How Burna Boy Used His 2018 Album “Outside” And A Few Singles To Crown Himself Giant Of Africa

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When artists take the time to go to the studios to create music, the next line of action would be to determine when exactly to release it. This is because timing is very important in releasing music. Experience has shown that releasing music in Nigeria in the 2nd and 3rd quarters of the year is much more profitable than doing it in the 1st and 4th quarters of the year respectively. It results to great results in sales of the record, fans retaining the music and vibing to it through the better part of the year, thereby enabling it to trend up until the end of the year. And that will enable it to be favored in award ceremonies which usually happen in the 4th quarter of every year in Nigeria. On the other hand, music released in the 1st quarter of the year do not usually trend till the end of the year. They are usually knocked off or replaced or pushed aside by other records that are released during the course of the year, but they have a great chance of being hit songs due to the relative lack of new music in that quarter of the year. And those released in the 4th quarter of the year have the power to trend but usually do not make it to the awards because of not having enough time on the charts, or music critics and journalists not seeing them as worthy enough to be nominated to awards because of their limited time in that music year. So every quarter has its benefits and downsides. Awards which a lot of people say do not matter these days still matter to artists, and is a reflection of how good a musician was in a particular year or years. So its usually a tough decision to make and every artist wants to receive a pat (awards) on the back for the work they have put in especially from the prestigious ones. The only exception is if the music is so good and spectacular, then you could take the bold step of releasing it in the 1st quarter. And that would be a really bold step, otherwise releasing it in the 2nd quarter would be a safer approach. When Burna Boy released his third studio album “Outside” on January 26th, 2018, he probably did not know it would turn out to be the album of the year. He was probably ‘aiming for the moon with hopes of landing on the stars’. But that album surpassed its expectations.

The magic powers of “Ye”

Ye

That album contains 12 tracks and out the 12, a certain track “Ye” stands out. It reared its head immediately the album was released and refused to go down. It is an adaptation of Fela Anikulapo Kuti’s Afro beat pattern, and the visuals portray celebrations of the life and times of the legend. It is a carefully crafted record, layering perfectly on the Afro beat sound with a great accompanying melody. But it became huge when Kanye West coincidentally named his 2018 album “Ye”, simply titled after the well-known shortened-version of his first name. That caused a lot of confusion among music lovers. One writer wrote that “while folks have been searching for the Kanye West’s project all over streaming platforms, they’ve not only stumbled upon the new Kanye, it seems that searches are also bringing up a totally different result – Burna Boy’s poly rhythmic “Ye” off of his early 2018 album “Outside””. According to him, the mix up didn’t disappoint fans though, one Twitter user shared that they listened to Burna Boy’s album: “For shits and it was FLAAAAAMES HOLY FXCK”. Burna Boy also jumped on Twitter himself to thank Kanye for the confusion, uploading a video while dancing to Yeezy’s “Yikes.” Burna also tweeted that his album streams were up 200% because of the mix up. That has got to be something! Not only did it increase his popularity across the world, it doubled his streams by 200%. And the result was that, while other great songs were released during the course of the year, “Ye” either rode side by side with them or pushed them aside. It became an anthem in Nigeria and Africa literally. It topped music charts for the better part of 2018, and lingered on majority of them through the 1st quarter of 2019. “Ye” eventually won the song of the year, and Burna Boy won the Listeners Choice, Best Male MVP, and African Artist of the Year all at the Soundcity MVP Awards 2019 for the 2018 music year. And up until now, when it is spinned by a DJ, or comes up on radio, or played on an electronic device, it still has that relevance and people vibe along. Other songs on the album like “Giddem”, “Sekkle Down”, and “Heaven’s Gate” which features Grammy nominated British singer, Lily Allen, and gave him a spot on Lily Allen’s album that same year also helped propel the body of work to greatness. Burna Boy then employed other tactics to continue to give fire power to himself and his music by releasing super relevant singles in the 4th quarter of the year. Singles like “Gbona” which took the form of “Ye”, “Killing Dem”, “On The Low” were like a support base for him and his 2018 effort and that was when he started pushing to become the ‘giant of Africa’.

Is Burna Boy really the giant of Africa?

Heaven's Gate (feat. Lily Allen)/Sekkle Down (feat. J Hus) [Official Video]

There are great musicians from the African continent who are aspiring to change the world with their music. From D’banj who paved the way for other Africans with his 2017 record “Oliver Twist”, to Wizkid who directed the world’s attention to Afro beat with his feature on Drake’s “One Dance”, to Davido whose 2018 songs “If”, and “Fall” which has the record as the longest Billboard charting Nigerian song, to Mr Eazi and of course Burna Boy. The list is so long. But is Burna Boy really the giant of Africa? It’s hard to tell. The year 2018 was good for him, and this 2019 he has a new album in the works titled “Giant of Africa”. Granted it does not take just one album to claim that tittle, but Burna Boy has earned his place. He currently performed at Coachella 2019 alongside Mr Eazi and their different performances highlighted the rise of Afro beats and it’s effects on the world. He also just won the Best International Act at the Bet Awards. Whether he is the giant of Africa or not remains to be seen, but so far, he has done everything possible to be where is and maybe it wouldn’t hurt so much to let him have that title while he still can.

To read more of Tim Uwakwe’s articles on music, go to vibbidi.net

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