With 15 tracks carefully woven around eclectic Afro/Western genres and socio-conscious themes, Burna Boy has successfully created the sturdiest table to stand Twice as Tall from his previous musical successes.
The album actually climaxes from the very beginning of the project and starts to slowly de-climaxes until the last quarter where it peaks again, boasting of a stellar track-listing arrangement, arguably the project’s biggest strength.
The first song sees soothing vocals from a melancholic Burna Boy talking about consistency and resilience in his career on the Youssou N’dour assisted Level Up. And that sets the tone for the entire sound-piece.
Burna travels through socio-conscious terrains throughout the project, harping on failed Afro-political agenda, underdevelopment, poverty, Western imperialism, among other Afro-tailored societal woes.
He acknowledged that the project is an extension of his Pan-African agenda on the Grammy-nominated African Giant album.
Burna consciously picks his features on the album, devoid of sentimental National ties – as no Nigerian-based artiste was featured; he sways towards “reversing an international crossover” as he brings on Chris Martin of Coldplay (American singer), Sauti Sol (Kenyan Boy band), Naughty by Nature (American Hip/Hop Trio) and Youssou N’Dour (Senegalese singer).
In songs such as Onyeka, Comma, Bebo, he revives his love songs or party-popping musical alto, as his energetic vocals complement the fast-paced Nigerian Pop rhythms. However, Onyeka stands out as the best love song on the entire project. A feature with the veteran singer, Onyeka Onwenu, the Hi-life/pop fusion song would have just been a cherry on top of the cake.
The album was executively produced by Sean Diddy Combs, with top notch sound engineering from American heavyweight producers, Anderson Paak Timberland and Londonese-African Jae5, to complement the stellar production work from Nigerian sound pros, LeriQ, (Burna’s long time producer), Kel P, Telz, P2J and Rexxie.
Twice as Tall is an eclectic balanced diet of various sounds from Afro Pop to Electronic Dance Music (The Monsters You Made), to RnB and Hi-life. It’s a harmonious blend of rhythm and songwriting.
Interestingly, Burna Boy’s lyrical content in this album was more deliberate and well paced than his previous projects. Songs such as The Monsters You Made brought out lyrical depths unseen before. For example, the parts where he goes “I’ve seen the sky turn to grey/ It took the light from the day/ It’s like the heads of the state/ Ain’t comprehending the hate/ That the oppressed generate/ When they’ve been working like slaves/ To get some minimum wage/ You turn around and you blame/ Them for their anger and rage/ Put them in shackles and chains/Because of what they became/ We are the monsters you made.”
The album, which crossed over 5 million streams, in barely 48 hours of its release, is set to set an unprecedented precedent as one of Burna Boy’s finest and most complimented project. The international awards are unlikely, going by the musical politics of award rotation. However, it stands a solid chance at every African award for its category.
Burna explained that he aims at inciting a cultural shift with his largely socio-conscious music. “They don’t teach the right history, the history of strength and power that we originally had and that they should be teaching now. They don’t really teach the truth about how we ended up in the situation we’re in. They don’t teach the truth about what’s going on now and how to overcome it. And I believe that knowledge is power.
“I want my children to have an African passport, not a Nigerian passport. I do not identify with any tribe; I do not identify with any country. I do not identify with anything, really. I identify with the world in the universe — I believe I am a citizen of the world, and I have a responsibility to the world. But at the same time in the world, it’s my people who are really getting the short end of the stick. It’s just doing what I have to do when I have to do it,” he said.
Burna ends the album with the solemn re-assuring ‘Bank On It’, where he professes his unshakeable longevity in the music industry.
A perfectly strung sound-piece, Twice as Tall is notable for its dexterity, replay appeal, and overall for being a perfect mouthpiece for the African people.