Burna Boy Is The Closest Artiste In Fela’s Frame – Ayo Shonaiya

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Ayo Shonaiya, a top Nigerian music industry veteran has waded into the continuous comparisons of Burna Boy to Fela. The top industry guy gave his verdict about the ‘Burna Boy is the new Fela’ school of thought.

He made his remarks on the subject matter at while on an interview with DJ Abass. Ayo stated that Burna Boy is the closest artiste to Fela in the new crop of Nigerian musicians. He stated that his sound closely remembles that of the Afrobeat legend.

Afrobeat, as close to Afrobeat without the S is Burna Boy and it’s happening right now. I believe that Burna Boy is being accepted more, dare I say, even more than Wizkid and Davido. Burna Boy is being accepted because he is the closest to Afrobeat.

DJ Abass supported Ayo’s line of thought saying; “I heard run my race, I picked him out and subsequently… the sound is afrobeat without the S…”

Yet again Ayo made reference to some of Burna Boy’s earlier sounds like ‘Soke’ which put him in close perspective to Fela. “I think run my race, yes, but if you go a bit dark to “Ki gbe so ke…” I’m like okay, this is the guy, this is the guy that’ll make us have that conversation about is Afrobeat Afrobeats.”

The music industry veteran recalled Burna Boy’s early Afrobeat heritage.


Burna Boy is complex. I’ve only encountered him a couple of times when we did the Nacos Lagos and he’s a richly endowed creative (with all the elements and edges). If you see him and vibe with him you’ll know that he’s … of course, you know that his grandfather was Fela’s manager and his mother was Fela’s dancer, you’ll see that Fela in him even though he did not meet Fela. I grew up with Fela from my year of six to eleven, I used to go to the original shrine at KLalakuta, every day after school because one of my elder cousins used to date Fela, she was one of the original 27 wives, so she used to take me there. The way Fela used to address people, the way he has his own one track mind… I think it’s the same way Burna Boy is. Fela used to be wrong on so many things. He was right on a lot of things, but he used to be wrong on so many things as well. If Fela was alive and says some of the things he used to say, you’ll think Fela was a racist, but he’s not a racist. He just knows that we are black, we are Africans, you are white.

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