A look at ‘Twice As Tall,’ the Grammy Awarding winning Nigerian album that puts Africa on the map
On August 14, 2020, the Nigeria music scene heard a new and unique sound from the stable of one of Africa’s multi-talented artistes.
That day, Burna Boy, whose real name is Damini Ebunoluwa Ogulu, released his mostanticipated fifth album, which he aptly tagged, ‘Twice As Tall’.
As expected, the new album was jam-packed with enthralling songs that spoke volume of the creative ingenuity of Burna Boy, a truly Nigerian Afrofusion music superstar.
Positive feedback and testimonies of the melodious and meaningful lyrics, depth, superlative craftsmanship, intriguing stage craft, among other great attributes of the songs in the album were obvious a few weeks after the release.
Just one month in the airwave, ‘Twice As Tall’ intrigued with superlative performances and feats many music critics could not argue because of its innovation, Africanness, and most especially, authenticity, which made it receive massive international acclaim and appreciations.
Within one month of its release, ‘Twice As Tall’, recorded over 175 million streams with 25million Youtube streams, over 50million Audiomack streams, and 34.5million streams on Spotify. The album was also ferocious on Apple Music World with over 30 million streams, 18.5million streams on Apple Music Africa and 10.5million streams on Boomplay.
Moreover, the album broke into and topped various music charts across the world within the first month of its release, peaking at Number 1 World Albums on Billboard charts. It has also attained the number 1 spot in 59 countries on Apple Music, the number 1 spot in 13 countries on Itunes, while also peaking at Number 1 on the UK Itunes and Apple Music charts.
Furthermore, the album topped most music charts across Africa and held the number 1 spot on the UK Afrobeats chart for four weeks consecutively.
Some of the reviews by top global media outfits were great. According to America’s Wall Street Journal, ‘‘Twice as Tall by Burna Boy is a Crossover Without Compromise. The Nigerian artiste brings in
prominent American talent for his fifth record, but stays true to his Afrobeats style’’. The Chicago Reader noted that, ‘’The personal and spiritual growth doesn’t stop in Burna Boy’s Twice as Tall’’.
The numbers kept growing daily in 2021 till date, making Burna Boy the confluence of the increasingly evolved African music, as well as, led to a redefinition of his sound and a redefinition of African music as a whole. With all these going for the album, it was no surprise that ‘Twice As Tall’ won the ‘Best Global Album’ category at the justconcluded and much-coveted 63rd Annual Grammy Awards, which was held in Los Angeles, United States of America on March 14, 2021.
Burna Boy was nominated alongside equally great talents such as Tuareg Desert Rock group Tinariwen, NYC afrobeat outfit Antibalas, BrazilianAmerican Bebel Gilberto, and British-indian sitar player Anoushka Shankar.
Meanwhile, the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards is the second consecutive time Burna Boy has been nominated for the Grammys. His previous album, ‘African Giant’ was nominated at the 62nd Grammy Awards for ‘Best World Music Album’. But the award went to Angélique Kidjo, a Beninoise singer, who dedicated the award to Burna Boy and said he was leading the pack of young Africans who will shake up the global music space.
Executive produced by Bosede Ogulu, Burna Boy’s mother and manager and Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs, ‘Twice As Tall’ featured guest appearances from Naughty by Nature, the Kenyan band Sauti Sol, Senegal’s musical titan, Youssou N’dour, and Chris Martin of Coldplay.
Reacting to his success at the awards, Burna Boy said,
“Africa is here! we are here! You hear me? This is something fantastic for all Africans of my generation, all over the world, and this should be a lesson for all Africans, whatever you are, wherever you are, you can achieve it.”
Aside Burna Boy, Wizkid, another Nigerian talented artiste, won a Grammy for the Best Music Video’ for his role in ‘Brown Skin Girl’, Beyonce’s 2019 hit song. The awards were the first ever Grammys for the two Nigerian artistes.
The Annual Grammy Awards recognizes the best recordings, compositions and artistes of the eligibility year, and the 63rd edition ran from September 1, 2019, to August 31, 2020.
Speaking on the rationale for the success of ‘Twice As Tall’ album at the awards, the organisers noted that it is truly a great album because Burna Boy sang in at least three different languages, drew in artistes from across Africa and across the diaspora to fuse his Afrofusion style into one percolating whole; as outstanding in its artistic achievement, technical proficiency and overall excellence in the recording industry.