Rapper Falz's 'This is Nigeria' video holds up a mirror for the country

Rapper Falz released a Nigerian cover version of Childish Gambino's 'This is America,' using it as means to address societal ills.

Joey Akan is an award-winning music journalist based in Lagos, Nigeria. He is a public relations consultant and commentator on African music and pop culture.
The views expressed in this commentary are solely his.

Lagos, Nigeria (CNN)One of Nigeria's biggest music stars, Falz, released a video this weekend as a cover version of Childish Gambino's viral video, 'This is America.'

The new version is titled 'This is Nigeria,' and it has generated a storm online, including a reaction from hip-hop musician and entrepreneur Diddy, who shared it on his Instagram page, propelling the video to worldwide recognition.
Falz, (real name Folarin Falana) has gained plaudits for tackling social ills in a country where pop stars rarely get political. Musicians tend to avoid political commentary, partly due to an ingrained fear of persecution from the powerful political class.

    Revolutionary spirit

    Falz's 'This is Nigeria,' embodies the revolutionary and rebel spirit of Fela Anikulapo Kuti before him. Fela Kuti, the pioneer of the Afrobeat genre, was famous for his political activism during the country's era of military dictatorships.
    From his records 'International Thief Thief' (ITT) to 'Zombie,' Kuti exhibited a bold defiance against the Nigerian government and other corrupt officials of his time. Fela was a raging supporter of human rights, and his records, - often filled with verbal attacks - were against Nigeria's military government in the 70's.
    It came at a great personal cost to him; he was frequently imprisoned and his mother was thrown off a balcony by an unknown Nigerian soldier during a raid.
    After the passing of Fela, his sons Femi and Seun Kuti have carried on some of his activism in their individual music careers, but Afrobeat, as a genre of music has largely become niche.
    Falz is known globally for his comedy-flavored hip hop hits but could he take on the political music mantle and fill the gap left by Fela?
    The singer has a law degree and is the son of prominent Nigerian lawyer and human rights activist, Femi Falana, so this suggestion is not as far-fetched as it sounds.