Burna Boy’s latest project, African Giant, is finally here! The Nigerian artist’s popularity has been growing past the boundaries of Africa for quite a while now with the release of hit singles like “Anybody” and “Dangote.” After being one of the highlights on the afrobeats-themed Lion King Soundtrack curated by the likes of Beyoncé and Pharrell Williams, it seemed like the perfect time for Burna Boy to drop his fourth studio album in order to take his stardom to the next level.
“Any African that has a Dream or hope for his people or himself is an African Giant.” This is a message which Burna Boy was determined to convey to his audience in his project. The artist’s fierce pride for his roots is particularly apparent on tracks like “Wetin Man Go Do” which accentuates the struggles of living in an African economy where many people have no option but to find various ways to cater to the needs of their loved ones. This is expertly followed by “Dangote,” a song named after the richest man in Africa. This tune shows Burna Boy’s resolve to never rest on his laurels as those above him, like Aliko Dangote, are still working to make more money. This, in turn, emphasizes the need for ordinary Africans to continue hustling.
“Another Story” is a song with Ghanaian artist, M.anifest, which recounts how Nigeria’s founding was actually as the result of a business deal for the British. This song also highlights one of the main reasons as to why Africa’s economy is as poor as it is: the corruption and greed of the politicians in charge of the country. A well-known but necessary message nonetheless, especially in these trying times.
Apart from M.anifest, there are quite a few high-profile features on this album. The likes of Jorja Smith on “Gum Body,” Jeremih and Serani on “Secret,” and Damian Marley and Angelique Kidjo on “Different” excel particularly; while Future and YG also hold their own on their respective tracks. Burna Boy displays his versatility on these tracks as his relaxed Afro-centric swagger never seemed out of place with the features regardless of the genre they specialized in. My sole criticism of the album is that 19 tracks made the project a bit too long. There were a few tracks that were not necessary on the record. A more concise album would have made it better than it already is.
Burna Boy’s latest effort can be described as a love letter to the people of Africa. Throughout the album, Burna Boy highlights the struggles the people of Africa have to go through while also making sure to draw attention to the strength that his people clearly possess as they overcome issues on a regular basis. He also shows the appeal of afro-fusion, as he stars alongside multiple artists, spanning numerous genres to compose multiple beautiful tracks. The album ends as it started, but this time with a message from his mother to all black people that they should take pride in their roots, as Burna Boy so clearly does.