Burna Boy – Twice As Tall
On 2019’s African Giant, Burna Boy called for a fearless revolution across the continent and the worldwide diaspora. The album earned the Nigerian artist his first Grammy nomination and centred his ambitions: to empower African youth to access their power, on their own terms. Twice As Tall—his fifth studio album—sees Burna Boy reassess the world around him from a new atmosphere just 13 months later.
Sean “Diddy” Combs joins as executive producer, and the album carries a unifying sense of pan-African idealism. Crucially, his bespoke Afrofusion sound—a soul-stirring blend of dancehall, pop, R&B and Afrobeats—is pushed, challenged and evolved across production work from the UK (Jae5 and P2J), the US (Timbaland, Mike Dean) and Nigeria (LeriQ, Telz and Rexxie).
Burna has rarely sounded more confident, or impassioned. Opener “Level Up” welcomes Youssou N’Dour and serves another rebuff to Western appraisals of Black art.
Riffing in Yoruba across twinkling percussion, “Wonderful” is a prayer of passion and an open celebration of West African expression, while “No Fit Vex” sends an embrace of solidarity in the shape of a pidgin-laced anthem. The album’s star guests have been thoughtfully recruited, too.
Stormzy sounds fresh and inspired on “Real Life” and Chris Martin is an affecting presence across “Monsters You Made”—a fiery rebuke to the vestiges of colonialism.
This is an album comfortable with its uncompromising message, by an artist motivated to represent. As Combs implores the artist on “Alarm Clock”: “Don’t be afraid to step into your greatness.”