Burna Boy Celebrates Self on “Love, Damini” – Michael Chiedoziem Chukwudera
TLR's Top Afrobeats Album of 2022
What is the end of a year without a list? Trust The Lagos Review to hook you up with some new writing about some of the music albums that gave this year its oomph. Read as Micheal Chiedoziem Chukwudera raves about Burna Boy’s Love, Damini
Burna Boy’s latest album, Love, Damini is the most light-hearted of all Burna Boy’s albums in recent times. Love, Damini which was released around his birthday this year, begins with Damini Ogulu celebrating himself on the opening track, ‘Glory’ as well as the first half of the last track of the album, Love Damini featuring South Africa’s Ladysmith Black Mambazo.
Over nineteen songs, the album sees Burna ruminate over lighthearted matters while flexing his artistic muscles. It is as though Burna Boy, after reaching a landmark in his career, said, “Dear self, rejoice, you have done well. Now sit and make an album for yourself.
Love, Damini ranges from the celebration of self and the celebration of ordinary life, alcohol, lust, partying women and grooving generally. It only tackles social issues once when it talks about soot in Port Harcourt on ‘Whiskey.’
The album has recently bagged two nominations at the Grammy Awards. Songs like ‘Last Last,’ ‘Kilometre’ and ‘Common Person’ have enjoyed massive airplays and have gone viral on social media platforms where they have been used as background songs for videos and reels. In addition to the solo tracks, Burna Boy collaborates easily with Britain’s Ed Sheeran, America’s Khalid, Jamaica’s Poopcaan, Nigeria’s Victony, South Africa’s Ladysmith Black Mambazo gifts us with a mosaic of successful afrofusion experiments. These collaborations gift the album a cosmopolitan quality. Burna Boy’s ability to achieve unprecedented afrofusion success in his projects has been a large part of his success as an artiste and is the backbone of his reputation.
The album, though, is not as arresting as the best of what Burna has produced. It is not easy to listen to Love, Damini in one sitting as it is to listen to African Giant or to Twice as Tall or even Outside. The album seems disjointed at intervals like those brief brief moments at a party where everywhere seems is in disarray. Yet the subtle genius and the hardcore energy in a song like ‘Cloak and Dagger’it is inescapable, even in its soft rendering or ‘Common person’ which is in itself philosophical like its sister track, ‘It’s Plenty’.
Love, Damini does enough to show the undeniable level of excellence to which Burna Boy has developed his craft. And with little to match its quality in the slush of albums released from Nigeria this year, it is incontrovertible that Burna remains one of the best even while not at his best.
**Michael Chiedoziem Chukwudera is a freelance writer and journalist. Follow him on Twitter @Chukwuderaedozi