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A CRITIQUE AND REVIEW OF FALZ’S ‘MORAL INSTRUCTIONS’ STUDIO ALBUM.

I still don’t know why I’m just listening to this recently, however I had to
give an ear considering it’s been in the trend. Falz’s ‘Moral Instructions’ is worth
giving a listen to not because of it’s simplicity in thematic pre-occupation which is
saturated with societal vices and political issues but because every song on the 24
minute long album has a value to be replayed overtime explaining his reason for a
bulky sample and interpolation of Fela Kuti’s classic Afrobeats sounds which are
absolutely timeless in the Nigerian music scene. Mr Falz hits us with this body of
work at the right time in a Nigeria were corruption in different faces is part of the
norm, particularly the ambience of the elections, but he doesn’t prioritize any of
the issues, he simply examines them in seven of the eight tracks on the album
with a sloppy style of rap storytelling, subliminal lines and ghost name dropping
tactics.

With primary production from Sess with whom Falz has an undoubted
chemistry, the beats from the album have messages on their own, mere listening
to them with a musical ear one can perceive what the song is about, the
instrumental consist of afrobeat, juju, boom bap, Gospel and R&B elements. The
flow throughout this album is typically and musically affiliated with Falz and he
manages to be consistent with it and connects it well with all the songs.

Despite dropping Yoruba a few times his use of pidgin as the maximum
lingo is not a sign of stereotype whatsoever but rather shows that he doesn’t
want to stereotype his message to a few ears. The use of samples and
interpolation on the album which could easily be criticized by other pundits as not
being original or Falz being unable to create a signature style for himself on the
project is not in line with my opinion, as I feel it’s only right to fling in some Fela
swag into an album of this nature considering his voice was an on-wax critic of
societal, religious, political and economical irregularities in his ambience and also
sampling and mixing have been the womb that produced the Hip Hop culture and
genre which Falz is known for practicing so it’s only aesthetically and logically
reasonable that there are used on this joint.
Only nine tracks on this joint so I’ll simply do a track by track review and
give my opine straight up:

‘JOHNNY’ which contains samples and interpolations from Fela’s ‘JJD’ is a


clever track to examine the power misuse present in the law enforcement setting,
on it he narrates the death of a fictional ‘Johnny’ who died after graduation party
for simply not tipping a Cop who asked him to pull over.

Falz also uses this track to examine the general killings happening around
Nigeria as a result of ethnicity and religious crisis he also let out his thoughts on
corruption in the context of law enforcers known without necessarily indicting
himself.

On ‘FOLLOW FOLLOW’ Falz looks in to a societal norm where these days’


young people are non-entities, copy cats, culturally imperialistic, low minded and
not having innovations of their own. The track which aesthetically samples Fela’s
‘Zombie’ calls out the youth on their dumb and irrational choices which are only
in line with the trends and tunnel vision towards materialistic things.

The track which is the longest on the album urges young people to work
hard and be patient rather than rushing into doing what other people have done
to succeed, and in my opine, following is allowed if young people are to be
leaders one day as there are dubbed but there must ensure to first of all lead
themselves into making right choices and also have a creative mind of their own.

And my personal favorite, ‘HYPOCRITE ’ is a sermon like message with the


aim of bringing to people’s knowledge to their faults in the society system, on this
joint Falz is raw as possible and straight to the point as can be especially on the
chorus crooned by Demmie Vee where he alleges that ‘’Everybody is a
motherf***ing hypocrite’’ including you and me irrespective of our religion,
gender, social status and any other fold that is used to categorize humans. This
song also shades and calls out inequality of any sort including: gender, class,
ethnic, pagans, gays etc. In my honest opinion, I think if people must copy
western culture let them do so with the positive and healthy ones.
From track four I started getting in my feelings for the LP, I might not be a
typical African practically and linguistically but I have historical knowledge and
personal love for the cultural African setting and that’s exactly what ‘TALK’
portrays in the chorus and the entirety of the track. The repetition concept which
is mostly found in traditional African moonlight or play ground gatherings, rituals,
ceremonies, meetings etc. where a person tells a story or leads a song and the
audience or a few times a back up orchestra as used here repeats after the leader.

