Swizz Beatz has claimed he introduced Burna Boy and Wizkid to America.
The producer was a recent guest on Amazon Music’s Rotation Roundtables with Speedy Morman, Nyla Symone, Rob Markman and Gabe P. During the interview, Swizz made a bold statement about his role in bringing Afrobeats to the U.S. audience.
“See, the key thing that you said was you got on a plane and you went to Ghana and now you’re stuck on Afrobeats,” he said. “I introduced Wizkid to America. I was the first person to play his song. Me and my wife were on a trip and we danced to his song.
“[I was the] first person to bring Burna Boy to the States. Actually, he had a Ruff Ryders bandana on and I introduced him on the stage. When I was playing Fela Kuti, people thought I was being too African, and that’s how ignorant the energy was at that time.
“But I didn’t let that stop me from moving what I’m moving because it is what it is. It’s all educational. So we can’t be scared of the educational journey of something that sound different or feels different. So for me traveling the world, it’s a whole like — I can’t wait for people to listen to Ebo Taylor.”
He added: “It’s piercing through, by the way. People are more open-minded — they just need the right entry point.”
Managing director for Sony Music Publishing, Nigeria, Godwin Tom, responded to Swizz Beatz’s comments by telling the story of Wizkid’s success in America from his perspective.
“Here is a story for you… @MI_Abaga put Wiz on his groundbreaking album ‘Talk About It’ and properly introduced him to the market,” he wrote on Twitter. “@BankyW and @CaptDemuren signed him and put EVERYTHING into pushing him and the artist’s on their label including Banky’s own career.
“A series of activities happened and some of it was about personal interests by the people who did it and some was from people trying to pioneer an opportunity and when it didn’t work, moved on to other things and artists. Others just wanted to exploit.
“Then the deal happened after Wiz turned down deals and shout out @Tunji and the RCA team for the work on Wiz’s album and shout out Wiz’s team for pushing boundaries and taking risks.”
While appreciating support from the likes of Swizz Beatz and Akon, Tom made it clear he doesn’t want the narrative to get twisted.
“Now, add Wiz, David, Burna, Tiwa, Rema, etc and more coming and Afrobeats is the thing and everyone who tried and didn’t get much out of it are now saying they brought it to America,” he continued. “Here is the danger of this narrative!
“We are making a mistake in allowing others tell our stories and soon we won’t have a story or history and guess what… these videos with Swizz and Akon will be referenced in America.”
He added: “I hope you get what I am saying. We thank them for their contributions and support but this our story to tell.”
Here is a story for you… @MI_Abaga put Wiz on his groundbreaking album “Talk Ab