Falz – Brilliant And Highly Distinctive

by | Aug 15, 2022 | CSA Celebrates, Culture, Entertainment, Music, Music From Africa, Talent, The Wire

  • Providence: Nigeria
  • Falz is BAHD
  • A new soundscape
  • Informative Collaborations
  • Birthing the Falz sound

At the center of Culture

Nigerian artist Falz will one day be heralded as a seminal creative contributor to the global push of Afropop. His songs have been fundamental to Nigeria’s urban song playbook. Throughout his trajectory, the artist’s swagger of rap has always lured an ear for experimentation, crafting tracks that both entertain and tutor. He is an adroit commentator on Nigerian politics as well as slick performer to boot. His 2022 offering “BAHD” comes through as an artist leaning deeper into the freedom of taking creative chances, indeed as a cultural shaper, as Falz locks down his imprint on Afropop.

A new soundscape

It has been a minute since Folarin Falana was ranked as one of the “Top 10 Rappers in Nigeria 2014”, coining his own genre as “Wahzup Music”, and nimbly fusing comic lyrics with contemporary hip-hop in a faux Yoruba accent. Many awards and collaborations would follow, confirming his presence on the Nigerian music scene.

His fifth studio album, “BAHD”, would be an opportunity to deconstruct this creative legacy and explore a new soundscape. The result is a collection of 12 songs which show Falz at his most risqué and mischievous in content, and experimental and playful in terms of production. “To be honest it’s a big mix. It’s arguable whether this is actually pop. This can even be looked at as an Afro R&B project; it’s an Afro-fusion project as well. I definitely touched on a few different genres while making “BAHD”. That was the aim from the beginning: I just wanted to have an album with a vast scope of sounds,” said Falz.

Informative Collaborations

Falz is a generous musical host on his new project. The participation of his guest artists brings unique texture to his grand plan. Falz has multiple songs with the Highlife-influenced Cavemen, and they come in on the track “Woman”. Their established shorthand is visceral and immediate and communicates a respect for syncopated production so evocative of the high-life genre and its Afro nightclub sensibilities. The song is built around a sexy, hip swaying melody that’s immediately infectious as Falz struts in with a cool, narrated, love letter.

“Beautiful Sunflower” is the fulfillment of a longtime wish to work with Tiwa Savage. It’s a spectacular track fusing RnB and the idiosyncratic beats of Afropop with a lush production that is all very modern. Tiwa Savage is sultry on her verse and Falz balances this with soulful vocal stylings. It’s a catchy single and memorable for its detailed, sophisticated, sonic moments.

The surprise feature of duo Timaya and Boy Spyce present their forward thinking and beat architecture to “Inside”. Falz brings this element to stunning effect, producing a track that stands a fine example of modernist African pop, easily rivaling what is coming out of the US. right now.

Birthing the Falz Sound

As one explores the album, certain hooks and production values can be easily understood when you consider Falz’s sources of inspiration over the years. The Trybesmen, a seminal Nigerian rap group from the iconoclastic 80’s pop movement is present in his inflections. Technical quirks surface in the production with homages to Fela Kuti, Kanye West, and M.I Abaga. Says Falz: “I then took a lot of different elements from all these musical influences, mixed everything together and created a fusion. And that was how I birthed my sound.”

At the center of Culture

Those in the engine room of Culture-shaping are sometimes not given as much attention as their zeitgeist counterparts. No doubt Falz could be a bigger star globally, yet his steady output of music is intimately woven into the breakthrough we are witnessing of African and Nigerian music worldwide. And so, from our POV, Falz earns every street cred letter of his own moniker: “Brilliant and Highly Distinctive”.

C.S.A.’s monthly cultural portal, The WIRE connects the dots of culture. With concise stories, many with video content, take a premium dive into the world of African entertainment & cultural fluidity. It’s one thing to be hip to what’s happening but it is another to know why.

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