#Beatsmith: TMXO On Co-Producing Burna Boy’s “Different”

November 12, 2019

For the love of the real stars, the producers, we created #Beatsmith — a series that focuses on the connections and inspirations that led to the creation of that hit song or album.


Burna Boy’s career-best LP, African Giant remains the strongest Nigerian project that has been released this year. While it’s stacked with a ton of great songs and features, a clear highlight is “Different”, which features Angelique Kidjo and Damian Marley.

Produced by Chopstix, GMK and TMXO, “Different” is one of the most thoughtful songs on the project, and with the album primed to nab a Grammy nomination in a week, we decided to sit down with TMXO and discuss how the standout song happened.

On meeting Burna Boy:

I met Burna Boy through Chopstix, who also produced “Different” with GMK and I. They were working together a lot at the time. I called him about an idea for a Burna Boy song, as Burna had just tweeted that he wanted to work with Youssou N’Dour.

I had just left GMK’s studio that day, where I’d worked on something that fit perfectly with what that song with Youssou could possibly sound like. Chopstix took me to Burna’s studio that same day, and we cut his verses on the record. This was about two years ago.

On first-ever discussion about “Different”:

After I saw the Burna tweet about wanting to collaborate with Youssou, I made the phone call to Femi Leye, who had collaborated with Youssou on his album, History. “Bro, I need your help. I have a record for Burna that he’s trying to get Youssou on,” I told him.

On the track featuring Damian and Angelique:

I had absolutely no idea. We actually just added the song to “hard drive records” — an inside joke for songs that’ll never make it out. At some point, Chopstix wanted to add it to his own album. Some days after he told me that plan, he called that Burna’s management wanted to meet.

That’s when I learnt that the song was going to be on African Giant and that it now featured Damian Marley and Angelique Kidjo. I laughed hard in disbelief, and then I heard Damian Marley’s verse and laughed even harder in disbelief.

On working with Chopstix and GMK:

It was seamless. It went from one person to the other at the right time, and everyone played a very significant role. The most important decisions we made were not even in making the beat, it was in placing the record and trusting the next producer.

All of us were fresh off working on an album together, so we still had synergy and mutual respect for our individual abilities. GMK had the beat draft and trusted me to take it to the next level. I trusted Chopstix too, and he’d already been working with Burna, so it all worked out.

On inspiration:

A wide range of things inspired my work on the song. Traditional Malian music and dancehall definitely played a big part, and now that I think about it, the music from Nas and Damian Marley’s collaborative album, Distant Relatives, also inspired me.

On the most exciting studio moment:

Just seeing Burna Boy work. He takes his craft very seriously, and even though it might sound cliche, it’s a very spiritual process. He is a real genius. He goes over his lines again and again before he even gets on the mic, and if it doesn’t feel natural, he doesn’t bother putting it down.

That was very special to watch. Right there, I kind of figured that before Burna even releases a song, you’re sure people who like him and can relate to him will love it. His music is authentically him and seeing it happen first hand helped me understand why he is so beloved.

Join The Conversation

Bring a friend.

You'll like this

December 17, 2019

Santi’s debut album, Mandy & The Jungle is easily among the strongest Nigerian projects of the year, and one of its standout tracks is the Kida Kudz-assisted “Raw Dinner”, stunningly produced by Higo. Higo’s production discography is awe-inspiring — creating gems for stars like Odunsi, M.I and Prettyboy D-O — and his last release, “Friday […]

November 26, 2019

Burna Boy’s exceptional African Giant is easily the best Nigerian album of 2019, as well as one of the best of the past decade, so it comes as no surprise that it recently nabbed a well-deserved Grammy nomination for ‘Best World Music Album’. While Burna Boy’s talents cannot be praised enough, it’s also worth noting […]

October 22, 2019

Over the weekend, Falz’s fourth studio album, Moral Instruction — a socially conscious body of work that was greatly inspired by the legendary Fela Kuti — pulled off a surprise upset, beating out Burna Boy’s acclaimed mixtape, Outside to take home the Headies award for ‘Album of the Year’. While the album’s ballsy concept got […]

November 5, 2019

Reekado Banks is one of afropop’s most consistent stars, dropping at least one defining hit every single year. For 2019, that hit is the infectious “Rora”, which was masterfully produced by Tuzi, with a little help from the always-impressive Altims. So, we decided to sit down with the fast-rising producer behind one of the yeat’s […]

Watch

Now on Zikoko

Recommended Quizzes

November 27, 2019

Do you have a face that could make angels jealous, or should you really be walking around with a nylon bag over your head so you don’t scare children? Well, this quiz is here to answer that by telling you exactly how good-looking you are. Take and find out: 11 Quizzes For People Who Aren’t […]

