Folarin Falana, Falz the Bahd Guy is a wonderful rapper. Starting out a few years ago with his funny Yoruba accent, Falz was undoubtedly the hottest rapper in 2016. He understands the organic process to building an artiste. And he has stayed true to his vibe without minding the Nigerian industry market. He actually started out in the UK with ‘Shakara The Mixtape’ in 2009. Though not so well received but he wasn’t demoralized.
He has worked with biggest producers then in the UK. He dropped his first mixtape, observed the reaction and tweaked it then dropped his album afterwards. Yes, his debut album, ‘Wazup Guy’ wasn’t the best album of the year 2014. Not when it had to contend with 2Face’s ‘Face to Face’, which was released in the same month of May and Asa’s ‘Bed of Stone’ which was released later in August that year.
Nevertheless, it was a brilliant attempt to project his art to the world in that body of work. However, Falz didn’t change his formula. He kept pushing and dropped his second album and it was even after his second album that he featured Olamide and Davido in ‘Bahd Baddo Baddest.’
These are the few things that distinguish Falz from the rest of the artistes in the industry.
Falz is that rapper that understands the organic process to building an artiste. He went through artiste development which a lot of Nigerian artistes failed to do. We have an industry where artistes drop one hit song and they feel they are big. They buy YouTube views for their videos and do silly giveaway competitions. Few months after, you find out that radio and DJ ain’t even playing them again. It is simple arithmetic. What they are not doing is putting deliberate effort towards remaining in the game by growing organically. Falz is doing this and it has stood him out among his peers and beyond.
I’m sure when you think of Falz, nobody else just comes to mind. The path that Falz has decided to thread is different. Unlike a Davido who broke out with ‘Dami Duro’ and a Wizkid who got propelled into limelight with ‘Ojuelegba’ and ‘Don’t Dull’. Falz do not have that breakout single.
He is taking a route that has a long term strategy to sustain his career. And of course, no one will want to choose a Bigiano who rocked for two years with ‘Shayo’ and fell off the surface of the industry over a Sound Sultan who has been around for over 22 years and does not and might not actually as well have a mega single ever.
5 albums in 9 years and dabbling into relative creative industry including acting and TV Hosting with two AMVCAs to Falz’s name is not ‘Nigerian Jollof’.
CARVING A NICHE
Falz perfectly understands what he is cut out for and he is staying true to it. He has rap infused in him and perhaps after M.I, no other rap artiste can win the game with Falz. His punchline, metaphor and most importantly storytelling technique is superb. As far as I am concerned, there is no ‘wack’ Falz song. Whether comical as in ‘Foreign’, dramatic just like in ‘Soldier’, truthful and inspiring as in the case of ‘Child of the World’, there is always a story to tell.
There is a thin line between versatility and genre promiscuity. You’ve gotta understand what you are cut out for and stay true to it.
Useless they say is the creativity that cannot bring food to the table of the creative. However, it has been observed that it isn’t as if most people ain’t creative but the strategy to market their art and creativity out there is the problem.
While critics will say Falz is an artiste that is basking in the grace of his comical prowess as Nigerians love comics. I’d rather say that in this digital age, Falz is simply employing viral marketing as the technique to push out his craft. He creates enough buzz with his comics as side attraction and mounts on the buzz to push his musical content. He’s only thinking smart and it’s pretty much working for him.
FALZ BUILDING BRANDS
One other thing that Nigerian artistes need to learn from Falz is the act of building brands around themselves. See, every song that you put out there regardless of how dope it is will fade away someday. Especially in the Nigerian immersive industry where hits struggle to last to last on the billboard, it is important to build brands.
People will listen to your songs but a brand bigger than the song itself will keep the artiste’s career moving. 50 Cent, Jay Z, Beyonce, Rihanna had gone through a phase where there is no song of theirs that can be accorded as hit jam. But the fact that they have constantly put themselves out as more than an artiste but a brand keeps them moving.
The brand then evolves to comfortably be stuck on the hearts of music lovers. This is exactly what Falz has done. His recently launched Sweet Boys Association is an affirmation of the absolute acceptance of Falz not as an artiste but as a brand. Though, I see no reason why anyone would not want to acknowledge the genius in Falz as an artiste, nevertheless he is overwhelmingly accepted as a brand.
Falz plays his part in his bid to connect with everyone by simplifying his music just so it could be digested by everyone. And he is loved for that. But that bid might not have been successful if he doesn’t keep his circle of team players closed. He recognized the fact that the team is paramount and he has kept his circle closed.
He isn’t the kind of artiste that jumps from one producer to the other. Asides Sess, one could count the number of other producers that Falz has worked with. This is one of the ill practices of the industry which is having its toll on the artistes. Save for the grace to pull a comeback, we all knew what happened to Iyanya when he dumped D’Tunes, 9ice when he dumped ID Cabasa and Naeto C when he dumped Tee-Y Mix.
In all, Falz is an artiste that follows his lane and keeps his brand alive. He crafts his content to the best of his abilities packed with worthy lyrics and message. And he keeps pushing bars after bars.