‘Twice As Tall’: A Musical Autobiography of Burna Boy
By Emma Tallest
“Tell them they can’t bury us”, Burna Boy said in the second verse of the opening track of his fifth body of work “Twice as tall”, showing his vulnerability in the second verse, no matter how hard he tried to hide it in the first verse, it was obvious he was still pained losing the Grammy to Beninese-American Angélique Kidjo.
Burna Boy channel all the negative energy that emanated after the Grammy into this project, they are filled with it.
The eponymous Twice as Tall Tall was heralded by a song by Pat Boone off the 1959 movie ” Journey to the centre of the earth” he goes thus
“Oh, I’d have to be twice as tall, at leas , to view better than I do…”, followed by some pity talk masquerading as inspirational, Burna Boy went down memory lane, his fight in the club, his aspiration to level, battling with low self-esteem.
Youssou N’Dour’s Woluf and Pidgin inspired hook followed, he continued with lines like am a fuxking legend and I say it proudly. A middle finger to the Naysayers, a saxophone blew towards the end and into the new track. There was no synergy between Youssou N’Dour and Burna Boy on this joint.
If Twice as Tall was a literature text, my teacher would have said the run through between track one and two was an enjambment with Music executive P Diddy having an input in both tracks.
Alarm clock is a banging wake up calm to the listener, a prayers too, something Wande Coal did on Jehova . It a continuation of the step-up storyline. Too short but it’s reawakening to the listeners who might be dulled with the first track.
Way too big was helped by a lot of adlibs. It was rife with braggadocios lines. Paying homage to Muri thunder, the fuji singer, Star Larger beer, and Shank of Julie fame, it might be a sublime to Davido and the Nigerian music industry vultures.
Rexxie’s produced Bebo is about life, enjoyment. Simply put, the lavi da local life with sublime directed at haters. Who noticed what Burna did from 2:10 to 2:15? Pamukutu was gotten from one of the early 2000s songs of Congolese singer Kofi Olomide.
While he was criticized for trying to appeal to the westerner with his electronic sound influenced “Wonderful”, Burna Boy was not bothered, to add salt to critic’s injury, the singer shot a medieval African themed video. The kick and drums really did magic on this song. Just like Dangote, the Lawyer turned Banker, Billionaire Adebayo Ogunlesi got a shout out. At the last check, Wonderful has 5.86 million streams on Audiomack.
Finally, we have something for the love bird, on a highlife beat Onyeka, the singer serenaded his lover. Pledging his faithfulness to her kingdom. Not even the rumour mongers could come between him and his supposed lover. The last 30 seconds of the song ended with some adlib drowned in saxophone and kicks.
Another eponymous track, first, the singer paid homage to the featured legendary group Naughty by Nature, Burna Boy has never hidden his disdain for politics but on this track, he became open. Naughty by Nature almost took over the song from Burna boy, he had to wait till the second verse before he could retake it.
Comma is a slang in Porthacourt and some city about weakness, blemish, on this track, he sings about love and life at the same time talking about Carowhite disciples, toning worshippers, and liposuction followers. Some people might see this track as body shaming.
No Fit Vex is one of the stand out track of this project. It can be likened to Omah Lay’s Letter to my brother. While his brother strives for the best, he wishes him all the best. The hook is reflective and somber, using lines like if you don’t know me, you go think I dey kolo. If you have a long lost brother, this might be a perfect gift for him.
Micheal Jordan shirt number is 23, on this track, the singer felt like the legendary American basketball player, with work si work echoing at the background, the first time he used the word was in Jerusalema remix. It’s a self-conscious kind of song, like a revealer after some hiccups which he can’s talk about.
Time flies sounds like one of Sade Adu’s songs. The singer also tapped from Marc Anthony’s classic tunes I Need You. The introduction of Kenya’s three-member group Sauti Sol came at the right time, using English and their native language, they invited anyone listening to the dancing floor. Doctor e enter bus, e no get money, conductor sowon papo, Burna Boy sings in a drowned voice, Sauti Sol returned for the second outing
Chris Martin is the lead singer of the band Cold Play, the track began with some revolutionary talk by a distraught citizen, this track is in the same WhatsApp group with “different” off the African Giant album. Burna Boy used a lot of vulgar words in the second verse, they were directed to the explorer Mungo Park, the colonizer. The track ended with a snippet of a Ghanian feminist writer Ama Ata Aidoo who lamented about the state of the colonial and post-colonial state of the continent.
Wetin dey sup began with a warning which some people felt was directed to the LGTB community, the first two lines simply illustrate the need to up to the task whenever the need calls for it. The Don Gorgon is at work. He was ready to Fxk a lot of people up. While the track sounds mesmerizing, the lyrical undertone betrayed this.
The music you make is life, the executive producer Diddy said on the opening track of Real Life which featured Grime Pioneer Stormzy. Burna Boy tapped from T-Pain’s I’m sprung for this tune. It’s a reflective track. Stormy held it down.
The choral effect on Bank on it cannot be overlooked, they almost overshadowed Burna Boy on this track. Just like the first track, Burna boy still maintained his vulnerability, he is just being human. He seeks for people’s forgiveness while also praying to the most high for guidance. He gave a shout out to the bang bang duo “Show Dem Camp”. Who noticed the vocal parting of the gospel artiste “Nosa” from 3:47 till the end of the song?
Burna Boy’s new body of work is a journey through his life, he was glad to reveal his strongest emotion, likewise the not so good emotion, the anger, stubbornness. if it was a book, it would have been liked to an autobiography.
Twice as Tall might not be Burna Boy’s best body of work but its a continuation of his African Giant narrative and a big leap towards his quest for the coveted Grammy award.