“Burna Boy Needs Imaginary Enemies To Have Something To Work With” – Joey Akan Says On New Off-Air Episode


Music journalist Joey Akan is known for having unpopular opinions and being the target of fandom angst, but that has never stopped him from sharing his thoughts about the Nigerian music industry.

His directness about artists, stream farming, ranking, and music, in general, came to life yet again on the brand-new episode of Off-Air with Gbemi and Toolz.

As in previous episodes of the brand-new season, Gbemi and Toolz invited a special guest to join them in a spirited conversation. This time around, they had the multi-award-winning journalist Joey Akan in a discussion about Nigerian music. The trio made the perfect combination to discuss the topic as Gbemi and Toolz spent about a decade on air at Beat FM, and Joey Akan has been a respected music journalist for about the same time.

Together, they talked about the ranking system of artists in the country, especially looking at the presumed top three – Wizkid, Davido and Burna Boy. Joey added a disclaimer that while there are no clear-cut metrics to decide who the actual top artists are, other factors can help you arrive at this.

He agreed that based on streaming numbers, concert crowd pulls, and accolades, it is acceptable to call Wizkid, Davido, and Burna Boy the top three. Yet, he asked for the ranking to extend to the four so that they could make room for Rema. In his words, “Some people will say let’s take one person from the top three and put in Rema, but for me, this was not a category. We simply just created it in our heads.”

As part of the ongoing conversations, they also touched on Burna Boy and his decision to distance himself from Afrobeats, with Joey calling the top-rated act delusional. He said, “He (Burna Boy) needs imaginary enemies to have something to work with. You say people hate you, but you’ve never done a show in this country that has never been packed out. You’ve never dropped a song here that hasn’t been a local hit before it became international.”

Gbemi, Joey, and Toolz also discussed the difficulty facing women in the industry. Gbemi noted emphatically that a woman has to be twice as good to even make it into the top 10. Their other discussions revolved around the best acts, best and worst concert experiences, and the issue of Nigerian artistes billing Nigerian show promoters with thousands of dollars despite the country’s economic landscape.

To round up the show in the most spicy way possible, the ladies made Joey play a game where he sorted out different acts into ‘talent OR fluke’. The music head noted that Naira Marley and Portable’s successes were flukes. He especially stated that Portable is not a musician or artiste. Still, he conceded that the man is an entertainer.

The episode was yet another successful one after this season’s first episode saw Spyro entertain the viewers with a live performance, and the second buzzed with controversial opinions from media personality Nedu. Gbemi and Toolz promised to ensure there’s something noteworthy to take from every episode, and so far, they’ve kept their word.

We can’t wait to see what they come up with next Sunday when a fresh episode airs at 7 p.m. on Africa Magic Urban and 9 p.m. on Africa Magic Showcase.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here