Burna Boy sealed his position at the Zenith of the Afrobeat and Afropop genres with this album, African Giant. This release follows major achievements this year alone; winning the Listener’s Choice, Song of The Year, Best Male MVP, and African Artiste of the Year categories at the 2019 SoundCity MVP Awards Festival. Then going on to win the Best International Act category at the 2019 BET Awards, and finally having a solo track on Beyoncé’s The Lion King: The Gift soundtrack album for the Disney classic animation remake, The Lion King. The features on the album were also rich as he excluded A-List artiste in the Nigerian industry, for reasons best known to him. For an album titled African Giant, he didn’t bother adding African and internationally known artiste, but went ahead to add the likes of Damian ‘Jr. Gong’ Marley, multiple Grammy nominated and winner Angélique Kidjo, Future, YG and so on. The 19-track album was full of hits and genre mixtures that made a perfect blend, with him trying different flows, ranges, and topics on the tracks. The basic thing lacking majorly in the Nigerian Music Industry is Content. Artistes with content in Nigeria suffer proper recognition. The most popular and successful artistes are the Afropop artistes, these artistes former 99% of the A-List group, the remaining 1% are mostly from the Rap, Alternative music, Afrobeat, R&B and Soul genres. These 99% percent of these 99% lack contents or have slowly dropped the ball somewhere along the line during their career and just churn out beats and vibes that has zero contents and meaning. Between 2013 and 2019, the amount of songs without concepts and meaning content have the most rotations on the Radio, and TV, and the artistes get the endorsement deals. This fluke has made great songwriters dumb down their lyrics for the sake of popularity and recognition. They forget that gifted can’t do a great job being mediocre, like a mediocre would originally do. Long story short, Burna Boy is our very own Content Rich Afropop and Afrobeat artiste to get international recognition without being overrated.
9 albums, 39 tracks
When artists take the time to go to the studios to create music, the next line of action would be to determine when exactly to release it. This is because timing is very important in releasing music. Experience has shown that releasing music in Nigeria in the 2nd and 3rd quarters of the year is much more profitable than doing it in the 1st and 4th quarters of the year respectively. It results to great results in sales of the record, fans retaining the music and vibing to it through the better part of the year, thereby enabling it to trend up until the end of the year. And that will enable it to be favored in award ceremonies which usually happen in the 4th quarter of every year in Nigeria. On the other hand, music released in the 1st quarter of the year do not usually trend till the end of the year. They are usually knocked off or replaced or pushed aside by other records that are released during the course of the year, but they have a great chance of being hit songs due to the relative lack of new music in that quarter of the year. And those released in the 4th quarter of the year have the power to trend but usually do not make it to the awards because of not having enough time on the charts, or music critics and journalists not seeing them as worthy enough to be nominated to awards because of their limited time in that music year. So every quarter has its benefits and downsides. Awards which a lot of people say do not matter these days still matter to artists, and is a reflection of how good a musician was in a particular year or years. So its usually a tough decision to make and every artist wants to receive a pat (awards) on the back for the work they have put in especially from the prestigious ones. The only exception is if the music is so good and spectacular, then you could take the bold step of releasing it in the 1st quarter. And that would be a really bold step, otherwise releasing it in the 2nd quarter would be a safer approach. When Burna Boy released his third studio album "Outside" on January 26th, 2018, he probably did not know it would turn out to be the album of the year. He was probably 'aiming for the moon with hopes of landing on the stars'. But that album surpassed its expectations.
This past weekend, BET hosted it’s 19th awards ceremony in sunny Los Angeles, CA and this year’s show included a new category for “Best International Act”. Among the contestants nominated for this award was the Nigerian bad boy, the Port Harcourt lord, the African Giant, Burna Boy. Put in a category with other international acts like Dave, Dosseh, Giggs, Aya Nakamura, AKA, and Mr. Eazi, Burna came out victorious in a solid group of artists. So far in 2019, African artists are finally feeling the recognition from other parts of the world, for their unique musical styles and special place in world music as a whole. Historically speaking, Africa is thought to be the birthplace of music in general, so it’s only right to pay respects to the special sounds ringing out from the motherland. Before the awards and worldwide stardom however, Burna had to build from within. Out of the many musical countries in Africa, Nigeria is known for its enormous music scene from the many tribes that reside there. In Burna’s rise to the present, he had to represent for the River States of Nigeria, and built a following with his 2015, sophomore album On a Spaceship.
