Burna Boy
Burna Boy Performing
Burna Boy Performing
Background information
Birth nameDamini Ebunoluwa Ogulu Rex
Born (1991-07-02) 2 July 1991 (age 29)
Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria
Genres
Occupation(s)
  • Singer
  • Songwriter
  • Rapper
  • Dancer
InstrumentsVocals
Years active2012–present
Labels
Associated acts
Websiteonaspaceship.com

Damini Ebunoluwa Ogulu (born 2 July 1991), known professionally as Burna Boy, is a Nigerian singer, songwriter,[1][2] rapper and dancer. He rose to prominence in 2012 after releasing "Like to Party", the lead single from his debut studio album L.I.F.E (2013). In 2017, Burna Boy signed with Bad Habit/Atlantic Records in the United States and Warner Music Group internationally. His third studio album Outside marked his major-label debut.[3] In 2019, he won Best International Act at the 2019 BET Awards, and was announced as an Apple Music Up Next artist. His fourth studio album African Giant was released in July 2019; it won Album of the Year at the 2019 All Africa Music Awards and was nominated for Best World Music Album at the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards.[4][5] He was awarded the African Artiste of the year at the 2020 VGMA's.

Early life

Damini Ogulu was born in Port Harcourt, Nigeria.[6] His father managed a welding company and his mother worked as a translator. His grandfather Benson Idonije once managed Fela Kuti.[7][8] His mother Bose Ogulu would later become his manager.[9] Ogulu grew up in southern Nigeria and began making his own beats using FruityLoops.[7][10] He attended Corona Secondary School in Agbara and relocated to London to further his studies.[11][7] He later studied Media Technology at the University of Sussex, followed by Media Communications and Culture at Oxford Brookes University.[12]

Career

2012–2015: L.I.F.E and On a Spaceship

Burna Boy's debut studio album L.I.F.E was released on 12 August 2013, serving as the follow-up to his second mixtape Burn Identity (2011). The album sold 40,000 copies on the first day of its release. Aristokrat Records later sold its marketing rights to Uba Pacific for ₦10 million.[13] The album's release was preceded by five singles: "Like to Party", "Tonight", "Always Love You", "Run My Race" and "Yawa Dey".

L.I.F.E was produced entirely by Leriq and features guest artists such as 2face Idibia, M.I, Timaya, Olamide, Reminisce and Wizkid.[14] Nigeria Entertainment Today ranked the album 10th on its list of the 12th Best Albums of 2013.[15] The album's music draws heavily from the music of Fela Kuti, King Sunny Ade and Bob Marley. It received generally positive reviews from music critics, who applauded its production. It was nominated for Best Album of the Year at the 2014 Nigeria Entertainment Awards. In August 2013, L.I.F.E peaked at number 7 on the Billboard Reggae Albums chart.[16]

Burna Boy performing at Nativeland Concert, Lagos, Nigeria 2016

In 2014, Burna Boy split from Aristokrat records.[17] In February 2015, he founded the record label Spaceship Entertainment eight months after parting ways with Aristocrat Records.[18] Burna Boy released his second album On a Spaceship on 25 November 2015.[19] His 7-track debut EP Redemption was released in September 2016; its lead single "Pree Me" debuted on Noisey.[20][21]

2018: Outside and O2 Academy Brixton performance

In January 2018, Burna Boy was featured on "Sunshine Riptide", a track from Fall Out Boy's seventh studio album MANIA (2018).[22] He released his third studio album Outside on 26 January 2018. Described as a mixtape, Outside consists mostly of Afrobeats, dancehall, reggae and road rap. It features guest vocals from English musicians J Hus, Lily Allen and Mabel. Outside was supported by six singles: "Rock Your Body", "Streets of Africa", "Koni Baje", "Sekkle Down", "Heaven's Gate" and "Ye". Its production was handled by Leriq, Baba Stiltz, Jae 5, Juls, Chopstix, Steel Banglez, Fred Gibson, Phantom and FTSE. The album received positive critical acclaim and was ranked by Pulse Nigeria and Nigerian Entertainment Today as the best Nigerian album of 2018.[23][24] It won Album of the Year at the 2018 Nigeria Entertainment Awards.[25] In February 2018, Outside debuted at number 3 on the Billboard Reggae Albums chart.[26] The album's biggest single "Ye" ended up atop most Nigerian publications year-end list as the biggest song of 2018.[27][28]

