With his new release “Twice as Tall”, Burna Boy delivers a project driven by the devotion to his people. As Afrobeats gains global popularity, the Nigerian singer is rapidly becoming a talent too bright for Africa to contain. In his fifth studio LP, he reasserts himself as a household name using his storytelling skills and thunderous voice.
“Oh, I’d have to be twice as tall at least to feel better than I do”
The opening lines in the intro “Level Up” explain the underlying tone driving the album. Burna Boy uses the somber piano keys as a portrait to illustrate the depths he’s elevated from. The sunshine after the storm on this track comes from the vocals of prolific Senegalese singer Youssou N’Dour. While somber in spirit, it’s an inspirational message to the underrated to never stop. Every person looking over him is just another reason for Burna Boy to rise above them.
Following up is “Alarm Clock”, an immediate call-to-action for unity and established togetherness. The song starts off regally with a passionate excerpt from Diddy in “Brother Love” mode as he boasts about black empowerment. Not much time goes by before the roaring drums set fire to the track without warning. It’s a tribal force that depicts a version of Africa the TV screen never shows: rich, enlightened, and prosperous. As an established veteran, the “Ye” lyricist has come to understand his true purpose. While notoriety and accolades are rewarding, his satisfaction lies in his homeland’s progression.
No matter where he ventures to, his love for Africa will always be unlike any other. You can hear it enriching cuts like “Wonderful”, a prideful uptempo jam that was chosen as the album’s first single. It’s very fitting as a theme to show a promising light despite Africa’s shortcomings and perceptions. The percussion really brings out the color for a place painted to black and white too often. The same goes for “Onyeka”, an ode to his homeland’s beloved singer and activist Onyeka Onwenu.
What really bridges the album together are the spoken words from the various griots the 29-year-old Nigerian enlists. These short but sweet moments visualize the themes within his music in greater detail. Monologues like Mama Burna’s on “Time Flies” attest to the singer’s proclamation of African descendants continuing to move forward.
“From the Niger Delta, to all the corners of Africa, America and the world
Black people are turning the tables, taking back our place
We will be heard because we matter”
A sleeper hit from the album is “Monsters You Made”, an unlikely collaboration with Chris Martin. Both artists manage to find synergy amongst the powerful brass that instantly demands your attention. Gift-wrapped for radio play, it’s an alarming record that aims to diminish any false image of Africans.
It’s a rebellious fire within this song that will transcend across today’s political climate around the world. Even his biggest duet to date, he doesn’t lose sight of his long term mission. Burna Boy represents something more than just an artist: he’s the voice of a progressive excellence movement for blacks around the world.
Twice as Tall is a victorious effort that brings his journey and career full circle. It isn’t just a victory lap, it’s a homecoming celebration from bringing home the gold. The album’s Afro-inspired production is an ear-satisfying adulation for the roots he has come from. Burna Boy fuses his revolutionary spirit with his songwriting abilities to deliver an album too strong to ignore.
Favorite Tracks: “Alarm Clock”, “Onyeka (Baby)”, “Comma”