With the release of 2013’s Leriq-produced full-length debut L.I.F.E., which featured attention-grabbing singles like “Like to Party,” “Tonight”, “Always Love You”, “Run My Race” and “Yawa Dey,” Burna Boy, a Nigerian Afro-fusion singer/songwriter, born Damini Ebunoluwa Ogulu exploded into the international scene for a sound that routinely (and effortlessly) meshes elements of dancehall, Afrobeat, R&B and hip-hop and essentially drew from the work of Fela Kuti, King Sunny Ade and Bob Marley. While the album received generally positive reviews, it was a commercial success selling over 400,000 copies on the first day of its release, which led to its Best Album of the Year nomination at the 2014 Nigeria Entertainment Awards — and the album peaked at #7 on the Billboard Reggae Album Charts.
After Aristokrat Records, the Nigerian Afro-fusion artist started his own label Spaceship Entertainment, which released his sophomore album 2015’s On a Spaceship and the Redemption EP, an effort that featured “Pree Me.” Building upon a growing national and international profile, Burna Boy signed with Bad Habit/Atlantic Records here in the US and Warner Group internationally. But last year may have been a breakthrough year for him: he was featured on “Sunshine Riptide,” a track off Fall Out Boy‘s Grammy-nominated seventh album MANIA and he released his third full-length album, Outside.
Burna Boy has continued on the momentum of last year. Earlier this year, he released a four track collaborative EP with Los Angeles-based electronic do DJDS, Steel & Copper. He won four awards at the Soundcity MVP Awards Festival, including African Artiste of the Year, Listener’s Choice and Best Male MVP. He also played at this year’s Coachella Festival. And adding to a busy year, a week after his headlining BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival set, Burna Boy released his fourth album African Giant, which features a number of crowd-pleasing bangers including “Gbona,” “On the Low,” “Killin Des,” “Dangote” and a cover of Angelique Kidjo’s “We We.”
Recently, the rapidly rising Nigerian-born artist was invited by Vevo CTRL to do a live session that included the sultry and summery dancehall track “Anybody.” The slickly produced, hook-driven track, sonically “Anybody” — to my ears, at least — is one part classic Billy Ocean and one part Shabba Ranks, as it manages to walk a careful tightrope between straightforward, club banger and ambitious pop confection.