Burna Boy at it again!! As he drops ‘Twice As Tall’. Burna Boy, convincingly, took his place as one of Nigeria’s largest contemporary exports. Amassing a cult following in the UK with viral early releases ‘Like To Party’ and ‘Yawa Dey’ in the early ’10s, he warmed up after being released back to the country in 2016 (he was barred for suspected crime) with his iconic sold-out Hammersmith Apollo’s ‘Homecoming’ concert.
Over the last few years, 29-year-old Damini Ogulu has been focused on global expansion, sailing a sound that incorporates traces of Afrobeat and throws a strong measure of hip-hop, dancehall and afro-fusion.
He hypnotised the third album release ‘Outside,’ received a Grammy award for last year’s international success ‘African Giant,’ and now continues his reign with ‘Twice As Tall.’
The record was produced by Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs, but – aside from the moody, operatic ‘Alarm Clock’ – the mogul largely leaves his charge to blaze his own trail. The track leans on hand-drums and saxophones as the mighty Burna Boy wakes up, ready to signal his arrival and demand attention. “You better set your alarm clock,” he says as the song ends.
‘Way Too Big’ finds Burna Boy on self-confident form, as he relays his intention to avoid bad company: “I’m way too smart to be f*cking with you”.
Here, Burna Boy understands his roots, hailing his homeland (and its “Nigerian breweries”) as subtle violin runs cushion his vocals. This standout songs proves just how experimental afro-fusion can be.
Burna Boy loosens up further into the record, reviving his well-known charm on ‘Naughty By Nature’, jokily telling his lover that she won’t be able to handle him. It’s a pretty tongue-in-cheek affair, filled with saucy lyrics (“I was born naughty by nature,” he winks), and instantly feels like one of Diddy’s executive choices, a vintage East Coast flair adorning steel-pan led tune.
While much of ‘Twice As Tall’ finds Burna Boy in an unbreakable pan-African euphoria, the highly anticipated Chris Martin collaboration ‘Monsters You Made’ presents him at his most frustrated.
Burna Boy again delivers on ‘Twice As Tall’. While it’ll always be hard to top his magnumopus ‘African Giant’ and fan favourite ‘Outside’, the star’s latest album is a satisfying sequel.
It’s admirable to see him balance his signature sound with hints of exploration in collaborations such as ‘Monsters You Made’, all while remaining true to his mother tongue.
Album: ‘Twice As Tall’
Release date: August 14
Record label: Atlantic Records
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