In a recent interview with Hip TV, the renowned Nigerian singer Rema, or Divine Ikubor, shared the names of four distinguished artists who have left an indelible mark on him. Rema cited the late Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, a trailblazer in the afrobeat genre, and the American rapper Kanye West as significant sources of inspiration. Rema also disclosed that he derives inspiration from the Nigerian Afrobeats Grammy awardees Burna Boy and Wizkid.
The 23-year-old musician claims that Kanye West, Wizkid, and Burna Boy have influenced him. He said;
“I’m inspired by Burna [Boy] because of his story. Fela [Kuti] inspires me. Kanye West [inspires me] because of how far he goes in terms of his creativity, production. I really like Wiz [kid] because of how he carries himself.”
During his acceptance speech for the Best Male Artist of the Year award at the 2023 Headies Award ceremony in Atlanta, Georgia, Rema expressed his views on award ceremonies grouping Afrobeats artists, regardless of their genres. This comes after Burna Boy’s interview with Apple Music’s Zane Lowe, where he distanced himself from the Afrobeats label, citing its lack of depth.
“I must say it is very important that I should let everyone know that I’m not here because of the awards. I’m here because it is important to support our institutions. And when I said institutions, I mean the bodies that support you to be able to achieve these major successes; the media houses, award organisers, you know.
“\We are in a very sensitive period if we don’t give our attention to our institutions, we will miss this chance that we have. And we will never have this chance again.
Be it afrorave, afro this, afro that, last last, we go jam for afrobeats award. So, this is our chance. We [afrobeats artists] are not the first to do it. Reggae has done it before.”