Is Burna Boy the biggest Nigerian artiste in the world at the moment? I’ll leave you to figure that out. All I know is that in the last few years, U.S interest in Nigerian music has gradually risen. Today, news of Nigerian pop-stars collaborating with their colleagues in the abroad is normal. Same as the sight of celebrities dancing to hits by Wizkid, Yemi Alade or Davido.
Nowadays, Burna Boy is at the forefront of that push. It’s been a long time coming. Burna Boy has been a cult favourite for years. And his new album explores a range of topics; love, spirituality, slavery, misrule and pride, that few African pop musicians address in their music. Coupled with his newfound acceptance in the US, it’s one of the reasons why many are saying he will find the crossover success that many of his peers have craved for years.
Burna sat with The Fader to discuss the new album and in typical Burna fashion, he dropped some incredible nuggets. We picked the best quotes from the African Giant himself.
- “I care about crossing over but in the opposite way. I want to come here and cross you over to where I am, because where I am is your actual home, the beginning” – On the topic of crossing over and whether he cares about finding success in the US.
- “It felt great. It’s almost like a mission accomplished in a way because it goes back to what I’ve been saying. We’re all connected and that kind of proves it” – How Burna felt when he saw Jamaican singer, Koffee’s cover of “Ye”.
- “The whole song is a brief history lesson about Nigeria and
Ghana,when M.anifest comes in. (It was necessary to include it because) Nigeria is misunderstood by insiders. I can guarantee you that at least 90% of people my age have no clue about the real origins of Nigeria. There’s so much truth that we need to know in order to be respected. Because right now the only thing that can save the youth is knowledge and financial independence.” – On the critically acclaimed track, “Another Story” and why the song is so heavy on African history.
- “I ended the album with my mum’s quote because I felt like there was no better way to close the album because that’s the whole message in one little speech. It was perfect the way she did it.” – Why the album ends with his mother’s now-iconic speech, delivered as she took the Best International Act award on his behalf at the 2019 BET Awards.
- “It’s the message. Look at the language we’re talking about now, it’s nothing but broken English. We were all in Africa, we all had our tribes and the English came so we all had to break (their language) down in a way that we can understand it. The Nigerian would have their own pidgin, the Ghanaian, their own pidgin, the Sierra Leonean will have their own creole. It’s all the same thing. The Jamaican Patois. It’s just different accents. For me, I think that’s one thing that also proves it; that we’re all the same” – Burna’s explanation for how pidgin English in different countries has similar words, lexis and structure.
Note: These quotes have been edited for clarity.