If Beyoncé wrote a love letter to Africa through “The Lion King: The Gift”, then Burna Boy just penned down the marriage vows with his recently released album, The African Giant.
Infused with African culture, Nigerian history and musical melodies, this 19 track album awakens in each of us a renewed feeling of Afro-optimism in ways you couldn’t imagine were possible before. It took me a while to jump into the Burna Boy boat but listening to his album (which I have been playing on repeat all day) I dare question, is this the new Fela? Situating his music along a lineage of African greats, his Afro-fusion sound is Sankofa in practice. Not only does he create a new sound that the world is eating up in chunks, his melodies stand on the shoulders of those who came before him and introduced Nigerian or I dare say, African music, to the world.
To give context to the title of the album, “The African Giant” was a term Burna Boy coined upon the heels of his performance at Coachella 2019. He rightly demanded to be recognized with at least the same esteem as his American counterparts. Despite the advertisement poster not changing, its safe to say that with a tour, a single on the Lion King album, a BET win and a hot album released, Burna Boy is having the last laugh and his critics can take that straight to the bank.
The track list for the album is as follows:
- African Giant
- Westin Man Go
- Cum Body ft. Jorja Smith
- Killin Dem ft. Zlatan
- Secret ft. Jeremih and Serani
- Collateral Damage
- Another Story ft. M.anifest
- Pull up
- Blak Ryno Skit
- Different ft. Damian Marley and Angelique Kidjo
- On The Low
- Show & Tell ft. Future
- This Side ft. YG
The lyrics are also worth noting.
He cautions on imperial corporatism (Another Story)- citing the literal buy out of Nigeria from the Niger Company, now known as Uniliver, to the British government.
He celebrates Pan-Africanism (Spiritual)- reminding African ascendants “you were African before you were anything else!”
And can we talk about his list of collaborations! With artists of African ascent from literally every region of the world ranging from Damian Marley to Future to Jeremih to the indomitable Angelique Kidjo, one is destined to feel like an African reunion is happening and we are all invited.
Whether you are an avid afrobeats fan, or perhaps just discovered it when Burna boy performed live on the Jimmy Kimmel show, this album is a treasure to each of us. Have a listen via Apple Music, Spotify or good ol’ YouTube!