Fireboy Taps Asake’s Lyrical Street Know-how For A Fluid Outing On Bandana

Fireboy DML prepares for the release of his third studio project; the singer released Bandana, another lead single which serves as a follow-up to the eponym of his forthcoming project, Playboy.

While Bandana is a continuation of the eulogy pervading the Playboy single released some months back, the song is a road that leads to the street and its elements and lifestyles. These are facilitated by Asake’s much-felt presence on the hook of the song.

It is a smooth run for both label mates — apparently, P Priime takes responsibility for the slow tempo and the thick piano tones applied on the instrumentals to give it a Reggae-Dancehall touch.

Much encomiums have been poured out on Olamide, the executive of YBNL, the label to which Fireboy and Asake are signed. While Olamide, an artiste with a career himself, has slowed down a bit in 2022, much space has been given to Fireboy and Asake to flourish side by side so far this year.

Asake debuted his record deal under YBNL with the single, Omo Ope featuring Olamide, then released a debut extended playlist titled Ololade EP consisting of four solid tracks; Omo Ope, Sungba, Trabaye and Baba God; which are all hits.

While Asake enjoyed digital music charts presence, he has been able to feature Burna Boy on the remix of Sungba, and has also been featured by DJ Spinall on another smashing hit titled Palazzo. The singer followed it up with his latest single titled Peace Be Unto You alongside a simple video directed by the rave of the moment, TG Omori.

Fireboy, on the other hand, has basked in the pool of certifications for the remix of his song Peru featuring Ed Sheeran, topping charts with it in the process. He has also become the first Afrobeats act to perform at the BET Awards mainstage and the Wembley Stadium of 90 000 capacity respectively. Unlike Asake, Bandana is Fireboy’s second single of the year; it is a sequel to Playboy, the lead single of his much anticipated Playboy album.

Fireboy DML

Similar to the song Champion featuring D Smoke, off his sophomore album entitled Apollo, Fireboy again, showers himself some appraisal on the Playboy single. Though, the same jargon continues to govern Bandana; there is more to Bandana, thematically, as seen below:

  1. Bandana & The Use of Numerous Allusions

Allusion simply means reference to popular people, things, events, books, songs, movies and any other thing that have been existing before. Judging by the use of allusions to lay emphases on this song, Asake plays a massive role in the execution of this theme here.

There are several references made to 2Pac, Usain Bolt, Karashika and Shitta, all on the hook of Bandana. Asake, obviously a living example of Nigerian street life, ties his being ‘street’ to wearing a particular big handkerchief popularly regarded as ‘bandana’ on the streets of Nigeria.

The cover art of the song in itself is a pictorial representation of the handkerchief known as bandana. The cover art, in the absence of the two singers’ images, pictures one of the famous fabric patterns used to make the bandana, called Damask, specifically.

While wearing bandana is not specific to Nigeria alone, Asake, knowledgeable of this, relates the usage of bandana to one of its greatest user ever, whom is the now deceased 2Pac Amaru Shakur, an American rapper shot five times on 7th September, 1996; and dying few days later.

Asake’s reference to Tupac is very accurate; the deceased was also ‘street’ in his days. This is Asake’s manner of saying he is tough as opposed to the soft life lived by his counterparts on the other side of the streets.

Asake’s consciousness of his rapid growth and height in the industry also comes into play when he references Usain Bolt on the song. Asake stresses that he is as fast as Usain Bolt, hence, his mates cannot catch up with him, even if they try to; in terms of achievements and fame, maybe. This is valid, for now, considering the fact that Asake has only spent seven months in the industry since his breakthrough with the release of Omo Ope, yet he has been able to pull so much achievements in such a very short moment.

Asake paints his emulation of nightlife with the mention of Karashika. Karashika is a word linked to a 1996 Nigerian movie of the same title. A character in the movie, named Karashika, is a female demon who caused a lot of spiritual atrocities amongst humans in the movie. It’s a shock, a big one at that, that Asake’s references to 2Pac and Karashika are both traceable to 1996.

One of the most recent musical references made to the movie Karashika is Falz’s Karashika featuring Phyno, released in 2015, where both rappers sarcastically forbid certain types of Nigerian women because they have certain ‘demonic traits’. Demons are believed to move in the night, thus, Asake linking of his “nightlife” to that of Karashika.

Asake also references Shitta, a landmark around Ojuelegba, Lagos State; the same place Wizkid began the pursuit of his music career. Asake’s reference to Shitta is a shout-out to his friends inhabiting the area, however.

  1. Self Assessment Amidst Self Appraisal

Although Asake only cares about appealing to the street, his usual buyers, Fireboy makes Bandana sound more ‘personal’. It’s a moment of the singer’s life where assessment needs to be made on ‘this story’ he started writing since 2006.

Achieving ‘this story’ and this goal deserves praises — though the world may perceive it as pride or boasts. In a bid to attract conviction from the listeners, Fireboy subconsciously reiterates the same “I’m not joking” mentioned on the song Peru. He goes on to shove smoking or blowing “trees” aside, straining it is not a source of inspiration for him; something he already mentioned on the Playboy single weeks ago.

Fireboy specifically states that he is not “street” or “OG”, Asake, contrariwise, states otherwise. Hence, Bandana is a juncture where the ‘soft’ meets the ‘tough’. Few shots are fired with curses too; assured Fireboy projects into eternity; he will last forever. He is definitely right! Art idolizes artistes; as long as Fireboy’s music lives, he too lives, whether or not he is physically dead.

  1. Love Breeds Courage

“Love is courageous” — 2022 marks the second year since Brymo made this statement on the song, Heartbreak Songs Are Better in English, off his Yellow album.

2022 and we are reliving Brymo’s reality through a colloquial line of Asake’s lyrics on Bandana. “Na the love I dey see na him dey gimme liver,” Asake declares.

Like Brymo, Asake joins the school of thoughts that subscribe to the sentiment that love builds courage. Although, Brymo and Asake are two different personalities in many aspects of life, they share the same idea about love. This line is also a testimony to Omah Lay’s Damn; a testimony that even a hard man or a street man or a bad man or any kind of man, needs to be loved, regardless of his personality.

Sam George Mac is a music journalist known for the reviews of several music albums and songs. He is a singer and songwriter of Afrobeats, Dancehall, Highlife and RnB with the stage name SGM — a graduate of Mass Communication from The West African Union University, Cotonou.

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