Building an identity is not a one-off thing. Brands know this. So they invest in telling the same story in different ways, building upon the previous narrative while improving on it.
When Burna Boy released African Giant last year, I listened to the songs in the album and I observed that although Burna Boy had an intention, he didn’t have the ideological clarity to express same and his lyrics were shallow compared to the top-notch production of the album.
Let us be sincere, the album, ‘African Giant’, soared on the wings of PR and that’s all. Some songs are decent on the album, but none of them pushed the African Giant identity which Burna Boy was trying to build. If you want to sing groove songs, by all means, do. But posing as the African Giant gives you responsibilities— clarity of identity, awareness and insight into the politics of Africa. Burna Boy lacks that. And I pointed this out in my response to Oris Aigbokheavbolo’s review. He agreed. In an interview with NYT, Burna Boy said:
“I want my children to have an African passport, not a Nigerian passport. I do not identify with any tribe. I do not identify with any country.” It would have been good if he stopped here. After all, he’s the African Giant. But he continued, “I do not identify with anything, really. I identify with the world in the universe — I believe I am a citizen of the world, and I have a responsibility to the world.”
Wait. What? The ‘African Giant’? He missed the mark there.
‘Twice as Tall‘ is a good album. Removed from the African Giant narrative, ‘Twice as Tall’ is a decent album on its own. The production and features are amazing. You can groove to the songs. But—apart from ‘Monsters You Made’, it didn’t push Burna’s African Giant narrative. Or am I the one expecting it to?
If Burna intends to use ‘Twice as Tall’ as a strong footing at the next Grammy awards, he could as well forget it. This follow-up to the ‘African Giant’ falls below the standard he’s raised for himself.
Image credit: IG @burnaboygram