With “Love, Damini,” Burna Boy adds another significant chapter to his story.
Burna Boy, a Nigerian sensation, announced a new project in April. The record, now named Love, Damini, is finally available. He recently teased several of the songs, including a new collaboration with Popcaan, which has him trending on Twitter.
The album begins with some traditional African sounds in the style of Ladysmith Black Mambazo’s harmonies. The relaxed minimalist production lets his voice shine with firm but not overpowering accompaniment.
Burna Boy is a prominent character in Nigeria’s thriving music scene. His most comfortable genre is Afrobeats, a modern-day continuation of Fela Kuti’s 1960s and 1970s Afrobeat movement. Kuti was managed by Burna Boy’s grandfather, Nigerian broadcaster Benson Idonije. However, the contemporary Afrobeats star rejects parallels to the original Afrobeat pioneer.
Burna Boy refers to his music as Afrofusion since it combines African and Western elements. His compositions occasionally address politics, but he avoids the revolutionary impulses of 1970s Afrobeat. For example, Damini Ebunoluwa Ogulu, the singer from Port Harcourt, would instead linger on joy and happy moments. The chorus of a song from his latest album, Love, Damini, sums up his philosophy: “I don’t want to waste my days, I want to spend them on enjoyment.”
Another thing is that he chose to go worldwide with his features, with names like Popcaan, Blxst, Kehlani, Ed Sheeran, J Balvin, J Hus, and Khalid, indicating his global and mainstream goals. Despite pushing in that direction, Burna Boy has found a way to stay loyal to his African roots and develop a record that will connect with his existing fanbase while enticing new listeners to become followers. When you listen to the album, you don’t get the impression that he was just aiming to generate massive records or accumulate streams. Instead, he put his heart into the album and cared about it.
Burna raised the bar with some severe Afro Beats style on the single “Science” before blurring the borders between African and Caribbean music on tracks like “Kilometre” and “Jagele.” One of the album’s best tunes, “Toni-Ann Singh” with Popcaan, continues the African and Caribbean link.
Other noteworthy tunes include “Solid,” starring Blxst and Kehlani, “Rollercoaster,” with J Balvin, and “Common Person,” a more traditional African ballad that will make you want to sit down and reflect on life.
‘Love, Damini’ had the potential to be Burna’s most successful record, full of heart and rhythmic passion. However, it falls painfully short: the songs are generally monotonous and, except for the highlights mentioned earlier, don’t show any improvement. There’s an impression that Burna Boy, a party-loving, emotion-inducing genius, could have done more to create something iconic.