s like you take me for a bushmeat.’ The song parodies the country’s insincere leadership and violation of the rights of citizens who don’t have a voice or someone influential to fight their course. Falz, didn’t mince words in warning the boosit-offenders saying; ‘I’m only patient/ I’m not stupid”.
The hook is reminiscent of Fela Anikulapo Kuti’s “Teacher Don’t Teach Me Nonsense”. It tries to reassert the complainers’ humanity thus: “Don’t tell me boosit/ Don’t call me bushmeat/ Eroko is an animal that don’t have sense/ I’m a human being, you can’t dispute it.’ Deception rides high as the masterstroke of the song and the artists’ disdain of it.
The public becomes personal in the second verse when Falz raps about domestic violence and rights violation of the female gender. It’s a witty verse, though not sung in a woman’s voice, it takes a woman’s perspective of matrimonial abuse. ‘Wife beater like your popsy/ Striking resemblance, shey you say you’ll love me die, if you get chance/ Now my eye open, now I see you get plans/ Kill me for my mama already with your bare hands,’ what more do you wish to hear? Both physical and sexual violence suffered by the victim are at the end relegated to a devil’s handwork and that’s the boosit in the whole affair.
Barawo, the Hausa word for thief echoes in the background and tells so much about one of the major preoccupations of the song.
If Falz had attempted to mimic a female voice it would have been both creative and dramatically engaging. Anyone with Fela Kuti’s ear would know the song draws inspiration from his songs, and not just one. Another shortcoming of the song is Falz and Cobham’s refusal or inability to proffer any practical solution to the ‘boosit’ everyone is tired of. They exposed every societal ill and seemed to thoroughly understand the situation but didn’t give any engaging solution – Marxist approach? aside speaking out.
Boosit is a right about time kind of song that attempts to address the abuse of power, trust and belief – as in the case of religious leaders/political doing the opposite of their oaths. The consciousness of the song flips another page in the history of using satire – especially comic, to address societal ills. ‘Whether you’re a husband, politician or pastor/ If you cannot give the people whatever they ask for/ Don’t promise them,’ is Cobham’s way of putting the nail in the coffin. And whether we like it or not, both artists should be applauded for their Aristotelian reach and approach: singing about what is worth singing about with substance.