The year was 2012. I had just finished up lectures for the day and was about stepping into my room when my roommate bounced excitedly in my direction, his ears plugged and his head bobbing to some mysterious tune he was bobbing to. I was about to have him go his way so I could deal with the hunger pangs dealing with me at the time when he forced me to listen to what got him bobbing his head wildly and lo and behold, I was hooked. The song at the time was a new jam titled Like To Party from rookie Nigerian artiste Damini Ogulu known around the globe as Burna Boy. Now the song wasn’t your typical Nigerian kind of song, what I felt listening to this song was nostalgia as it brought about a feeling that took me way back. That was the introduction of Burna Boy into the Nigerian music scene, and boy, that was some introduction. It took some guts to release a song like “Like To Party” when Nigerians seemed to totally be in tune with a different style of music. Like To Party changed perceptions that hit jams had to be constructed in a certain way before the Nigerian audience could accept it. Burna Boy roared in with a genre that was a fusion of Jazz, 90’s R&B, Afrobeat, Dance hall and reggae and this exactly was what his debut album L.I.F.E (Leaving an Impact For Eternity) embodied. The album was released under his then record label Aristokrat Records and was an album that really caught the eye with its uniqueness, all-round different sound and originality. For a debut album, he was also able to pull off a number of high-profile features with the likes of Nigerian music legend 2face Idibia, dancehall star Timaya as well as superstar artistes, Wizkid, M.I, Reminisce and Olamide making notable appearances. L.I.F.E was, is and will always be one of the best albums to come out of these shores as I can notably point to the fact that there is not a single bad song in there. For the opener, Burna Boy perfectly mixes reggae/dancehall and Fuji (a genre of music that originated from Western Nigeria and that were successful in Nigeria in the mid 90’s mainstream scene) and the result turned out just right. His command of the Yoruba language from the Western part of Nigeria will leave you gaping at the fact that he originates from Rivers State in Nigeria. It was set out to correct a few misconceptions about him and also clarify where he really is from. L.I.F.E and Burna Boy single handedly put Aristokrat record on the map in times when it was difficult for new labels to attain that kind of attention except they signed an already known artiste or it was started by a known artiste. He touched a series of topics ranging from loyalty, humility, forgiveness, warning, self-reflection, self-adulation, socio-economic, and assurances, all whipped up in a genre that was quite strange at the time, but he made it work regardless. As expected of every album, it wasn’t all dope songs but at the very least, they are not bad songs either, except for the few amazing tracks on there that keeps you going up and about your daily challenges. His emergence in 2012 earned him a nomination as the Next Rated at 2013 Soundcity MVP Awards (Headies), which was heavily contested with the likes of Dammy Krane, Seyi Shay, Phyno, and Sean Tizzle whom went on to win the award. The following year, L.I.F.E album had 3 nominations in the Album of the Year, Hip-Hop Revelation of the Year, and the Best R&B/Pop Album categories at the 2014 Soundcity MVP (Headies Award). Although the album went toe to toe with heavyweight albums such as Olamide’s Baddest Guy Ever Liveth, Phyno’s No Guts No Glory, Sean Tizzle’s The Journey, Kcee’s Take Over, Tiwa Savage’s Once Upon a Time, and Sound Sultan’s Me, My Mouth & Eye, and did not win any of the categories. This triggered him to revolt and disrespect the organizers, later spilled over to the fans, he finally left Nigeria for South Africa to continue to ply his trade in a bid to make true the saying “No Prophet is welcomed in his Hometown” - sadly that was not the case as he was not welcomed overseas until years later when he came back home to try again.
“Outside” is the third studio album by the twenty seven year old Nigerian Afro-fusion Musician Damini Ogulu, professionally known as Burna Boy that was released in January 2018 through Spaceship Entertainment, Bad Habit and Atlantic Records. This has been described as a mixtape and is made up of Afro-Jamaican genres like afrobeats, reggae, dancehall and some influence of road rap. Burna Boy reportedly linked up with the Toronto-born rapper Drake and looked for a “playlist” collecting sounds from across the world, which hybridised the overall sound in the album. There is a total of thirteen tracks in the album with an overall time length of forty four minutes, with only one of the tracks exceeding four minutes. The album received excellent reviews from the music critics and listeners. It received a rating of 7.7 out of 10 on Pitchfork that praised Burna Boy’s versatility in this album claiming it to be “a fine lesson in mixing genres without making mud”. One Time, that rated the album 4 out of 5 stars, praised the successful experiment with different sounds, however, also mentioned that it lacks a common theme. The African lifestyle, entertainment and fashion website BellaNaija rated the album 8 out of 10, stating that Burna Boy was successful with this work even after remaining defiant of the norms of the industry. Nigerian Entertainment Today stated that the album showcases a versatile and well-balanced mix of speed, depth and storytelling. The music review website TooXclusive also rated the album 4 out of 5 stars praising the diverse range of sounds within the album. An article published on the online platform Medium might have already summarized what the writer thought of the album in the headline itself- “OUTSIDE- Burna Boy is a jerk, who is also a Genius”. Nigerian Entertainment Today and Pulse Nigeria ranked the album as the best Nigerian album of 2018. Moreover, Nigeria Entertainment Awards awarded Outside the Album of the year in 2018, and it debuted at number 3 on the Billboard Reggae Albums chart. It was also nominated in the Album of the year list by the City People Music Awards. Overall, most of the critic and listener responses on YouTube uploads and various other websites suggest that this album is being liked by most of them. The infusion of different sounds made it even more attractive to them.
