Burna Boy is Becoming More than Just an “African Artist”

Burna Boy made his Coachella debut at last year’s Coachella festival. This solidified him in mainstream media as the go-to person for African music. In their review of his album, “African Giant,” Pitchfork writes, “Burna Boy is one of West Africa’s brightest rising stars, and he has long been poised for a crossover moment here in the States, but his position on the Coachella billing earlier this year illustrated a disparity between who he is in Africa and who he is in America.”

During his performance, he donned an outfit by Lagos-born designer, Kenneth Ize. he did songs from earlier in his discography like “Tonight” and “Soke.” But he intended to show people his talent by performing newer songs like “Killin Dem” and “Ph City Vibration.”

But his biggest hit was “Ye,” which he closed the show out with. According to OkayAfrica, people thought the song was “so good that people online even argued it should become the new Nigerian national anthem when it came out.”

The release of his album “African Giant,” the musical heavyweights added to the musical impact of this project. Pitchfork’s Sheldon Pearce writes about its impact, saying, “The music reaches across the diaspora because his sound has a unifying power. It starts with Africa first, then extends outward.” Pearce continues, “While he used English frequently before, here he sings primarily in Pidgin, Yoruba, and Igbo and pulls guests from all over into his distinctive polyrhythmic world.” He enlists the help of “Nigeria’s Zlatan and Ghana’s M.anifest, Angélique Kidjo, reggae legend Damian Marley and dancehall singer Serani, Jorja Smith in the UK, across the Atlantic with JeremihYG, and Future.”

While accepting the BET award for Best International Act, his mother shared some wise words with the audience about not being reduced to one category, “The message from Burna, I believe, would be that every black person should please remember that you were Africans before you became anything else.”

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