Once upon a time, I recapped an insane Christian book that claimed the devil created football as a tool to destroy humanity. The article’s popularity made me turn my recaps into a weekly series named “So You Don’t Have To“, where I find batshit crazy pieces of media (books, movies, etc) and recap them for your pleasure.
Today, I’ll be recapping the lowkey horror short film that is Styl-Plus’ 2006 hit, “Iya Basira.”
For those who don’t know Styl Plus or those who didn’t my recap of the music video for their song, ‘Call My Name,’ Styl Plus is a Nigeria R&B/Pop group that burst onto the scene in the early 2000s with their hit single, ‘Olufunmi.‘ They were so hot at the time that all they had to do was stand on a stage and sing and people everywhere would violently cream their jeans. Even though they mostly sang love songs, their debut album, ‘Expressions.’ featured a track titled “Iya Basira.”
On the surface, ‘Iya Basira’ is a funny story about a woman who runs a buka with food so good, it brings all the boys to the yard and makes them go loco. But a deeper look at the storyline reveals that under all that comedy and light-heartedness is something sinister.
The video starts with all three members of Styl Plus eating in a buka. In the background, the sound of the buka’s other patrons trying to buy food can be heard. The sets in the video are hand-drawn, giving the entire video the look and feel of a comic book come to life. I’m not sure if this was an intentional design choice or if it was born out of a lack of funds. Either way, I love it because It adds to the video’s camp.
I just got into RuPaul’s Drag Race so I’ve been using the word “camp” every chance I get.
We’re introduced to the eponymous character. She’s shown cooking a shit ton of food by herself — she has no staff — and smiling, which implies that she actually enjoys cooking. In my opinion, this should’ve been the first red flag because no actual human enjoys cooking. Anyone who says otherwise is a liar and a dirty bitch who lives a fake life.
A random guy gets the story going by describing Iya Basira’s buka and how sweet her food is. He says a lot of people think she’s lacing her food with jazz but can’t stop (won’t stop) patronising her because her food is so damn good. Iya Basira is shown onscreen again, and this time, she has a look on her face that seemingly says:
The boys show up and sing the chorus in costumes that are random as hell.
People, people make una come o
Iya Basira e don jazz me o, ooo
Everybody help save me o
I no dey sabi chop ati my mother or my girlfriend’s place
Shiffi sings the first verse. He’s in a straitjacket, locked up in a padded cell, and is telling a policeman the story of how he ended up there. He says his problems started the day he went to visit his friend, Sunday. Sunday was high as shit that day but his younger brother was sober and offered to take Shiffi on a stroll. I assume they were already friendly because Shiffi goes with him and they end up at Iya Basira’s buka.
Only after eating four rounds of food did Shiffi realise that something was terribly wrong. It was too late, though. The damage had already been done.
In the second verse, Zeal says he’s also hooked on Iya Basira’s food, adding that he’s now so broke from eating there all the time that he has to steal from his roommate to fund his new addiction. Here’s a shot of Zeal going to steal from his roommate:
He talks about how he was supposed to take his girlfriend to Oceanview for her birthday but was jonesing so hard for Iya Basira’s amala that he drove past his girlfriend’s house and went to get some. It’s revealed at the end of the verse that he has also been committed to psychiatric care due to his addiction Iya Basira’s food.
The last verse is sung by Tunde and in it, he begs a police officer to go arrest Iya Basira because he believes she’s jazzing people with her vagina water. The policeman goes to interrogate Iya Basira and this is how the conversation goes:
As you’ve probably already guessed, he eats the food and falls under her spell. He says there’s no case and settles in to eat more food. Here’s a shot of Iya Basira giving him nyash while he smiles like a fucking doofus.
The people who hoped the policeman would end Iya Basira’s hold on them (and their bank accounts) are like:
That’s how the song ends, you guys, with even more people waiting to buy Iya Basira’s food…
….and Iya Basira letting the boys know that she fucking owns them now and there’s nothing they can do about it.
It’s never made clear if it’s by magic or science but it’s clear that Iya Basira has figured out mind control. Sure, her aspirations are small right now — she just wants her buka business to do well. But judging by that shot of more people buying her food, it’s only a matter of time before she starts to think big. And when she does:
Check back every Friday for more So You Don’t Have To insanity.
Click here to read other entries in the So You Don’t Have To series.