Tag Archives: burna boy

Burna Boy – Twice As Tall

1 Sep

I’ve gone through a lot of anti-colonial stuff in my time, but I don’t think anyone ever comes anywhere close to making it as much fun as Burna Boy does. The Nigerian afro-fusion artist is just absurdly talented as a musician. His music is as infectious as you could ask for, but clever to go with it. There’s an easy and deeply unfair critique of world music often made, that it’s a shallow gimmick to go to cultural roots for sounds, but Burna Boy’s music fully puts lie to that.

He has some top tier work in this album. The opener “Level Up” is strong music and his talk about the Grammys is disarmingly honest in an album that goes so hard. “Way Too Big” is impeccable stunting and aggressively anti-colonial. “Wettin Dey Sup” is maybe the catchiest song of the year. Also, I really appreciate getting the embodiment of White music, Chris Martin, in for the hook of the angrily anti-colonial “Monsters You Made.”

However, there’s a lot of air in Twice As Tall. “Naughty By Nature” is fun and upbeat, but also forgettable and not particularly interesting. The afro-fusion and pidgin do something, but not quite enough. “Real Life” doesn’t deliver on the promise of the Stormzy collaboration. I’m sure though that I would get more from the album if I knew Yoruba. His lyrics just add so much to the sound.

Overall, it’s not quite the statement of arrival that African Giant was, but Twice As Tall is still a strong entry in the burgeoning afro-fusion scene. It’s fun, it’s intelligent and it knows its history to boot.

Burna Boy – African Giant

23 Dec

This is undoubtedly the catchiest album that I’ve heard all year. Burna Boy just has that ear for it that you cannot replicate. This is an album that puts you in undeniable motion.

The combination of African sounds and the Nigerian patois that run through it mix cleanly with the just-as-prominent modern pop and rap sounds to make something at once of the future and deeply connected to its roots.

In particular, “Anybody” and “Wetin Man Go Do” pull all of the pieces together perfectly. It’s a sound that’s excitingly novel in all that it brings to the table and again, it’s just very catchy.

It’s a fun album. “Killin Dem” is compulsive and “Omo” is infectious. This is, more than anything, the reason to try it out. “Secret” has the kind of chorus that sticks in your ears long after you’ve pressed pause.

It is hopefully also the sign of Burna Boy’s emergence. This is an album with impressive features. Unfortunately, neither Future nor YG show up that well. Both are just out of place on this and that dissonance is hard to break from. Jorja Smith is excellent though. “Gum Body” has a great verse from her as well as a stand-out chorus and an absolutely wonderful little sax lick in the middle. Similarly, “Secret” has a fantastic chorus and the features help an already great track stand out.

The album does lose pace somewhere around the middle and a few sounds drag for too long, but this is still the most enjoyable album that I’ve heard all year. Also, it has a fascinating aside about colonialism in Nigeria and that kind of thing automatically bumps an album up a rung.

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