The African Giant is known to have a knack for highly impressive projects, which is why they deserve attention.
Damini Ebunoluwa Ogulu, popularly known as Burna Boy, is no doubt a rare gem in the history of Nigerian music, an artist that has mastered his craft and has wielded it as a tool of excellence and originality.
Over the years, Burna Boy’s artistry has evidently grown, making him one of the most complete Afro-fusion artists the world will ever see. The African Giant’s pen game matches his song delivery as well as his stage craft-a full course meal. A thematic and sonically pleasing musician who isn’t afraid to use his talent as a voice that speaks about anything and everything; political, socio-cultural, and mind consciousness included.
As we always say, this article is not to downplay this artist’s creativity, but to us, some albums come out more appealing than others, and with about ten projects (including Mixtapes and EPs) released, this article will focus on Burna Boy’s albums in order of preference.
Released in 2015, the 20-track album was Burna Boy’s first attempt at creating a project as an independent artist, after leaving Aristokrat Records in 2014 to start his own record label, Spaceship Records. For us, this project takes the last position because of the lack of coherent and cohesive effort on the project. After having a year filled with several controversies and having to work independently, the project saw Burna Boy struggle, which might be as a result of different factors. Never the less, “On a Spaceship” had popular songs like “Soke” and “Jealousy”.
Burna’s debut album, released in 2013, was an impressive project that introduced him properly into the Nigerian music scene. Leriq, who was an affiliated producer with Aristokrat and is now signed to Burna Boy’s Spaceship record label produced the entire album. L.I.F.E, as of 2013, brought a different feel to the palongo-dominated Nigerian music industry, with a high level of influence from reggae, dancehall, and pop. Interestingly, the project featured buzzing acts like 2baba (2face Idibia), Timaya, M.I Abaga, Olamide, Reminisce & Wizkid, a line-up that was impressive for a debut album. The project also birthed smash tunes like “Run My Race,” “Yawa Dey,” “Tonight,” “Like To Party,” “Jahs Love Is True” and a host of others.
Released in 2022, the Grammy award-winning artist’s sixth studio album was released shortly after he turned 30 years old. The album turned out to be another masterpiece by Burna Boy, spiced with thematic richness across several topics. It was released in a year when Afrobeats was the most talked about genre in the world, and it saw international stars like Ed Sheeran, J Balvin, Khalid, and others comfortably deliver on Afro-fusion productions, rather than the usual scenario of African acts having to please the guests with a western-appealing sound. Stand-out songs on the 19-track project include ‘Last Last‘, ‘Common Person’, ‘Cloak & Dagger’, ‘Kilometre‘, ‘Its Plenty’, ‘Solid’, ‘For My Hand‘, and ‘Wild Dreams’.
The Grammy Album! Released in 2020, twice as tall was highly predicted to win the world’s most coveted music award by several music scholars and lovers after Burna Boy’s “African Giant” had previously lost to the legendary Angélique Kidjo.
The album was executively produced by American iconic rapper and music executive Diddy and Burna Boy’s mother and manager, Bose Ogulu, and the roll-out, distribution, and aftermath activities of the album were intentional to a fault.
Burna Boy and his entire team were very close to winning the Grammy the previous year, and that energy gave birth to “Twice as Tall,” which eventually won the World Music Album category at the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards, making him the first Nigerian solo artist to do so.
Again, the album is very rich in thematic perceptive, ranging from pain to joy, reality, friendship, and a lot more, and it features acts like Youssou N’Dour, Naughty by Nature, Sauti Sol, Chris Martin & Stormzy. Popular songs on the project include ‘Level Up (Twice as Tall)’, ‘Alarm Clock’, ‘Way Too Big’, ‘Onyeka (Baby)’, ‘No Fit Vex’, ’23’, ‘Monsters You Made‘, ‘Wettin Dey Sup’, ‘Real Life’, ‘Bank On It’ and others.
Released in 2018, ‘Outside’ was the perfect project that solidified the brand “Burna Boy” and everything he represents. After walking in that light with an EP titled ‘Redemption’ in 2016, Burna Boy, who has always been very distinct from his peers and was at the forefront of musicians who would take Nigerian music to every part of the world, cemented that notion with ‘Outside’, (the project was so surreal that Burna Boy’s fanbase and band is named after it). It’s hard to describe the Afro-fusion project, but the growth was apparent and it felt special, particularly because he hadn’t dropped a project in two years.
As Nature would have it, a single off the project ‘Ye’ courtesy of Kanye West, gave the album the massive boost it needed, which included debuting at number three on the Billboard Reggae Albums chart. With guest appearances from J Hus, Lily Allen & Mabel, the project had classic tunes like ‘More Life’, ‘City Vibration’, Sekkle Down, ‘Heavens Gate’, ‘Giddem’, ‘Street Of Africa’, ‘Rock Your Body, ‘Devil in California, ‘Calm Down’ & Others.
Released in 2019, coincidentally, this album is the giant of this list, although we opine that it’s almost on the same level as ‘Outside’. Burna Boy, having realized what he did with ‘Outside’ on a global scale, ran with that energy, and it was only right that he called it “African Giant,” as he was clearly on a mission.
According to a lot of music scholars and lovers, this project was supposed to earn Burna Boy his first Grammy award, which he lost to Angélique Kidjo. Burna Boy was able to find a balance on this album, giving every audience, regardless of social status, something to love on the album.
On African Giant, Burna Boy had the high class on chokehold with tunes like ‘Gum Body’, ‘Pull Up’, and ‘On The Low’, while the streets were having a blast with ‘Killing Dem’, ‘Gbona’, and the likes- a classic project that will live forever. The Project also had songs like “Dangote”, “Secret”, “Destiny”, “This Side” and a host of others.
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