• Michael M

Burna Boy Releases Twice As Tall

Updated: Aug 18, 2020

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Nigerian artist Burna Boy has been tucked away in Lagos recording his highly anticipated album Twice as Tall. The project, released on August 14, follows up the artist’s 2019 smash African Giant.

TAT was executive produced by Burna, his mother and business manager Bose Ogulu (affectionately known by fans as “Mama Burna”), and American rapper-producer-mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs. Other American producers on the project are Mike Dean, who has production credits on your favorite albums by the likes of Jay Z, Beyoncé, Kanye West, and Travis Scott, and hip hop powerhouse Timbaland (who needs no introduction). The inclusion of Diddy and other American music heavyweights on the project speaks to Burna Boy’s budding global superstardom, but also to the ever-growing popularity and crossover potential of the afrobeats genre. Other Nigerian producers on the project include LeriQ, Telz, P2J and Rexxie.

The album features Coldplay frontman Chris Martin and the hip hop group Naughty by Nature as well as prominent African artists. Senegalese singer-songwriter, and one-time Presidential candidate, Youssou N’Dour and Kenyan Afro-pop group Sauti Sol each have feature credits, along with British-born recording artist Stormzy, who himself has Ghanaian roots. 

On TAT, artists perform in Yoruba, Pidgin, and English further representing a fusion of African and African-American music. In the same spirit, Burna references hurdles faced by the diaspora, including struggles faced uniquely by Black folk in America, such as the country’s fraught history of prejudice. 

Despite some of the darker lyrical acknowledgements, TAT is upbeat and calls on listeners to get off their quarantined butts and hit the dance floor (by dance floor I mean living room -- please stay home folks). Some outlets and critics are quick to describe music from the continent as Afrobeats and leave it at that, but TAT defies that sort of genre essentialism. It is heavily rooted in Afrobeats, but new-age hip hop, R&B, funk, and dancehall sounds heavily influence the album, as well as regionally specific sounds from across the U.S., U.K., Caribbean, and Africa.

Due to the nature of the COVID-19 pandemic features and production mixing was conducted all over the world and communicated through email and zoom. Many different perspectives were able to be inputted on the album, making it global in terms of sound and message, but this didn’t detract from the “African-ness” of the album. Yes, TAT is a globally-influenced album, but all roads to the construction of this album led through Burna Boy, and by extension all roads led through Lagos.

Listen to Twice As Tall on Apple Music

Listen to Twice As Tall on Spotify