Fresh from being snubbed at the Headies last month- which I thought was quite surprising, Burna Boy is set to perform this weekend at the 63rd Grammy Award Ceremony. I am stoked about this. Are you?
For a long time, Nigerian Afro-Pop and Hip Hop have been serving the world hot content; from wicked beats to inventive lyrics that incite body and soul, eventually going on to become popular street slangs. I mean, you wouldn’t call me insane when I say Nigerian music is the most vibed-to music in the world.
In the last 5 years, how many big-big and influential personalities have put Nigerian music in their playlists’ top 5? Welp! The truth is we’ve lost count, and even as we have, many cannot hide their love for our content, thanks to pacesetters like Burna, Wizkid, Rema, Davido, etc., and social media. But while the majority of our music has been criticised by a large part of the mainstream audience as noise, due to almost meaningless lyricism, the African Giant superstar stands out in this regard.
Although he may not be credited with writing all of his songs, countless times Burna Boy has made hit songs base-off addressing society’s most debatable subjects. Not everyone can make conscious music that goes on to become street anthems. His fourth studio album- African Giant was packed as such. Performances like African giant, Anybody, Dangote, and Another Story were a fine blend of unconscious and conscious elements of life; the sound and the lyrics. The unconscious subtly taking you away from reality and the conscious bringing you back. This is what music should be about.
But Burna didn’t stop there. He continued and has now carved a style out of it. Perhaps he realised he was building a strong connection with his audience after plenty of positive acclaims. Maybe for him, it was a matter of getting heard, so he continued with the style in Twice as Tall, his fifth studio album.
Similar to African Giant, Twice as Tall featured various international collaborations, with the one with Chris Martin particularly catching the eye. Featuring the legendary leader of American rock band Coldplay is a special feat. For me, this could have only come as a result of rigorous planning on the back of continued ingenuity to have been able to attract such a colossal international act.
I cannot fail to mention that when you look at the quality and style of most of Burna’s international features, you understand quicker, the direction in which he’s heading- a global phenomenon.
A performance slot at the biggest music awards ceremony for Burna Boy, arguably the best in the business of blending powerful sound with raw, powerful and purposed lyrics, is a recognition I feel has been long overdue. It’s a feat that only some of the finest musicians in the world achieve in their lifetime and it’s incredible for our industry. But two consecutive Grammy nominations in two years speaks, even louder volume.
What Grammy nominations do is: cement your place as a globally acclaimed artist. It’s therefore little surprise the number of international collaborations he’s raked in a couple of years. And although he may not win it again this time, it’s quadruple his value as a brand in a space of two years.
For all the sticks that Burna gets from fans of rival artistes, he’s the one hoisting our colours and helping us keep the “African Giant” tag alive. And long may his reign live.
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