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"Igbo and Shayo" Meaning by Burna Boy

“Igbo and Shayo” Meaning by Burna Boy


How well do you know Nigerian culture? Are you familiar with modern slang used in Nigeria? For example, do you know what the phrase “Igbo and Shayo” means? This phrase became somewhat popularized in Burna Boy’s song “Last Last.”

In this song, Burna Boy sings about his heartbreak. In the chorus, he claims he needs “Igbo and Shayo.” In this context, Igbo means weed, and Shayo means alcohol. So, Igbo and Shayo literally means “weed and alcohol.”

Of course, both words have other separate meanings, depending on which context they are used. 

The Meaning of Igbo and Shayo

For Nigerians who speak the Yoruba language, “Igbo” is a slang word for Cannabis, also known as weed. Originally, this word means “forest” or “bush,” but words and their meanings can evolve, especially when they become a part of slang. So, Igbo “evolved” from forest to weed. 

Similarly, Shayo means alcohol and alcoholic drink. However, Shayo means so much more than just alcohol or the act of drinking it. It also means happiness and joy.

Think of all the situations and events during which one drinks alcohol. Birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, parties, the list goes on. All these events are joyful, and they bring people together. 

With that in mind, Igbo and Shayo can simply represent partying and having fun by smoking weed and drinking alcohol.

For many people out there, smoking and drinking is a crucial aspect of the party culture. They can’t imagine having fun without these two activities.

However, Igbo and Shayo can also be a form of escape. In Burna Boy’s song, the main character isn’t interested in partying.

Instead, he is heartbroken because he broke up with his girlfriend. In an attempt to alleviate the pain, he wants to smoke weed and drink alcohol.

In short, the phrase Igbo and Shayo has a literal translation that means weed and alcohol, but the true meaning of this phrase is much deeper. It can represent fun, happiness, partying, and relaxing with friends, but it can also represent the attempt to numb the emotional pain and an escape from our problems.  

The Song’s Meaning Further Explained

At first, when Burna Boy says he needs Igbo and Shayo, you might think it is just another party song. However, this song is much more complex than that. First of all, the song is sampled from Toni Braxton’s 2000 single “He Wasn’t Man Enough.”

“Last, Last” became a huge hit in Nigeria and South Africa, and it reached the top of several international Afrobeat and Hip-Hop charts. Its catchy tune and relatable lyrics resonated with so many music fans worldwide. 

It seems that Burna Boy wrote this song from its own experience. He was in a relationship with the UK rapper Stefflon Don for two and a half years. The two broke up, and he released the “Last, Last” song afterward.

There are several notable parts of the song with strong messages: Everything ends, and everyone will experience heartbreak eventually. The feelings are swinging wild, like on a playground. Burna Boy even had a car accident due to his heartbreak. 

The relationship became toxic, and there was a lot of fighting and failed expectations. Still, Burna Boy hopes that there will be a chance, at least in another life, to make things right and reunite with his lost love. 

We suggest you listen to the whole song yourself. Don’t let its catchy tune fool you; this song is about pain, disappointment, and despair. Igbo and Shayo can only numb these feelings, but they can’t heal the broken heart. 

Other Meanings of Igbo and Shayo

Apart from being a slang word for weed, Igbo is also the name of a large ethnic group in southeastern Nigeria.

Igbo people make up approximately 15% of the Nigerian population, and their language is also called Igbo. So, the next time you hear or read the word Igbo, be aware that it can have several meanings. 

We already mentioned that Shayo has a much deeper meaning for Nigerians. Shayo represents all those gatherings that bring people together.

To celebrate the occasion, people usually drink alcohol. Sharing a drink with someone also creates deep bonds between people, allowing them to communicate with each other more openly.

Igbo people and other Nigerians place a lot of value on communal activities.

Their traditions are based on the spirit of togetherness. Pouring and sharing alcoholic drinks has strong symbolic meanings, and as such, drinking alcohol is a part of tradition for many people in Nigeria. 


Igbo and Shayo is a phrase popularized by Burna Boy’s song “Last, Last.” In this song, Burna Boy laments over the end of his relationship. Heartbroken, he concludes that he needs Igbo (weed) and Shayo (alcohol) to ease the pain.

While we all know that alcohol and drugs aren’t the healthiest ways to cope with heartbreak, it is easy to relate to Burna Boy. Everyone has experienced heartbreak and pain at least once in their lifetime.

If you are currently going through a similar situation, try to stay away from Igbo and Shayo, or at least try to consume them in moderation!

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