About Burna Boy
Nigerian singer Burna Boy opened his Apple Music Up Next spotlight with a distinction: “Music’s supposed to be a universal language. You understanding what I’m saying is second. The primary thing is, what does the person inside you hear?” It’s a simple but radical thought: You can listen on your terms, but he doesn’t have to meet you halfway. Born in 1991 and raised on the southern coast of Nigeria before moving to London for college, Burna (born Damini Ebunoluwa Ogulu) has become one of the most prominent African pop artists of the 21st century, fusing his specific background—a Nigerian man entering adulthood in the United Kingdom—with a global vision that encompasses Afrobeats, dancehall, trap, UK hip-hop, and just about everything else that might fit under his diasporic umbrella. The result is an artist who isn’t confined by his identity but doesn’t dilute it either. By the time he received broader recognition through a (conspicuously uncredited) feature on Drake’s 2017 mix, More Life, he was already a star in Africa; 2019’s African Giant, which featured collaborators as disparate as Angélique Kidjo, Skrillex, Damian Marley, and Future, brought him into international focus. Yeah, he’s just speaking to his people. But there are more of them all the time.
BORNJuly 2, 1991