Burna Boy: wins Grammy
By Nehru Odeh
Burna Boy’s Grammy win hits differently. Though it didn’t take anyone by surprise, as it was his second nomination in two years, he had always released hit after hit. Still, the win came with a bang.
Yet, Burna Boy had always sounded now and again, via his music, that he was on his way to the top, though many never believed him. Some considered the self-confidence he exuded as brash, arrogant and overzealous and something that borders on delusion of grandeur.
However, he was not deluded. He knew what he was doing. He knew that someday he would win the Grammy, as the lyrics in African Giant signify:
I know say one day e go better
I go carry Grammy
Because anything wey better require planning”
Intriguing and prophetic? Certainly. Still, this is the story of Damini Ebunoluwa Ogulu, aka Burna Boy, whose album, Twice as Tall recently clinched the Best Global Music Album at the 63 Grammy Awards.
Twice as Tall? Certainly the Afrofusion artiste whose grandfather, Benson Idonije, was at a time Fela Anikulapo Kutu’s band manger and his mother, Bose Ogulu, Fela’s dancer, knew right from the outset that he was head and shoulder taller than his colleagues.
The kind of epithets Burna Boy gave himself, such as the African giant, Champion, Odogwu, legend shows the self-confidence he exudes..
And in African Giant, the album that was nominated for the Grammys last year but lost out to Angelique Kidjo’s Celia, he prophetically sings:
Tell ’em Africa we don tire
So here comes the African Giant
Many, many people don’t try ah
But you can’t test the African Giant
Don’t nobody do it better, better than me
Can’t nobody do it better
Check ’em and see.
That Burna Boy is an exceedingly great artiste is no exaggeration. In Twice as Tall, the track after which the Grammy award-winning album was named, he sings:
Oh, I’d have to be twice as tall
At least to feel better than I do
Oh, I’d have to be thrice as wide
At least to feel better, you’ll agree
Yes, I’d have to be thrice as wide
Burna Boy also reiterated the stuff he is made of in another track, Way Too Big. He says he is way too big to be outsmarted by anyone:
Because I’m way too big
Way too big to be fucking with you
Because I’m way too smart
Way too smart to be falling in your trap
(Be fucking with you)
Because I’m way too cool
Way too cool to be losing my cool
Is anyone in doubt that Burna Boy knew he was exceptional and was on his way to winning the Grammy? He was under no illusion where he was headed, though the road was somewhat initially rough and tough. Little wonder he motivated himself in many of his songs.
In Twice as Tall, he says:
I remember when I couldn’t level up
I was trying but I couldn’t level up, it was rough, you see
tart feeling like I had enough, then I contemplate giving up
If you’re feeling like you can’t level up
mo make you no stop at all
Because right when you start feeling like you can’t level up
That’s when you haffi shut the devil up.
I remember when me couldn’t level up
‘Cause the Grammys had me feeling sick as fuck
Throwing up and shit
Asking questions like “Why it wasn’t us?
This is also similar to what he says in Destiny:
I remember when I used to hustle in the flats
And the neighbours then had no love for me.
Yet Burna Boy was certain that in spite of the challenges he was facing, he would fulfil his destiny. That’s how he puts it in Destiny:
Destiny, can’t touch my destiny
Them are try everything
Them are try take me life
But I won’t let them get the best of me
Destiny, can’t touch my destiny
They can take everything I have
They can take my life.
They can’t touch my destiny.
The kind of titles he gave his albums also speaks volumes about the intentionality of his art and where he was going. He hinted at his ambition to hit it big when he entitled his debut album, L.I.F.E, an acronym for Leaving an Impact For Enternity. Other telling titles such as Spaceship, African Giant, Twice as Tall followed.
The self-confidence Burna exuded and the assurance that he would someday get to the top in spite of the hurdles he had to scale through is perhaps the reason he waxed motivational while reacting to his win.
“To every African out there no matter who you are no matter what you do just believe in yourself.
“Always believe you can achieve it no matter where you are from.
“Look at me now Grammy awards winner. I’m so happy my whole family is here. If I can do it anyone can,” he said.