A close look at the Twice As Tall album feature list, will give you a slight indication of what is to come.
But it doesn’t prepare you for the full impact.
Burna Boy proves with this amazing body of work that his self-professed title of African giant holds considerable promise, especially against a backdrop of a new crop of global audience.
It’s refreshing to see a musical work that is a proper album and not just a collection of songs pieced haphazardly together. The highly anticipated LP, ‘Twice As Tall’ is positioned for a global audience and that is much evident from the remarkable artiste features that elevates the music from the company of the usual Nigerians suspects to a more global collective, with guest appearances from Chris Martin, Stormzy and the legendary Naughty by Nature.
The work opens with the classic ‘Level Up (Twice as Tall)’ featuring the African legend, Youssou N’Dour who instantly pulls you in with a soul-stirring rendition that helps unpack Burna Boy’s narrative of pain.
The LP can be summarized as a compilation of Burna Boy’s Grammy aftermath story. Track after track, Burna Boy is not afraid to mouth his many failings and disappointments and the reaction of people to the hand dealt him in his career.
From ‘Level Up,’ ‘Alarm Clock’ to ‘Way Too Big,’ Burna’s mission to assert his musical dominance clearly comes through and he’s not subtle about his political propensity in ‘Monsters You Made’ and ‘Wetin Dey Sup.’
It’s not clear why ‘Wonderful’ is the lead single on this LP, with the array of songs available for the pickings, but with P.Diddy, executive producing the album he might have had something to do with the choice. Diddy’s voice clearly comes through in a few tracks, whether to imprint himself in the work or to add creative colour to the tracks, we are not mad at the result.
The familiar sounding, ‘Comma’ takes a shot at the irregularities of a 21st century woman looks and all. If Burna Boy is looking to acquire more female following, this is definitely not the way to do it.
‘23’ spotlights Burna Boy’s struggle with dealing with the negativity and two-faced reception he has gotten from music industry stakeholders. The starting line, ‘Music Make Me Feel I Be Jordan’ aptly summarizes the strange title, ‘23’ which celebrates the jersey number of basket ball’s finest, Michael Jordan.
‘Monsters You Made,’ with the smooth rock exterior by Chris Martin is an authentic protester’s anthem. Burna Boy raves at everything from the white man’s doctored education system to the rape of the Niger Delta region.
Burna Boy and Stormzy trade street stories in the track ‘Real Life’; stories about survival, good times and peace of mind and it’s a smooth, mid-tempo vibe that will definitely take you on a cruise. The LP ends nicely with ‘Bank On It,’ Burna’s attempt to consolidate his integrity and the choir-type chorus rendition at the end adds a colourful touch to the track.
If there’s anything missing in Burna Boy’s ‘Twice As Tall’ album, it’s a visible Nigerian creative input, because no Nigerian music artiste was featured anywhere in the body of work. Then again that’s probably because the work required only one.
This article was written by Henri ‘Yire; connect on Instagram with him here