The journey hasn’t been an easy one for Burna Boy in his rise through the Industry. He went from a promising artiste to one without a home and then became everyone’s sweetheart with the release of this album. His rising to prominence with his hit Singles “Like To Party”and “Tonight” in 2012. They earned him an endorsement deal with Globacom Nigeria and it catapulted his career to a larger audience when they held their GLO Mega Tour (2013 Edition) in several cities in Nigeria. I attended the Lagos event and it made me fall in love with his music. Up until that point, I had never heard of Burna Boy nor his music, but his “Run My Race” and “Tonight” performances are etched in my memory forever, and also earned him a spot on my music library. He went on to release his Album L.I.F.E – Leaving an Impact For Eternity in 2013, which became an instant success; Critically and Commercially. It was widely accepted across different generations and social classes. The core of his fans came from the Marijuana smokers, as they easily related with his music and he added some spice of Afrobeats to his sound, to which he claimed Fela Anikulapokuti as a major inspiration and influence in his music. With hits like “Yawa Dey” and “Celebrate” the album he broke through to become an A-List artiste in Nigeria. Played on every radio station and music video stations everyday round the clock in the country and around the world; Trace and MTVBase. The stage was set for his rise, and he was ready for the top. His songs and album left the ones by Industry Veterans and Legends in its shadow. He was easily the best thing to happen to the industry that period although he had stiff competition from Sean Tizzle. His problems started after the 2014 Headies where he bagged as many as 3 Album Nominations and a Singles nomination for a new song he released after the album, and didn’t win any of the categories. The Best R&B/Pop Album Category was tight with the likes of Sound Sultan’s Me, My Mouth & Eye, Tiwa Savage’s Once Upon a Time, Kcee’s Takeover, and Sean Tizzle’s The Journey which ended up winning the category. Then came the Album of the Year, which was also a very tight spot for his album as it stood toe-to-toe with Sean Tizzle’s The Journey, Phyno’s No Guts No Glory, and the winner, Baddest Guy Ever Liveth by Olamide. He was also up for Hip-Hop Revelation of the Year, and this time it was against the likes of Tiwa Savage’s Once Upon a Time, Sean Tizzle’s The Journey, and Kcee’s Takeover that ended up winning the category. Apparently, everyone felt bad he didn’t win, but Burna Boy took it up a notch by condemning the Award Organisers of rigging it, and also threw a few shots at his fans, packed up his stuffs and moved to South Africa to try and push his music from their in efforts of gaining International recognition and then get the deserved awards. That caused a lot of friction with his large fan base and he somehow disappeared from the minds of people as he dropped his sophomore album On a Spaceship, and Redemption an EP. His core fan base stayed loyal; marijuana smokers all through his revolt and hiatus; didn’t appear in any concert or event in Nigeria, didn’t headline any concert in Nigeria as well as promote his songs and videos in Nigeria. He ended his fight with the Nigeria Market when he didn’t get acceptance from the South Africans since his also not accepted in his home country. He set things right and finally blessed us with this Album, which is the height of his comeback into the Nigerian Market was an instant hit, and simply hit the ground running. He touched topics from Night Life, to Hope, Judging others, Salutations to his hometown Port Harcourt, and the normal dance tracks. The album earned him 4 nominations and 4 Awards in Soundcity MVP Awards Festival; Listener’s Choice, Song of the Year, Best Male MVP, and African Artiste of the Year. He surely struck Gold with this album and now, his placed is finally sealed in the Music Industry as a Veteran, an A-List Veteran.
Official Music Videos
Featuring Version Videos
Remix Version Videos
Static Image Video
- Jun 25, 2019Burna Boy deserved his BET award – Davido
- Jun 24, 2019Burna Boy, Mum at BET
- Jun 24, 2019BET Awards: Burna Boy’s mother shines with moving acceptance speech
- Jun 24, 20192019 BET Awards: Burna Boy wins Best International Act
- Jun 24, 2019BET Awards winners in full: Cardi B, Migos and Burna Boy win top prizes
- Jun 14, 2019Burna Boy’s new single `Anybody’ is another party starter
- May 19, 2019Burna Boy, Mr Eazi, Teni make BET Awards nominees’ list
- May 17, 2019Burna Boy, Teni, Mr Eazi nominated for BET awards
- Aristokrat (former)
Damini Ogulu (born 2 July 1991), known professionally as Burna Boy, is a Nigerian Afro-fusion singer and songwriter. He rose to prominence in 2012 after releasing the lead single "Like to Party" from his debut studio album, L.I.F.E (2013).
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