Fuji music is a popular genre of music among Yoruba-speaking people of West Africa. The genre has risen from a novel musical revolution pioneered by the late Sir Sikiru Ayinde Barrister in the last quarter of the twentieth century to become one of the most prominent export of Yoruba people across the globe. However, many non-Yoruba speakers find it hard to comprehend the message of Fuji music. Many would even wonder what the confusing noise and clashing musical instrument is all about.
To be candid, Fuji music is a rich brand of African music. Fuji musicians churn out danceable beats and didactic lyrics that anyone who can comprehend the language would want listen to – and even beg for more.
Nevertheless, Fuji music comes in fast pitch and fast moving beats. In fact, it is the closest to non-stop hip-hop mixtape. The music of Alabi Pasuma, Malaika, Remi Aluko and to some extent Saheed Osupa are four prominent fast paced Fuji brands that deliver unrivalled Fuji music laced with jazz and hip-hop.
This however does not excuse for Fuji music and its singers’ numerous lapses. First and foremost, the genre has deviated from its WERE – a didactic brand of Islamic music – roots to concentrate more on worldly trivialities and lewd content. Some of the musicians are so used to popularizing streets slang and tout parlance; and this have convinced many that Fuji is nothing but glorified thug songs.
Likewise, the incessant infighting in the Fuji Music industry is one that has provided timeless headlines for major entertainment magazines. Starting from the legendary feud between Sikiru Barrister and Ayinla Kollington to the modern supremacy war between Wasiu Ayinde “Kwam 1” and Akande Obesere; and the endless musical battle between Alabi Pasuma and Saheed Osupa. Sometimes, I wonder if these grown men cannot for once bury the hatchet and live in peace – they actually can’t.
Come to think of it, many observers and aficionados of Fuji music believe this constant supremacy war Fuji Industry is what is pushing Fuji singers to unleash new masterpiece and unlock their unexplored potential. Virtually, any Fuji star that has not been involved in any musical war is regarded as an underdog in Fuji industry. You don’t become a Fuji star until you are bold enough to throw a punch at the big boys at the top of the table. The medium of social mobility in the Fuji industry would inevitably produce a chain of endless feud and bad bloods among the big stars and the younger ones determined to topple them.
With this level of competition, one would always expect truancy and fanatic followership. Musicians have to live up to their street credibility by shunning out crazy and sometimes “rubbish” that only appeal to their die-hard fans and not to sane music lovers; or risk lose their fan base.
Love it or hate it, Fuji music fan base is not receding and continues to grow every day. Though, the industry is still a bit hostile for newcomers, Fuji music influence has expanded to increasingly influence Nigerian hip-hop.
In fact, you have been hearing more Fuji music disguise as hip-hop these days. So I’d advise you to learn some Yoruba. Who knows, Maybe you will enjoy the noise if you can sift the sweet message behind it.
Or maybe you should beg Baba God to just kill those loud speakers that Fuji aficionados use to play their music. LoL. Maybe. It’s all maybe. The choice is yours. Choose wisely.