Updated: Aug 11
Grammy-winning Nigerian musician Burna Boy's debut album was published about ten years ago, but it has only been in the last few years that he has gained widespread acclaim for his fusion of Afrobeats, dancehall, rap, and R&B. He a couple of weeks ago his latest album “Love, Damini” was released and here’s what we think.
From the first song on Burna Boy's third studio album, Love, Damini, you can feel the great production present. If you doubt it you will be convinced by the end of the song with J-Hus, ‘Cloak and Dagger’. J-Hus’ feature itself is really a standout one but it does the job fine. The production cohesion is very good and songs flow from one to the other smoothly.
Burna’s vocals are amazing and distinct as usual except there’s a place on Jagele in the beginning where he sounds like he’s straining on the higher notes though that may have just been a creative decision because it is a sad one about a child with no parents - and it hits hard.
Kilometer and Last Last are definitely the great singles I’ve been waiting to listen to because I stayed away from listening to them for so long and I’m not sure why. I think something about Burna Boy (much like Kendrick Lamar) makes me only want to listen to his album experiences - I don’t just want to hear a throwaway song - I want the whole experience. ‘Last Last’ is quite emotionally stimulating and relatable in these times.
The sampling of Squid Game’s ‘Red Light Green Light’ on the song with Victony is simply brilliant. Though I found it slightly anticlimactic when it ended up being just another romantic hookup song.
The album also contains some standout features as well. Blxst is amazing, I was shocked, even though it was a relatively simple afrobeat. Kehlani was less believable but also pulled through well enough. Ed Sheeran is just eating these Afrobeats at this point. Khalid is really impressive considering I don’t think I’ve heard him in an Afro style beat since Black Panther and I’m not even sure if that counts but he has one of the best features and my favorite feature on the album.
The only criticism I feel up until this point is that this album feels like it was marketed as autobiographical with Burna or Damini telling us stories from his life but it feels bloated with love songs and casual dance songs while having only sprinkles of his actual storytelling. This unfortunately generates skips and waters down the album’s quality.
One of my critiques of afrobeats is that because it’s dance music, sad emotional beats can be harder to hit as opposed to a genre like RnB (which is why tying artists down to genres is against the benefit of the audience).
I mean Common Person just hits different because of the more personal nature of a superstar saying that we should remember as he does (hopefully) that he’s once was and in a lot of ways is still just a common person, an everyday Joe - the song also has one of the most timeless jazz productions I’ve heard from him.
I think I see how the album was sequenced; the first few songs were more personal - then there’s a quite a few dance love songs of which half of them are skips and could been removed to create a tighter experience and then it ends back on a personal note
How Bad Could It Be is I think conceptually the best song on the album - I think it really captures the feeling of anxiety and confusion that a lot of people deal with - I won’t try to describe it in detail go and listen to it and read the lyrics (the beat has a bittersweet feeling and it works very well).
The outro is just great - there’s a line on it where he says “Burna Boy but I’m Johnny Blaze” - Johnny Blaze is Ghost Rider by the way and then he’s talking about people in his life that are really so important that he really shouldn’t be ghosting them - it’s tight.
It's a good and entertaining album and I hope to see what he brings from a storytelling perspective in the future but this one gets an overall 6.5/10 from us.