On 7 October 2018, Burna Boy performed before a sold-out crowd at London's O2 Academy Brixton.[29] A day prior to the show, he held a pop-up event at Red by Little Farm and sold limited boxes of his Space Puffs cereal, as well as custom notepads, lighters and graphic tee-shirts.[30] On 9 October 2018, Burna Boy was announced as one of Spotify's New Afro Hub Takeover Artist.[31] The announcement coincided with him being named YouTube's Artist on the Rise for 3 months.[32]

2019–present: Steel & Copper, African Giant and Twice as Tall

On 3 January 2019, he was announced alongside Mr Eazi as one of the artists performing at the 2019 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.[33] He won four awards at the Soundcity MVP Awards Festival, including African Artiste of the Year, Listener's Choice and Best Male MVP.[34]

On 21 March 2019, Burna Boy released a 4-track collaborative EP with Los Angeles-based electronic duo DJDS, titled Steel & Copper.[35] It blends Burna Boy’s upbeat melodies with DJDS' slinky trap beats.[36][37] Steel & Copper combines elements of dancehall and reggae music with Afropop and trap.[36][37]

On 24 June 2019, Burna Boy won Best International Act at the 2019 BET Awards.[38] In July 2019, Burna Boy was announced as an Apple Music Up Next artist. His inclusion into the program was accompanied by a Beats 1 interview with Julie Adenuga and a short documentary.[39] He recorded "Ja Ara E" (Yoruba: "wise up" or "use your head") for Beyoncé's The Lion King: The Gift and was the only guest artist with their own track on the soundtrack album.[40][41]

Burna Boy's fourth studio album African Giant was released on 26 July 2019. It has been supported by six singles: "Gbona", "On the Low", Killin Dem", "Dangote", "Anybody" and "Pull Up". He began recording the album in 2018. He told Billboard magazine the album is his most personal yet.[42] He first revealed plans to release the album in April 2019, and held a private listening session in Los Angeles.[43] Photos and videos from the listening session were shared on social media. African Giant was initially announced as a 16-track album.[43] In order to promote the album, Burna Boy headlined the African Giant Returns tour, the second leg of his African Giant tour.[44] Burna Boy recorded "My Money, My Baby", a track that appeared on Queen & Slim's soundtrack album.[45] Described as an "Afrobeat-tinged track", "My Money, My Baby" contains a sample of Fela Kuti's 1972 song "Shakara".[45]

In April 2020, Burna Boy performed in the One World: Together at Home special.[46]

On 19 June 2020, following the release of multiple singles during early 2020, by himself and on featured credits, Burna Boy was featured on the remix of South African producer Master KG's viral song "Jerusalema". The remix led to the song entering various charts.[47] Burna Boy utilized his signature Afrobeats style on the song[48] and also partly sings in the isiZulu language.[47]

Burna Boy was featured on Sam Smith's single "My Oasis", which was released on 30 July 2020.[49]

Burna Boy's fifth studio album, Twice as Tall, was released on 14 August 2020, executive produced by Diddy and Mama Burna Bose Ogulu.[50][51] The album became his highest-charting project, debuting at number 54 on the Billboard 200.

Controversies

Feud with AKA

Burna Boy's outspoken views have made him a controversial figure in the Nigerian and African entertainment industry. Burna Boy has been in a feud with South African rapper AKA over tweets he made against Nigeria that carried xenophobic undertones. In July 2019, the rapper tweeted in an angry haze after South Africa lost to Nigeria at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt. Burna Boy who claimed to have been away through all the tweet storm that followed AKA, tweeted "And @akaworldwide i knew you was retarded but I didn’t know it had gotten this bad. Next time I see you you better have a big security bro,On Gambos Grave ur gunna need it.

