Damini Ebunoluwa Ogulu widely known as Burna Boy is a Nigerian singer, songwriter, performer, and part-time rapper. Arguably one of the biggest and most successful African artists currently signed to his own imprint Spaceship Entertainment, Atlantic Records, and Warner Music Group. The artist is greatly recognized for his unique style of afrobeat and an adaptation of Patois coupled with his unique vocal abilities. He put out his debut studio album in 2013 titled L.I.F.E. This put him on the radar to a decent number of Nigerian listeners who were particularly attracted to tracks like Run my race, Yawa Dey, Tonight, and Like to party. I still vividly remember rinsing these songs on my android phone. Simpler times though.
In 2015, Burna Boy put out his second album titled On a Spaceship. This had an intro talking about his “controversies” as an artist and his struggles in the music industry. I believe that album was a reply to everyone that did not believe in his talent, prospects, and ability as an artist and African man. Single, On a Very Good day, Soke, Birthday, and Before were tracks that headlined the album. In truth, this album didn’t reach the heights Burna and his fans might have hoped for considering the content, range, and features it possessed. 2016 was blessed with his seven-track EP titled Redemption which was headlined by Pree Me. This had lyrics of a storyteller communicating with the listeners, a laidback soothing beat, his unique irreplaceable vocals, and melodies that made most bop while listening to the message being put out.
A revolution started for Burna with the release of the Outside Album in 2018. It was and is an album for the outsiders. After the many controversies and irregularities of his career, Burna put out his third studio album for himself as an outsider and every other outsider that could relate. This album was packed with a variety of UK artists including Lily Allen, J Hus, Mabel, and producers like Leriq, Juls, Jae5, and others. Heaven’s gate was a song that stood out due to its unequaled peculiar sound. It was a mixture of Burna’s depth in patois coupled with the melodic shrill voice of Lily Allen. Most listeners still don’t know the lyrics of this song but we all jive hard to it. Ye was another single that stuck with every listener and arguably the most listened to. It had rocky beats, pidgin/ Yoruba mixed rhymes, relatable content, and Burna’s unequivocally classic vocals. As the title of the album, Outside was about being on the outside. It featured Mabel’s nerve-calming vocals alongside Burna’s mellifluous storytelling lyrics.
A year after the release of Outside, Burna exceeded his own limits by releasing African Giant. This album had a lot of the artist’s views on subjects like Bad Governance, the Pre-colonial and post-colonial era, the lifestyle of Africans, and the basic struggles of an African man. It was a project for every African everywhere and anywhere to tune in and feel at home in. Songs like African Giant, Pull Up, Dangote, Secret, Another Story, and Gbona stood out and shook Africa and the entire world.
After being nominated for multiple awards and bagging most. African Giant was more than displeased after being passed over by the Grammys. He put out another album with the first song titled “Twice as tall” which was also the name of the album. It was an expression of the artist’s thoughts post-Grammy’s. His ups and downs, how he finally made his way through it, and his growth after. Tracks like Way Too big, 23, Monsters You Made, Real Life, and Bank On It were other memorable songs. The features of this project and the message it passed were particularly significant and the timing was inch-perfect. Someone actually said Twice As Tall has songs for everybody and anybody.
Burna Boy is proof of Africa’s fast-rising pull on the music industry on a worldwide scale. The growth and reach of Burna boy have been evident over the years and it’s due to his perseverance, teamwork, and talent. His sound and outspoken music have put him on the radar and I doubt he’ll be leaving anytime soon.
Check out this amazing performance from the Grammy Award Winning Artist at the just concluded 2021 Grammy Awards: