After releasing his 2020 album Twice as Tall 13 months after his 2019 GRAMMY Award-nominated album African Giant, Burna Boy is once again a GRAMMY nominee for the Best Global Music Album. According to the GRAMMY website, this category features albums that contain at least 51% playing time of new vocal or instrumental Global Music recordings.
The Twice as Tall album is executive produced by Sean “Diddy” Combs with a crew of diverse producers like Jae5, P2J, Timbaland, Mike Dean, LeriQ, Telza and Rexxie. The 15 track project features Senegalese artist Youssou N’Dour, Naughty By Nature, Kenyan afro-pop band Sauti Sol, Coldplay’s Chris Martin and U.K. rapper Stormzy.
Twice as Tall is Burna Boy’s fifth studio album, and Apple Music describes it as his expression of his reassessment of the world around him from a new atmosphere. He does this through an Afro fusion sound that blends dancehall, pop, R&B and Afrobeat in a manner that is audacious and inspiring. The project is not just a musical piece, Burna Boy uses it as an avenue to state political views boldly each track, while musically engaging, leaves a message.
The opening song, ‘Level Up’ can be described as a rebuff to Western appraisals of Black art that features the eclectic influence of Youssou N’Dour; this is followed by ‘Alarm Clock’ where Burna Boy reminds his audience of the importance of black unity and the power of blackness.‘Wonderful’ is an open celebration of West Africa with a fusion of his native language, Yoruba. Apple Music describes ‘No Fit Vex’ as “an embrace of solidarity in the shape of a pidgin laced anthem” while the artist calls it a personal track. In ‘Monsters You Made’ Burna Boy rebukes the imprint of colonialism on the minds of Africans with a welcome inclusion of Chris Martin’s affective vocals. Similarly, Stormzy is a fresh and profound addition to ‘Real Life’ and the collaboration with Sauti Sol gives a cool vibe that ignites the desire to grab a dance partner.
Other honourable mentions are: ‘Way too Big’ an upbeat track that expresses Burna Boy’s self praise and ‘Bebo’ where he sings about men who put on airs that their wallet cannot carry. Another is ‘Onyeka (Baby)’ a love song that praises beautiful women titled after Igbo musical veteran and activist, Onyeka Onwenu. In ‘Naughty By Nature’, which features Naughty by Nature, Burna worked with a group he adored growing up; ‘23’ is a track that Burna Boy calls “a tribute to Michael Jordan” while ‘Comma’ is a shout out to attractive looking women with flaws. The project concludes with ‘Bank on It’ is a track he created with the uncertainty of life in mind.
Although it’s no surprise that Burna Boy is a nominee, he is in the running for the 63rd GRAMMY Best Global Music Album with musical sensations like Antibalas, Bebel Gilberto, Anoushka Shankar and Tinariwen. The Daily Show host and GRAMMY-nominated comedian Trevor Noah will host the Awards, which airs on the 31st of October 2021.