“And @MI_Abaga it’s Fuck @akaworldwide from now on. And if you down with him, it’s Fuck you too. I respect you too much, please Don’t throw my respect out the window cuz I swear you will fly out with it."[52]

Mocking Nigerian Youths

In April, 2020, Burnaboy posted on twitter and instagram his thoughts which mocked the Nigerian youths. Speaking in pidgin "language", he said Nigerians deserve everything happening to them.

"Naija I hail o, you see this one Accountant General office don catch fire o. you see am dem don disburse funds now fire don catch office

"Everything wey dey happen for naija, Nigerians deserve am. Because if to say we the youth fit use that same energy we dey use to call NCDC make dem go arrest Funke Akindele use attack politicians, e for better.

"Person wey dey work hard for her money, Iya Ibeji na him we dey call for the innocent woman arrest, use that same energy to tackle politicians, if not una go suffer." (sic)[53]

Artistry

Burna Boy describes his music as Afro-fusion, a genre that blends Afrobeat, dancehall riddims, reggae, American rap and R&B.[40][7] August Brown of the Los Angeles Times said Burna Boy's sound is "savvy and modern but undistracted by obvious crossover moves".[54]

Discography

Studio albums

List of studio albums, with selected details, chart positions, and certifications
Title Album details Peak chart positions Certifications
UK
CAN
[55]
FRA
[56]
IRE
[57]
NLD
[58]
SWE
[59]
US
[60]
L.I.F.E
On a Spaceship
Outside
African Giant 14 33 54 80 12 104
Twice as Tall 11 19 29 31 10 47 54

Mixtapes

  • Burn Notice (2011)
  • Burn Identity (2012)

EPs

Singles (partial)

Year Title Album Producer
2011 "Shobeedo" (Freestyle) Non-album single
2012 "Like to Party" L.I.F.E Leriq
"Tonight"
2013 "Run My Race"
"Yawa Dey"
"Celebrate" Non-album single GospelOnDeBeatz
"Won Da Mo" (featuring D'banj) DeeVee
2014 "Rockstar" Leriq
"Don Gorgon" Spellz
"Check and Balance"
2015 "Soke" On a Spaceship Orbeat
"The Realest" Simba Tagz
"Rizzla" J Fem
2016 "Pree Me"[62] Redemption Leriq
"Mandem Anthem" Non-album single Fresh
2017 "Hallelujah" Killbeatz
"Rock Your Body" Outside Juls
"Streets of Africa" Leriq
"Koni Baje" P2J
"Sekkle Down" Jae5
2018 "Heaven's Gate" (featuring Lily Allen)[63] Fred Gibson
"Ye" Phantom
"On the Low"[64] African Giant Kel P
"Gbona"[65]
"Killin Dem" (featuring Zlatan)[66]
2019 "Dangote"[67]
"Anybody"[68] P2J
"Pull Up" Kel P
"Money Play"[69] Non-album single Mr. Kleb
2020 "Odogwu"[70] Kel P
"Wonderful"[71] Twice as Tall Telz

