Gospel rapper, B.o.u.q.u.i (Bukola Falayan) has lamented the derogatory way women depict themselves in hip-hop videos.
In a no-holds-barred interview with TS Weekend, the gospel singer who just returned to Nigeria after a successful tour that took her to a dozen capitals across the globe described the development as sad and unfortunate.
“I have a problem with the way women portray themselves in hip hop videos. It’s crazy and degrading,” the queen of gospel rap said.
“They even call themselves dirty names. Back in the day if any one called you such names you’d take them out! But today those dirty names have been glamourised and if you don’t have certain things in your video, TV stations won’t play your music.
“Interestingly, on one-on-one basis, these ladies have beautiful spirits. However, they want to make money. I don’t blame them because that comes down to strength of character and purpose. I have no problem with commercial music but the message should be objective and impact the lives of listeners especially youths.”
Years after you established herself as a successful gospel rapper, why is it that more young women are not taking after you?
Her response: “As a guy, you need to put in five per cent to be successful while for a woman it is different; she has to put in 80 per cent. And a lot of girls are not ready to do that especially when they are confronted with the option of sleeping with a boss they think will sustain them.
“But it’s too late when they suddenly realise that will not sustain them and they fall by the way side. It’s not only about gospel music; it happens in every sphere of our lives. Girls have to work twice as hard to get noticed so it’s not about being the only visible female gospel rapper.
“They can do it but it takes a lot of grace. It takes a lot of unction to function and you need to know God, you really need to know God for who he is, not because of what you can get from him.
“When you know God, your priorities are set right, when you know him your life is set straight and it drives your character and so if I have a boss who’s trying to hit on me, I already know it’s a no-no. And it’s not because the guy is not cute but because I can’t do it.”
Have you ever been confronted with a situation where a music producer or a label owner wanted to take you to bed before producing your music?
“The truth is that I have. I am a woman and I am not bad looking so I have had a few experiences but it does not matter because that’s not what drives me. A good relationship is when I like you for who you are and not what I can get from you; that’s extortion and exploitation.”
The Love Hope War Tour
Bouqui also talked about her concert tagged: “The Love Hope War Tour” featuring American gospel artiste, Da Truth, who is a two-time Grammy award nominee, four times Stellar award winner and two times Dove award nominee among a host of other African acts including Abel Chungu Musuka from Zambia, Prince Cjay from South Africa and Illceey from Zimbabwe.
Commenting on the concert Bouqui says: “The concert will also parade the very best of Nigeria gospel stars including Panam Percy Paul, Sammie Okposo, Nikki Laoye, Jahdel, Eben, Tim Godfrey and The Xtreme Crew.
“The Love Hope War Tour was put together to promote Da Truth’s new album entitled, Love, Hope and War. It has already begun in many cities across the United States of America. We were at UNILAG earlier in the week and we will hit Abuja before moving to Zimbabwe and South Africa later in the month.”
However, the rapper also disclosed that the concert in Lagos and Abuja would serve a double function, as it would also preview her forthcoming double album entitled, Marks of A General and Eve of Independence.
“I’m really excited about this,” says Bouqui as she opens up on the project. “My dream is to be the first African woman to release a double album. We have 14 songs in both albums and I also featured Da Truth and a couple of other artistes including the foreign artistes on this tour. It’s a double album because I want to break grounds.
“Apart from being the only visible gospel female rapper, I also want to be the first female to drop a double album in Africa.”
Bouqui is successful, attractive and upwardly mobile. In a career spanning seven years she has established herself as a successful female rapper. When is she tying the knot?
She smiles as she responds, stating that when it is time, the world will know. “The Bible says for everything there is a time and a season,” she says, laughing.
Is there a guy in her heart right now?
Bouqui laughs again as she responds: “Let me keep that to myself.”
Once upon a professor’s daughter Born to a family of six kids, Bouqui is second to the last child. Recounting her early years, she speaks glowingly about her late dad who wanted her to be a medical doctor.
“My parents did not spoil us one bit. My father was a professor who made you work twice as hard for whatever you wanted. He wanted me to study medicine; his dream for me was that I should be a medical doctor,” she said going down memory lane, “but then he passed on and today I am a rapper.
“I wish he was alive today to see that even though I studied Administration in the university, I turned out well. And even though I didn’t become a medical doctor, I am healing souls with my music; for me, it’s also a kind of therapy; a kind of healing which is what doctors do so in some special way, I still see myself as a doctor.”
Bouqui has an advice for young girls who want to take to gospel rap as a career:
“I would encourage them to know God and seek God more because you cannot sing about a God you don’t know. You have to know Him, then He will give you the message that people need to hear.”