A record like ‘Energy’ remains one of his best records. But as he rose through the ranks with records like ‘Commander’ and ‘Spiritual,’ so did an infamous reputation for outbursts and for being an irritant. Many criticized his rising ego, and credited it to how many mocked his talent, while he was still a student at Babcock University.
Some even called him rude, although we have no evidence of that. Then there was the infamous woman issue, which saw a UK-based Nigerian lady allege that Buju used her for money. In the middle of this, Buju signed to Spaceship, and was led by Burna Boy’s mom, Bose Ogulu.
One year into the contract, Buju had released a paltry two singles, of which ‘L’enu’ was a remix of an already released buzzing record. While Buju has never publicly said a bad word about Burna Boy or his mom, and Burna has publicly supported Buju with tweets, and an appearance at Buju’s first headlining show in December 2021, word on the streets still maintain that Buju’s time on and exit from the label was far from civil.
In 2021, Buju became Nigeria’s MVP. He launched right out of the gates with a number of features and his own record, ‘Outside.’ By this time, he had become a fully formed artist, who was a combination of Wande Coal’s pop brilliance, Burna Boy’s lyrical bravado and Tubaba’s flow scheme and technique. His sophomore EP, Sorry I’m Late also reflected his earned confidence, from having a solid patch.
Led by his music, his PR as a controversial act suddenly began to change. Not even Wizkid FC’s tendency to dig up old tweets could slow him down. He had laid his music via a public offering and everybody was keen to purchase their share, almost like an NFT.
They are so invested that Pulse Nigeria’s placement of Buju as a No. 2 artist of 2021 in Nigeria came with a lot of backlash.
To support the movement led by his music, Buju has slowly started to show the good sides of his personality via his deft use of Twitter. While some have been critical of his tendency to ‘over-reveal,’ they are totally wrong. He’s mastering the art of providing engaging updates about his activities as an artist and a person, as well as his state of mind, without revealing too much.
He has used music to clean his image. With the social media engagement, he’s no longer isolated. Now, he needs to create a fan base and respect them, not weaponize them with celebrity toxicity.
If he does that, he’ll be fine. With his talent, he looks destined for the heights of global music. He’s also eloquent, with an engaging mind. If he cultivates a solid fan base, he would be the dream collaboration for brands.
People like to say that social media isn’t real life. They have a point, but it’s real enough to make people formulate an opinion about a person. 280 characters can be easily misinterpreted, but most users of social media aren’t as emotionally intelligent. The presentation of a tweet or a caption is enough for a myopic interpretation.
If a social media user can cultivate their activity properly, they control their own PR and brand perception. In Buju’s case, it’s all that matters.