Some have said that Burna Boy is overrated, and that he’s just another passing fad. Well, everyone has a right to their own opinions, and that’s precisely why I am writing this. From my perspective, Burna Boy is the definition of dopeness, a personification of the blast of creative originality that Nigerian music needs if it must become relevant on a global scale. He is as unlike his more street-savvy contemporary, the jumpy Dammy Krane, as daylight is different from darkness. Solid audible proof to give credence to that line of thought is the recently released single, ‘Run My Race’ from his upcoming Aristokrat Records debut, ‘L.I.F.E.’.
On ‘Run My Race’, Burna Boy carries over what is fast becoming his signature style – a fusion of pidgin, Yoruba and English delivered in a deliberately tremulous voice – from his previous hits ‘Like To Party’ and ‘Tonight’. Laid over synths and Afrobeats drum work, Burna Boy’s vocals come off as a musically-correct version of the ‘iconic’ D’banj flow. Adding more to the eclecticism of ‘Run My Race’, Burna includes a well-executed chant and ad libs in the unmistakable style of Fela Kuti, a respectful nod to the legend who, walking around in briefs and a cloud of marijuana smoke, did more for his country than its horde of robe-wearing, butt-kissing politicians, and whose work has influenced Burna’s music in no small measure.
The bottomline? Burna Boy is cocksure of what he’s doing. For a song whose lyrics are over-the-top playful and sometimes cringeworthy: “…when I dey hustle, you dey lick lollipop/ Now you dey form Robocop…”, ‘Run My Race’ is an unapologetic showcase of Burna’s burgeoning musicianship, vocal consistency and plain old common sense – a skill set which some artistes who have been around for much longer than he has may never acquire throughout their colourless careers.
When is that album hitting the streets again, Burna? Nothing but love.