November 12, 2019

Are you a single pringle, stuck in a complicated situationship or happily married to the love of your life? This quiz is here to guess your current relationship status, and as you know, Zikoko quizzes are incredibly accurate (don’t quote us). So, give a shot:

What are you like in a relationship?
February 7, 2020

Your taste in music can say a lot about you, and this time, it’s going to reveal what you are like in a relationship. So, pick a few of your favourite Nigerian love songs, and we’ll let you know if you’re typically a distant, passionate or unbothered partner. Here you go:

October 30, 2019

2010 was a game-changing one for Nollywood, with our movies making serious cash and getting international acclaim. So, which of these hits released between 2010 and 2019 — from the pace-setting The Wedding Party to the divisive Trip To Jamaica — best suits your personality? Well, that’s what this quiz is here to answer:

November 22, 2019

It can be very stressful when you’re trying to find the love of your life, but you only keep meeting people that are exactly like your yeye ex. To help you be more aware of that problem, we’ve created a quiz that lets you know the kind of people you are attracting. Take it to […]

More from #Beatsmith

December 17, 2019

Santi’s debut album, Mandy & The Jungle is easily among the strongest Nigerian projects of the year, and one of its standout tracks is the Kida Kudz-assisted “Raw Dinner”, stunningly produced by Higo. Higo’s production discography is awe-inspiring — creating gems for stars like Odunsi, M.I and Prettyboy D-O — and his last release, “Friday […]

December 10, 2019

Last week on #Beatsmith, we spoke to Altims about producing Rema’s latest banger, “Lady” — a standout off his third EP, Bad Commando. Now, we’re turning our attention to the EP’s title track, which seems to be gaining more momentum with each passing day. Produced by fast-rising talent, London, “Bad Commando” is an utterly infectious […]

December 3, 2019

Rema is easily the biggest breakout star of 2019. In less than a year, he’s dropped three impressive EPs, all filled with really fantastic tracks. Out of all them, however, one that truly stands out is “Lady” — an infectious afropop gem off his third project, Bad Commando. Considering that it’s one of Rema’s most […]

November 26, 2019

Burna Boy’s exceptional African Giant is easily the best Nigerian album of 2019, as well as one of the best of the past decade, so it comes as no surprise that it recently nabbed a well-deserved Grammy nomination for ‘Best World Music Album’. While Burna Boy’s talents cannot be praised enough, it’s also worth noting […]

November 19, 2019

Joeboy has had a truly incredible breakout year, thanks to the back-to-back success of “Baby”, “Beginning”, “Don’t Call Me Back” and “All For You”. Well, out of those four career-making singles, two of them were produced by rising beatsmith, Beats by KO. So, we decided to catch up with Beats by KO, who is also […]

November 12, 2019

Burna Boy’s career-best LP, African Giant remains the strongest Nigerian project that has been released this year. While it’s stacked with a ton of great songs and features, a clear highlight is “Different”, which features Angelique Kidjo and Damian Marley. Produced by Chopstix, GMK and TMXO, “Different” is one of the most thoughtful songs on […]

November 5, 2019

Reekado Banks is one of afropop’s most consistent stars, dropping at least one defining hit every single year. For 2019, that hit is the infectious “Rora”, which was masterfully produced by Tuzi, with a little help from the always-impressive Altims. So, we decided to sit down with the fast-rising producer behind one of the yeat’s […]

October 29, 2019

The Headies went down a few days ago, and Teni emerged as the night’s most awarded artist, taking home ‘Best Recording of the Year’ and ‘Best Vocal Performance (Female)’ for “Uyo Meyo”, Best Pop Single for “Case”,  and the ‘Viewer’s Choice’ award. Before the success of “Uyo Meyo” and “Case”, however, Teni had “Askamaya”, the breakout […]

October 22, 2019

Over the weekend, Falz’s fourth studio album, Moral Instruction — a socially conscious body of work that was greatly inspired by the legendary Fela Kuti — pulled off a surprise upset, beating out Burna Boy’s acclaimed mixtape, Outside to take home the Headies award for ‘Album of the Year’. While the album’s ballsy concept got […]

Watch

Trending Videos

Zikoko Originals

December 14, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
November 2, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
October 26, 2020
A collection of videos documenting some of the events of the EndSARS protests.
June 22, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
June 22, 2020
Hacked is an interesting new series by Zikoko made up of fictional but hilarious chat conversations.
June 4, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
June 2, 2020
Quickie is a video series where everyone featured gets only one minute to rant, review or do absolutely anything.
May 14, 2020
Isolation Diary is a Zikoko series that showcases what isolation is like for one young Nigerian working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
March 12, 2020
Life is already hard. Deciding where to eat and get the best lifestyle experiences, isn't something you should stress about. Let VRSUS do that for you.

Z! Stacks

Here's a rabbit hole of stories to lose yourself in:

Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.
X