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Burna Boy's Origins and Rise to Fame
Damini Ebunoluwa Ogulu, famously known as Burna Boy, is a singer and songwriter from Nigeria.
He was born on 2 July 1991 in Port Harcourt, Nigeria to Samuel Ogulu and Bose Ogulu. Burna Boy’s dad was the manager of a welding company, while his mother was a translator. The singer’s grandfather, Benson Idonije, was a former manager of Fela Kuti (a pioneer of Afrobeat music).
Burna Boy entered the limelight in 2013, and is currently one of the most successful musicians from Africa. In this post, I will highlight some of his best songs ever. Please read on for more details.
1. “On the Low”
Burna Boy’s Afrobeat talent was well displayed on his 2018 hit song “On the Low” (which some fans also call “Angeli, Angelina”). It is a lovely mid-tempo Afrobeat track with a subtle Dancehall influence. The vocals are clear, and the melody is loveable straight from the start. I love the video for “On the Low”, and I must applaud the skills of the female dancer. The video has over 111 million views on YouTube.
I have fallen in love with this track, because of the captivating lyrics and terrific singers. As the eighth track on Burna Boy’s Grammy-nominated African Giant album, “Secret” also features Jeremih and Serani. It is a nice tune to sing along to as you relax or get on with your day-to-day chores. Kudos to Burna Boy, Jeremih and Serani for the beautiful work!
“Tonight” was the lead single on Burna Boy’s debut album “Leaving an Impact for Eternity” (L.I.F.E). The Afro fusion hit combines Nigerian languages (Pidgin English, Igbo and Yoruba) and English. Aristokrat Records released “Tonight” on 12 August 2013. My most favorite part of the song is the introduction.
Released in 2019 by Spaceship Entertainment, “Anybody” is a banger from Burna’s fourth studio album, African Giant. The song was so successful that it was featured on the famous American television series, Ballers. Burna Boy also performed the song on multiple tours in Africa, the United States and other parts of the world.
Similar to most of his other songs, Burna Boy delivers an exquisite music video for his track “Ye”. The song is the sixth single from the artist’s third studio album titled Outside, and it was released in 2018. Produced by Phantom, “Ye”, performed so well that it appeared on the Billboard R&B/Hip-Hop charts. In addition, the song got a win for Song of the Year and Listener’s Choice at Soundcity MVP Awards Festival in 2019.
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“Gbona” was also released in 2018, right after the globally celebrated jam, “Ye”. The track incorporates a classic static sound from Fela Kuti’s music and a modern dance vibe. Its music video displays an upbeat atmosphere and vibrant performance of skilled female dancers.
7. “Pree Me”
In “Pree Me”, Burna Boy reminisces about potential scheming from his enemies over a gradually building beat. It is the lead single from his 2016 Redemption EP, and it was produced by LeriQ. In the music video, Burna Boy raps some skeptical rhymes next to a spray-painted wall, and we also see ballet dancers and school-going children.
8. “Check and Balance”
The 2014 “Check and Balance” jam shows Burna Boy singing about rude boy behavior over a bouncy beat. He combines his unique Naija voice with dancehall riddims, and a dance-heavy music video. Produced by the reputable producer, Spellz, “Check and Balance” was a follow-up to Burna Boy’s well-received single, “Don Gorgon”.
9. “Collateral Damage”
As the ninth song on the African Giant album, “Collateral Damage” talks about issues surrounding corruption and oppression in Africa. The 2019 jam was produced by Kel P, who met the artist via a mutual friend in 2018.
10. “Afrikan Star”
“Afrikan Star” is an exceptional collaboration between Sauti Sol and Burna Boy. The tune combines the amazing Swahili and English lyrics of the Kenyan band Sauti Sol, and Burna Boy’s exquisite Naija style. “Afrikan Star” was released in 2018 as the third single in Sauti Sol’s Afrikan Sauce album.
11. “Own It”
“Own it” is the fourth single from the second studio album of British rapper Stormyz. It was released in 2019, and features Burna Boy and UK singer Ed Sheeran. The track was a major success after it peaked at top position on the United Kingdom’s Singles Chart and R&B Chart. It also attained top-ranking positions in Belgium, Ireland, New Zealand and Scotland.
An Exciting and Captivating Artist
The above list shows some of Burna Boy’s best songs of all time. He consistently incorporates English, Yoruba, Igbo and Pidgin English into his works to create an entirely new language. While the lyrics are frequently hard to understand, especially for those who don’t know West African dialects, the beat is always captivating. Hopefully, he will continue to grace us with more exciting tunes in the future.
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© 2020 Alice Njambi