Guest appearances

Year Artist Title Album
2013 Wande Coal "Amorawa"[72] Non-album single
Ice Prince "Gimme Dat" (also featuring Yung L and Olamide) Fire of Zamani
2014 DJ Spinall "Gba Gbe E" Non-album single
AKA "All Eyes On Me" (also featuring Da L.E.S and JR) Levels
Sarkodie "Special Someone" (also featuring AKA) Sarkology
2016 Skales "Temper" (Remix)[73] Non-album singles
2017 Airboy "Ayepo" (Remix)[74]
Skales "Gbefun One Time" The Never Say Never Guy
Jesse Jagz "Violation" Odysseus
2018 Four of Diamonds "Name On It" TBA
Fall Out Boy ”Sunshine Riptide” Mania
Lily Allen "Your Choice"[75] No Shame
DJ Spinall "Serious" Iyanu
Larry Gaaga "Baba Nla" (also featuring 2Baba and D'banj)[76] Non-album single
Major Lazer "All My Life"[77] Africa Is the Future
Show Dem Camp "Legend"[78] Palm Wine Music 2
Peruzzi "Champion Lover" Heartwork
2019 Sauti Sol "Afrikan Star" Afrikan Sauce
Dave "Location" Psychodrama
Mahalia Burkmar "Simmer" Love & Compromise
Beyoncé "Ja Ara E" The Lion King: The Gift
DJ Snake "No Option"[79] Carte Blanche
Jorja Smith "Be Honest" TBA
IDK "December"[80] Is He Real
Wretch 32 "All In"[81] Upon Reflection
Stormzy, Ed Sheeran "Own It"[82] Heavy Is the Head
2020 J Hus "Play Play"[83] Big Conspiracy
2Baba "We Must Groove"[84] Warriors
Pop Smoke "Enjoy Yourself" (Remix) Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon (Deluxe)
Master KG featuring Nomcebo Zikode "Jerusalema" (Remix) Non-album single
Sam Smith featuring Burna Boy "My Oasis" Love Goes
Wizkid "Ginger"[85] Made in Lagos

Selected videography

Year Title Director Ref
2015 "P.A.I.D" Sesan [86]
2016 "Pree Me" Meji Alabi [87]
2017 "Deja Vu" Clarence Peters
"Hallelujah" Mat Max
2018 "Heaven's Gate"/"Sekkle Down"
"Ye" Clarence Peters [88]
"Gbona"
"On the Low" Meji Alabi
2019 "Killin Dem" Prodigeezy [89]
"Dangote" Clarence Peters [90]
"Anybody" [91]
"Pull Up" Meji Alabi [92]
"Gum Body" [93]
"Own It" (with Stormzy & Ed Sheeran)

Awards and nominations

Year Event Prize Recipient Result Ref
2013 South South Music Awards Best Pop "Like to Party" Won
Nigeria Entertainment Awards Best New Act of the Year Himself Won [94]
The Headies Next Rated Nominated [95]
Best R&B Single "Like to Party" Nominated
2014 MTV Africa Music Awards Best New Act Himself Nominated [96]
The Headies Best R&B Single "Don Gorgon" Nominated [97]
Best R&B/Pop Album L.I.F.E Nominated
Hip Hop World Revelation of the Year Nominated
Album of the Year Nominated
Nigeria Entertainment Awards Best Album of the Year Won [98]
2015 Best Pop Artist of the Year Himself Nominated [99]
2019 Soundcity MVP Awards Festival Listener's Choice "Ye" Won [100]
Song of the Year Won
Best Male MVP Himself Won
African Artiste of the Year Won
BET Awards Best International Act Won [101]
The Headies Viewer's Choice Nominated [102]
Artiste of the Year Won
Best Recording of the Year "Ye" Nominated
Best Pop Single Nominated
Song of the Year Won
Best R&B/Pop Album Outside Nominated
Album of the Year Nominated
Best Collaboration "Killin' Dem"
(featuring Zlatan)
Won
MTV Europe Music Awards Best African Act Himself Won [103]
African Muzik Magazine Awards Best Collaboration "Killin' Dem"
(featuring Zlatan)
Nominated [104]
Song of the Year Won
Video of the Year Nominated
Best Live Act Himself Nominated
Artist of the Year Won
Best Male West Africa Nominated
Crossing Boundaries with Music Nominated
All Africa Music Awards West African Male Artiste of the Year Won [105]
Album of the Year African Giant Won
2020 Soundcity MVP Awards Festival Song of the Year "Killin' Dem"
(featuring Zlatan)
Won [106]
Best Collaboration Nominated
African Artiste of The Year Himself Won
Best Male MVP Won
Listeners' Choice Burna Boy for "Killin' Dem" Nominated
Viewers' Choice Burna Boy for "On the Low" Nominated
Grammy Awards Best World Music Album African Giant Nominated [107]
Brit Awards International Male Solo Artist Himself Nominated [108]
Song of the Year "Location"
(Dave featuring Burna Boy)
Nominated
BET Awards Best International Act Himself Won [109]

See also

[110]

[111]

References

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External links