Falz manages to achieve this style with a hippy beat, questioning impotency
in the country’s leadership from the presidency to the senate as well as
malpractice in Nigerian politics, cyber criminals, cunning clergymen and he also
uses the medium to urge Nigerian’s to quit suffering and smiling but to fearlessly
talk out on how they feel.

Apparently ‘AMEN’ taps another Fela classic ‘Coffin for Head of State’ with
interpolations from the track, as he bluntly accuses The Clergy class again of
criminally exploring the resources of their congregations in disguise of church
contributions and sowing of seeds. He indirectly calls Christians gullible and
vulnerable because of their blind followership and even goes as far as accusing
some ‘Men oh God’ who have been considered trailers of the afro mentioned
path, he does this in an indirect way without name dropping but every picture
painted by his clever use of imagery only points towards the Religious leaders in
real life Nigeria.

Track no. 6‘BROTHER’S KEEPER’ is straight balladic, as it takes a sad tone


with the instrumental done by Sess who also takes credit for the chorus as he
sings ‘’no be only you dey this world’’. The track pleads on every person outside
their recording booth to be selfless in living and consider the circumstances that
would come to be in other people’s cases before taking any action. The track is
generally emotive and Falz again comes for the neck of corrupt and care free
politicians and privileged people who act selfishly, the track substantially contains
a message similar to Alicia Keys ‘We Are Here’ and 2 Face’s ‘See me So’.

On a really personal level the lines ‘’ man down! But I can’t help, no! they’ll
attack me, na armed robber tactics but wait make I snap pics…..They brought a
man with a gunshot wound to my clinic but I would need police report before I
treat it’’ got me stupor emotional, hey! It’s a generation were people are scared
of making sacrifices but want to be sacrificed for and it just hurts that we are all
part of it.

‘PAPER’, next on the track list features Chillz who sings the chorus with
smooth baritone vocals that paints a scary background on the track accompanied
by the beat which explains the dreadful practices young people do just to get rich,
the track which is also a warning shot to people who indulge in illegal, anti -
religious and anti-social acts ranging from Cybercrime, ritual killings, prostitution,
robbery, fraud etc. just to become financially high and influential individuals in
the society.

If you dey read dis article ‘E NO FINISH’ yet oo!, yes, Falz dosen’t stop, and
this time late Mr. Kuti’s ‘Army Arrangement’ is brought into play on a Typical
Juju/Afrobeat track which he use as an encore track to do a summary of Nigeria’s
problems, on this track Falz lets us know that he is using his voice rightly to speak
out for the voiceless on a critical subject matter and pays homage the man, the
myth, the legend late Fela Anikulapo Kuti, for his legacy and iconic personality
that has survived over the years. Falz also states that he has a lot more to talk
about on the ‘Nigerian condition’ which could point towards a sequel of this work
of art, apparently it doesn’t end there as the sample instrumental crosses over
the ninth and final track ‘AFTER ALL SAID AND DONE’ were Falz uses Spoken word
style to do thesis of the didactical sermon, were he examines the content of the
afro mentioned tracks and also uses the opportunity to say he himself is not
perfect after all but if everyone takes a stand and do the right thing the revolution
could eventually happen.

Wow! I feel free after doing this and after numerous listens I came up with
a theory that this album could be listened to backwardly and still make sense just
like Kendrick Lamar’s ‘DAMN’, You’ll know what all these means if you always
listen to music incisively (Albums especially) but also because this joint is a real
sh**. These album has achieved on me what every work art should do, it has
provoked every angle of my thinking faculty, I don’t know about what people
think but am giving this work a 9.5/10.