On Davido And Burna Boy; Putting Mouth Where The Money Is

Davido works hard but Burna Boy has a point about that Adeleke Money

Davido has named himself and Wizkid “the 2 greatest of all time”. But, as every Nigerian knows, any GOAT list that doesn’t have Fela is useless.

Still it looks as if Burna Boy wasn’t very pleased. And he has my sympathies: imagine you went to bed as an African (continental) Giant but then woke up to third place within your own country? That’s hard to take.

So in apparent response to Davido’s claim, Burna shared a message. It reads in part, “everybody knows you cannot play football…but your daddy bought the football team”.

The picture at the center of this controversy

That’s quite a burn, which makes it easy to label Burna Boy angry and maybe bitter — as bitter as someone reportedly worth $22m can be, I guess — but is there merit to the accusation?

To my mind, the answer is No and Yes. If this was WAEC, I’m on my way to F9. But let me explain.

The answer is “No” because Davido does produce the goods. The man has had hit after hit year after year and the currency of the music industry is hits. Davido has earned his success. But it’ll be silly to not think that his father’s wealth has contributed heavily to that success. So “Yes”.

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Permit me to send you on an errand as illustration. Please go to Wikipedia (after reading this piece, of course). Type “Omo Baba Olowo”, the title of Davido’s first album, which was released in 2012. Take a look at the producers (you might have to click to see the list). You’ll see 6 executive producers. 4 of those names end with “Adeleke”.

What does this mean? I’ll tell you. But first check the “launch concert” section of the Omo Baba Olowo Wikipedia entry. If you’re Nigerian, you know what set of two words I’m drawing your attention to: Aliko Dangote. Nigeria’s richest man was at a 20 year old’s album launch in company of the kid’s billionaire father. Think about that.

Back to what it means for Davido and three members of his family to be executive producers on a first album. It means as early as Davido’s first album his business was in his family’s hands. They had the money to fund his debut and as a result would not be sharing profits with an outsider. In fact, it is entirely possible that all of those profits went to Davido, which means Davido made money from his first album as long as it had hits and it did, and as long as he performed at shows and he did.

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Now if you know anything about the Nigerian music industry, you would know that making decent money and having ownership as early as a first album is nearly impossible. But that is exactly the foundation that Davido’s family’s wealth set for him. It is not everything but it is significantly above nothing.

To further explain how unique Davido’s situation was, please Google to see countless stories of Nigerian artists and record labels many fights. Then go back to Wikipedia and check for the executive producers for Wizkid’s and Burna Boy’s first albums. None of them have a family member named; neither artist has his name there. Banky W and Segun Demuren are the major exec producers for Wizkid’s Superstar and Peedi Picasso is the sole exec producer for Burna’s LIFE.

To go even further, you might remember that both Wizkid and Burna Boy had problems around the release of their second albums. Those disagreements came down to money. Who gets what. That is a problem Davido never had. Burna Boy knows this and it must irk him that a person with that privilege rates himself above him in showbiz.

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As most people working within an industry know, sometimes the star is not the most hardworking or most talented person. Sometimes it comes down to luck, sometimes it comes down to external support. Davido has both and has kept producing. There is work in that but Davido is the one whose father built him a studio once he realised his son was serious about music and making a headway. Burna Boy has his own privileges — I have written about this before — but, as we say, levels pass levels.

So, yes, Burna Boy is brash but if he was indeed pointing out the Davido advantage, he has a point. Maybe not a full point but you have to grant him half a point on this one.

Originally published on Medium

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