Grammy-nominated artiste Burna Boy drops his long-anticipated fifth studio album, aptly titled Twice As Tall. The record – which incorporates multiple musical genre – does not disappoint with several heavyweight features included: some old school, others more current, but all elite.
Reggae, hip-hop, R&B, soca, jazz, rock and the required afrobeats effortlessly cradle the rich tones of the iconic multiple-award-winning African performer’s mellifluous deliveries. The genres, singly succinct or harmoniously merged, marshal multilingual lyrics throughout Twice As Tall.
“Music is a spiritual thing. I’ve never picked up a pen and paper and written down a song in my life. It all just comes, like someone is standing there and telling me what to say,” the Nigerian songwriter shares.
Burna Boy manages to serve up several gems on the album, notably updating hip-hop legend Naughty By Nature’s Jamboree (titled Naughty By Nature) along with the cultural luminaries themselves making a nostalgic guest appearance; sure to be a fan favourite among lovers of old school classics, especially ‘hip-hop heads.’
The musical maverick also captivates sentiment on the infectious R&B-fusion 23, undoubtedly an ode to American basketball phenomenon Michael Jordan, whose best-remembered jersey number is 23.
In unorthodox fashion, the title track Level Up (Twice As Tall) borrows from 50s and 60s-era American actor-singer-composer Pat Boone’s ‘blue-eyed’ jazz-pop Twice As Tall for the hook, on which Burna then ups the ante and incorporates Boone’s Senegalese counterpart and widely revered African giant, Youssou N’Dour.
The album also features collaborations with Britain’s beloved rapper Stormzy and Kenyan afro-pop group Sauti Sol. The latter, on Time Flies, evoke vocal stylings reminisce of South Africa’s legendary internationally acclaimed Ladysmith Black Mambazo’s iconic a cappella harmonising.
At the beginning of the final third of Twice As Tall, Burna stealthily elicited the charming vocals of British band Coldplay’s Chris Martin, for Monsters You Made‘s hook, to ensnare an already-enamoured audience into a power history lesson; discoursing the legacy of colonialism.
“It’s the album about the struggle for freedom. It’s the album about life in general, real life, good times, bad times, happy times, sad times, great times,” Burna Boy informs.
The afro-fusion maestro’s 15-track album came together under the executive stewardship of himself; his mum, Bosede ‘Mama Burna’ Ogulu; and legendary hip-hop mogul, Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs.