Burna Boy’s fifth studio album, Twice As Tall, the follow-up to last year’s African Giant, which was nominated at the 62nd Grammy Awards for Best World Music Album was executive produced by Burna Boy, his mother Bosede Ogulu, and Sean “Diddy” Combs.
It also features an array of world class acts like Coldplay frontman Chris Martin, Naughty By Nature, Stormzy, Senegalese singer Youssou N’Dour, and Kenyan band Sauti Sol. Production credits however came from Timbaland, Mike Dean, and Anderson .Paak with Telz producing a host of tracks including the lead single Wonderful.
Level Up (Twice As Tall) ft Youssou N’Dour
My first reaction after playing Level Up was ‘Yoo that’s the Burna before African Giant’. The intro to the song has this ‘opening segment which comes from the soundtrack to the 1959 film Journey to the Center of The Earth that kind of just sets you in the mood for a beautiful beginning. Burna then comes in with the ragga. Youssou as usual came with that traditional and mbalax feel to complete it. The song sounds like a new Burna Boy anthem, a perfect replacement for ‘African Giant (the song)’ where he shares his come-up story starting with how ‘he remembers how he couldn’t level up’ to when he told them ‘they can’t bury him’ and now he is standing ‘Twice as tall’. Diddy ends it with ‘Don’t be afraid to step into greatness.., I know it’s scary but it’s magical’. This is a real good intro.
Diddy again introduces the second track with a continuation of his speech from the Level Up ‘God made us, he made us magical beings……. it’s black love…’. In this follow up song, Burna takes us through his ‘Alarm clock of stardom’ where he is ‘always sending money from when he wakes up’, feels like a gentle brag but hey if you’re at the level he is at the moment you also surely will. You remember that rich instrumentation from Anybody? Yh same kind of instrumental was implored here giving it that rich afrobeats feel to dance with. This definitely is a jam.
Way Too Big
He followed up with a bit of a higher tempo vibe which sounds like ‘Yo all you hating on me, I’m way too big to be fucking with you but you know what, let’s jam to this’. This is a club banger for me and woooo the production is just on point. Burna then comes with the lyrics ‘I bring the thunder like Muri, They say I’m on drugs,… But everything them talk still no dey do me’ which got me wondering ‘This one na jab to someone or nah?’
This one na serious leg work song oo. Y’all should see me working my legs with this with some gbese in-between. Bebo is that song you need to live in the moment, it comes with the vibe ‘Yo! forget everything and everybody and just do your thing cos you only live once’.
Anytime I listen to Wonderful, I get this spiritual vibe fused with authentic African drums. Wonderful is more like a gratifying song giving you a thumbs up after a good work done.
Onyeka is like the continuation of Omo, another melodious love song to his babygirl. Burna boy once again pledges his love to Onyeka (definitely Stefflon) in this song with the assurances that she is ‘his odo’, ‘she will be his baby mama’ ‘any-day whether Sunday or Wednesday he still go dey struggle her case’
Naughty by Nature ft Naughty by Nature
Did you miss the Don Gorgon sound? He brought that vibe to Naughty by Nature and who better than the legendary Naughty by Nature to complete the song. And Yo Vins and Treach didn’t disappoint with their verses. In this song, Burna once again is reiterating his ‘alphaness’ with the whole ‘I’m naughty by nature, you can’t handle me vibe’
Comma is also a high tempo danceable tune and as he rightly introduced it, ‘it’s for all the comma babes’. This be the kind song you fit to whine your waist on. The song describes a ‘comma babe’ as one with breast and ass implants, bleached skin who regardless is slaying and whining. Literally comma means ‘there’s more to it’ and that’s what he is portraying when he said ‘weytin be this oo comma,…. ‘With your fake breast, with the silicon, girl I dey see comma there’.
No Fit Vex
Now this is an inspirational song toeing the line of Dangote. Burna in this song preaches how life isn’t easy and how he is finding his own, same way you should also find your own and that ‘he no fit vex for you’. It’s mid tempo and something you can listen to whilst relaxing and nodding your head slowly along the rhythm and flow.
Another mid tempo soulful tune which starts with Burna telling us how music ‘made him feel like he be Jordan’. He then splashes the song with doses of him doing ragga on this Afro-house-dancehall inspired sound. It’s also got this relaxing feel which hits you smoothly as you sip on the sound.
Time Flies ft Sauti Sol
Time flies is an Afro-pop tune which comes with a different feel from the usual Burna Boy which I would attribute to Sauti Sol and it’s not surprising the production was also done by them. It’s also sort of inspirational with Burna singing ‘Time flies like a thief in the night, We all got a story to write So darling jump in the ride Before the train is gone’ Savara then comes to add ‘Nobody knows tomorrow,…. so do what you got to do’. This for me is one song I’ll listen to every Monday to cushion and motivate me for the week.
Monsters You Made ft Chris Martin
Are you familiar with the song ‘fun’ from Coldplay? Yes it’s Chris Martin from Coldplay on this one and he brought the same vibe to this track. For a moment I imagined myself at a show with a rock band thrilling the fans with this song. Burna as usual came hard on this one, leveling up Chris’ energy to give the song that finesse. The is like a wake up call to Africans to rise against the oppression from the west and he rightly ended it with this excerpt from Ama Atta Aidoo’s interview ‘Since we met your people five hundred years ago , Look at us, we have given everything, You are still taking , In exchange for that, we have got nothing. Nothing And you know it But you just think that this is over now? Over where? Is it over?’ This definitely is going to be my new jam, not only because of the rich conscious lyrics but also the reggae vibe in there.
Weytin dey Sup
Telz and Timbaland on productions for this one and right from the start you could feel the richness of the sound. For a moment I was like is this a part II of ‘Weytin man go do’?. Both songs got this same feel from the arrangements to delivery. Burna here is just telling us how fearless he is and comparing himself with a python with the lyrics ‘poisonous like a long python’. Its also got the dancehall feel and you know when it’s dancehall, Burna gon murder dat thing yunno.
Real Life ft Stormzy
Diddy came through once again with an opening on this one followed by Burna digging right into it with some vigorous ragga verses. Stormzy Stormzy Stormzy, this guy just knows how to capture you with his singing. The way he smoothly chorused this one, whoosh… this is a track you’ll be tempted to loop for a while before realizing you’ve been listening to the same song over and over again.
Bank On It
Jonathan Mensah(JAE5) brought the East London vibe to this smooth outro, starting with Burna expressing his insecurities in the lyrics ‘Always looking out my window. Paranoid and confused, I’m not sure anymore. Who is knocking at my door? He then tops it up with some attributes of how ‘he is an indigene of Port Harcourt you should ask what happened,….. He is Oluwa Burna ko gbadun and they call him Bankole cos he walks around with the bank on it’
Overall this is a masterpiece of an album with awesome top notch production; this could possibly be the one to win him that Grammy come the 63rd edition. And I love the fact that he brought the old and new Burna to this one with a show of how versatile he could be on the instruments
Review by Blaise Dorleku
Follow the link below to stream/buy/download the album from all digital platforms.