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LOVE, DAMINI IS EVERYTHING BURNA BOY MEANT IT TO BE

On July 2nd, 2022, Burna boy turned 31 and in true birthday fashion, he gifted his large number of global fans a steaming release of his sixth studio album which he signed off with — Love, Damini. The album is a bulky receptacle of 19 tracks that perfectly illuminates Burna Boy’s mould as an Afro-fusion artist. Love, Damini chronicles the more humane facet of Burna Boy. It fixes a light on the artist and highlights the more vulnerable version of Burna Boy that gets muddled up in his more gigantic personas such as Burna, the social activist, Burna, the African Giant, Burna, the Odogwu. In the album, we see a side as basic as Burna Boy, the man — replete with flaws, fears, faults, and failings. In the opening track, “Glory”, he intimates, “This is my story” and sings above the sober harmonies of South African singer, Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Similar to the pattern set by the first track, the final track in the album, “Love, Damini” features Ladysmith Black Mambazo with Burna Boy reflecting on his mistakes and making promises to atone and turn a new leaf.

From the release of L.I.F.E, Burna Boy’s debut album, he has shown that he is totally adept at swerving between the fine lines of rich Afrobeat, deep, soulful R&B, ardent hip-hop, and the flexuous rhythms of dancehall beats, balancing them in right proportions in each of his creations. In fact, the idea that he “could be an Al Green for Gen Alpha — a man whose musky sensuality, emotionally and local flavour are keys to his commanding presence,” has been stimulated. Thus, it is no surprise that his versatility shines bright in his new album. For “Cloak & Dagger”, inspired by the title of a television series, he enlists East London rapper, J Hus, and they merge as a supercharged duo built to give the album a gritty, grime-influenced sound where they both boast about prevailing in spite of dangerous haters. He switches it up again by teaming up with British lover-boy, Ed Sheeran, and they both croon love tributes to their respective love interests.

 

Love, Damini, in its inclusion and fusion of various sounds, does not exclude the eclectic sounds of Afrobeats mixed with reggaetón. The perfect blend of these sounds is infused in “Rollercoaster” assisted by Colombian singer, J Balvin.  This jam is embedded in solid rhythms that invite gyrations. Burna Boy exposes the twists and turns that are embodiments of his life, dispelling any illusion of ease that fame and luxury may sell to the public.

 

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However, with over four million streams on Spotify, “Last Last” is the certified star of the album. But that’s not to say that the other neonate songs are not packed with the potential to overtake it. Familiar tunes are present in Love, Damini such as melodies from “The Nights” by the late Swedish EDM legend, Avicii, in “It’s Plenty”. The popular, haunting sound employed in the Korean series, Squid Game, is also sampled in “Different Size” featuring Victony. Victony boldly stands by his claim as a staunch believer in the supremacy of female backsides and Burna Boy joins him in the celebration of the “different sizes” of “ikebe”.

In the rigmarole of sober reflections and hedonistic dreams explored in Love, Damini, Burna Boy briefly takes on the coat of his social activism and throws in a few socially conscious messages in “Whiskey” which takes a more indigenous sound quality to correlate with the subject it discusses. He condemns political corruption once more and lends sympathy to the deplorable state of pollution which his “city” — Port Harcourt — is awashed in. He laments:

Because of oil and gas, my city so dark/ Pollution make the air turn black/… People wey dey pray for the rain but e no fall/ Rain dey fall for another man’s place and e no stop/ E be like swimming pool for him house as e don flood/ All the things wey him get for his house many don lost.

 

Burna’s album, Love, Damini, approaches in a timely manner when its originator is wading the murky depths of unsavoury controversies. With the heartfelt admittance to his wrongdoings and shortcomings and profound vows to do better, we can only hope to see a changed Burna Boy in the coming days, one who is improved enough to eclipse the forceful presence of the hubris-ridden Burna Boy.

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