Burna Boy is quite unapologetic, he answers to no one but himself, probably this attitude of his is the main reason why he so successful. He is one of those few artists that can be a lover boy in one song, a political commentator in another.
Burna Boy is one of Nigeria’s most talked-about artist and he is as controversial as they come. He recently released his fifth studio album, “Twice as Tall”.
The album was his most personal yet as it sees him evolving beyond his comfort zone but not losing sight of the unique charm that separates him from the rest of Afrobeat artists.
If he is not in the news for dropping a song or getting an award, he is the news for making controversial statements.
He has his personal beliefs that stretch into his love life, political, and spiritual beliefs that can seems radical at times. I mean for a man who said Late Libya leader, Gadaffi was his mentor, what can you expect.
Apart from making great danceable songs that are always dominating the streets, he also speaks his mind on political issues through his songs.
A well respected political journalist on an article about Burna’s African Giant once wrote
“Burna Boy is in between the two sides. Though he leans heavily on the ‘party and bullsh*t’ ethos of Afrobeats, he once in a while offers realism in his work of art, a realism that is much needed.”
Here are the five songs that show and Burna Boy’s
‘Soke’ was added as a bonus track on the album, “On a Spaceship”. Though the song isn’t heavily politically charged he however does the best he can to pass his message.
He goes from establishing his authority, boasting about the money has made to
One emotion present in the song is Empathy as Burna makes plain the plight of average Nigerians.
‘They ask me o, they want to know as things dey go, For my country o, E don kolo, People don kolo, Eji soro. Not easy, No money o, No light e o, Water nko? E no dey flow’ he sings.
Then he goes to talk about the police brutality and the lack of freedom of speech in the country.
‘If u vex e o, Dem go call Mopol, Dem go com o, Carry you go’
African Giant (2019)
Burna Boy kick-starts “African Giant” by giving the summary of the African struggle – “tell them Africa we don tire.”
The song isn’t a direct political message but the underlying theme is hope and confidence. Hope that one can be better despite the present situation.
Burna is oftentimes slammed by Nigerians as been arrogant and overly too confident in himself.
In this song, he addresses the criticism but also subtly makes it known that being victorious mentally equals physical victory.
He also made it known that winning a Grammy is a priority to him, quiet unfortunate that African Giant didn’t make that dream come true.
- SEE ALSO: Top 10 Favorite songs from Burna Boy
Collateral Damage sees Burna blame the people for the problem affecting Africa. The song is a commentary on how the ruling class are our puppet master.
While they loot the treasury, they order us to fight ourselves, the classic divide and conquer strategy.
In the hook, he talk about how the leaders enjoy themselves while they control us and we let them do with no resistance.
In the first and second verse, he explains the major problem of Africa, ‘terrible Leadership and disunity among Africans’.
In Verse Three, he gets more direct with the blame game, slamming Africans for their fearful nature and refusal to fight back against corruption.
“My People sef they fear too much, we fear the things we no see, One day all of go die” Burna sings as he criticizes Nigerians.
“We always get reason to fear, Fight for your right o you go to fear, Police go slap you,you go to fear, Fight for your pikin dem no go to fear, You go to fear fear fear” he continues before going to the hook.
Starting with a documentary clip revealing the shocking origin of Nigeria as a commercial entity, Burna Boy wails that Nigerians have been in pain since October 1st, 1960. “Shey we go dey cry forever?” he asks before borrowing lines from the unforgettable ‘E dey pain me gaga’ by Stereo Man.
In Verse one, Burna Boy refers to how the Nigerian government just wants everyone “enter one corner” which is a metaphor that represents “staying in your place.”
He then goes to talk about the corruption that has been existing way even before he was born. He also calls out Politicians for their failed promises.
M.anifest who was featured on the song comes in with his perspective on verse two.
In his verse, he explains how he loves to travel to Europe to escape the toxic environment his country has become. Adding that the same problem that plagues Nigeria also plagues Ghana, his home country.
He calls out the traffic situations in both countries due to lack of roads and organization, the Politicians for their flashy lifestyle especially their cars, and their failed propaganda which he reveals people are tired of.
Monsters You Made
“Monsters You Made” is Burna Boy’s most political song yet. The song is a commentary on the aftermath of colonization, racism, and resistance.
He features Chris Martin, the lead singer for the popular international music group, Coldplay.
The song opens up with a commentary by Ex-Niger Delta militant Ebikabowei Victor Ben who says that refusal of the Government to stop the marginalization and develop regions would lead to the next generation being more brutal with power.
Chris Martin comes in with the chorus where he makes it known that he doesn’t agree with leaders calling people who stand up in resistance monsters and fake.
Burna enters with a description of the troubling environment in the south-south region of Nigeria. Burna Boy references the spate of militancy in his native Niger Delta region.
He also addresses the treatment of activists and people who speak out against the corrupt practices of politicians in Nigeria. Nigerian politicians have been known to be very violent in their dealings with popular activists in the country.
“You know we come from a place, Where people smile, but it’s fake, How could they smile? If you look around, they surrounded by pain” here he references Fela Kuti’s “Suffering and Smiling” song.
“It’s like the heads of the state, Ain’t comprehending the hate, That the oppressed generate When they’ve been working like slaves, To get some minimum wage” he refers to the constant battle between the Nigerian Government and Civil Servants who are paid peanuts.
In Verse two, Burna becomes more vocal with his dislike for the ‘whitewashed history’ that has been fed to Africans.
He even goes to call for people to boycott schools as they teach what colonial masters fed to us.
When interviewed for the cover of NME, Burna expressed his frustrations with the school curriculum and its attempts to ‘brainwash’ the youth.
The schools in Nigeria would rather teach you another man’s history than your own. […] Our subconscious, our inner man, was telling us: ‘Bro, you’re being brainwashed.’
He tells people to fuck Mango Park, the British explorer who is credited for discovering River Niger by historians.
He brings the attention of people to the fact before Mungo Park came to Africa, people already knew the River Niger but by another name so Park couldn’t have discovered something that was already inhabited.
The song closes with part of Ghanian Author, Ama Ata Aidoo’s 1987 interview on how Europeans have robbed Africa of its Natural resources and indigenes and in return brought sickness and poverty to the continent.