Burna Boy’s latest album, ‘Twice As Tall’, continues to gain worldwide recognition on billboards, popular download and streaming platforms, making it the first Afrobeats album to enjoy such top spots of recent, writes Ferdinand Ekechukwu
Nigerian Afro-fusion artiste, Burna Boy continues to plod towards global domination following the release of his new album which has taken over billboards in major cities in the USA and UK. The album is featuring on billboards in New York, LA and London, courtesy of YouTube Music, Amazon and Spotify. Burna Boy recently posted the exciting videos on his Instagram page accompanied by various captions.
“Twice As Tall”, Burna Boy’s fifth studio work, released on August 14, 2020, is also already doing well on global charts. The album ticked success box as it peaked at number 1 on Apple Music last week. It got over five million streams in just an hour after it dropped. Upon release, the album was number one in 31 countries. Asides from Nigeria and UK, ‘Twice As Tall’ also reached number 1 in South Africa, Ghana, Botswana, Gambia, Kenya, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman. US rapper and legendary producer, P. Diddy said it deserves to win album of the year.
According to a post by ChartsAfrica, the album is Number One Worldwide on popular download and streaming platform Apple Music, making it the first Afrobeats album to enjoy the top spot. While speaking about the album, Burna Boy said: “It is a journey through a bunch of emotions and energies at different points in time. It has now morphed into something bigger than me. It serves as a bridge for mankind to show that we’re all different but still very much the same.”
Executive Produced by Bosede Ogulu and Burna Boy, the “Twice As Tall” album boasts of a plenitude of producers; from Sean Combs a.k.a. Diddy, to Telz, P2J, Timbaland, Leriq, Rexxie, Skread, Andre Harris, Jae5, Mike Dean and many more.
The confluence of songs on the album holds guest appearances from Naughty by Nature, the Kenyan band Sauti Sol, Senegal’s music titan, Youssou N’Dour and Chris Martin of Coldplay.
Whilst he pointedly addressed Nigeria’s colonial history and inveterate corruption in his last album ‘African Giant’, the “Twice as Tall” album sees Burna Boy make music as a citizen of the world, lashing out at racism, exploitation and the general widespread fallacies about Africa.
Most of the songs on this album could be heard loud. ‘Level Up’, is the brooding-to-triumphant song that opens the “Twice as Tall’’ album. Not only does it celebrate Burna Boy’s own achievements, it also notes life’s harsh realities in the lyrics: “Some of my guys might never see the sun/some of them still peddle drugs.”
‘Time Flies’ featuring Sauti Sol is a heavenly reminder of simpler times. The melodic arrangement of the Nigerian vernacular and Swahili in this song, appended to the beautiful vocal variety of the Kenyan group Sauti Sol, gives this track a guileless intimacy, fervency, soul and depth. In the poignant song ‘The Monsters You Made’, Burna exposes an indictment of miss-education, historical injustice and systemic racism, delivered in clear English with mounting fury. He addresses the ruling classes, arguing that it is they who have fomented any black anger, even crime, through colonial oppression.
‘Monsters You Made’ also has an in-song pairing never likely to be seen again: 78-year-old Ghanaian feminist, political activist and playwright Ama Ata Aidoo and Coldplay’s Chris Martin. The former is in the shape of a snatch of TV interview about the damage done to Africa by colonialism, in which she rinses the host and hangs him out to dry; the latter finds Gwyneth Paltrow’s ex-husband singing a chorus warning ‘there is only so much people are going to take.’
Burna says: “That song comes from a lot of anger and pain and me having to witness firsthand what my people go through and how my people see themselves. I see how many people are deceived and confused. I just try to blend all of that in and make it understood that we’re all going through the same problems. We just speak different languages.”
Other tracks to look out for on the ‘Twice As Tall’ album are ‘Onyeka’ produced by Telz, ‘Bebo’ produced by Rexxie, ‘Comma’ produced by Rexxie, ‘23’ produced by Skread, ‘Bank on It’ produced by Jae5, ‘No fit vex’ produced by LeriQ and ‘Way too big’ produced by LeriQ, Mike Dean and Diddy.
The 15-track album is a follow up to his critically acclaimed 2019 album “African Giant”.
Burna Boy started out making party songs. But his focus shifted to music with inspirational messages. “Music is a spiritual thing. I’ve never picked up a pen and paper and written down a song in my life,” he said in an interview with The New York Times. “It all just comes, like someone is standing there and telling me what to say. It’s all according to the spirits. Some of us are put on this earth to do what we do.”
Success has brought him “a very huge responsibility that I didn’t think I would have,” he added. Although critics are divided as to the strength of his lyrical poignancy in ‘Twice As Tall’ compared to his last album, African Giant for which he got a Grammy gesture.
For his new album, he speaks pensively, saying it’s “basically continuing the mission I started, which is building a bridge that leads every Black person in the world to come together, and to make you understand that without you having a home base, you can’t be as strong as you are.”
It is clear that the Afrofusion pioneer Burna Boy is on a mission to engage the spirits, provoke insight into his music and inspire us to a full tank in a delirium of musical savour, but most importantly, Burna Boy’s fifth studio album is an evolution, an adhesive which makes the Afro-fusion star’s music a touchstone to everything he believes and stands for.
“Twice As Tall is the album about a period of time in my life. It’s the album about the struggle for freedom. It’s the album about life in general, real life, good times, bad times, happy times, sad times, (and) great times,” Burna Boy avowed.