Nigerian musician Baba Kuboye has released his latest single, titled “Yawa.” The song’s direction is inspired by the musician’s love for passing sociopolitical messages in his records, a love that stretches back to his early years. As a child, Babatunde Kuboye watched his parents Tunde and Fran Kuboye perform alongside the legendary Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti, who’s the uncle of his mother.
The duo of Fran and Tunde were great musicians, reputed to be one of the foremost practitioners of Jazz in the country from the late ‘70s to mid 90s when Mrs. Kuboye passed on. Their band’s name, Extended Family, reads like a mission statement for Baba’s musical career, which has seen him collaborate and tap musical influences from the Kutis as well as his mother, who he samples on 2018 song “Things Are Hard,” a damning commentary on the illicit activities of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), a now-disbanded Nigerian police unit.
Baba Kuboye shuttles between Nigeria and America, and had earlier obtained a certificate in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from the University of Birmingham, UK. The social conditions of these places inform the new song “Yawa,” a deep-cutting record that makes incisive observations on racism and all kinds of discrimination against black people worldwide.
Having all the finer qualities of Afropop and Afrobeat, the production charges Baba Kuboye, who holds the guilty accountable in his first verse, singing “worst of all say the whites no dey gree\ no be all of dem but dem plenty,” complementing the song’s emotive power with the required nuance. His booming and confident vocals are reminiscent of Fela, but Baba Kuboye’s songwriting is decidedly modern and relays his concerns in a distinct yet familiar way.
Asides utilizing his music for the greater good, Baba Kuboye is passionate about civil and women’s rights. Solidifying his run, Baba is set to release his debut EP later this year, with high-profile features coming from the likes of Seun Kuti, Made Kuti, and multiple Grammy Award recipient Angelique Kidjo.