Shhhhh!!! So he did not win the Grammys. Okay. Congrats to Angelique Kidjo and all the others in that category. Two or three years ago, who would have thought Burna will be at the front BURNA? He was hustling with the Cynthia Morgan and now he is dating Stefflon Don. Not that Stefflon is any finer or better than Cynthia Morgan but...
To losing out to Angelique Kidjo, Grammys have always honoured what they consider “refined” and “classy”. The voters are some old white people that obviously listen more to Beethoven than Rihanna. It is why in years where OPP by Naughty by Nature ruled the streets and many rappers dropped gems, Will Smith was winning back to back Grammys with Summer Time and Jiggy With It or some other less than skilled rapping (I love Will Smith though)
The truth is that Burna Boy has been, to quote one a major music writer “Africa’s most significant artiste” this past one year and then some. From South Africa to Kenya, thru Malawi and Ghana, to mainstream radios in America (104.5 Dallas. I hear him always) Burna’s music “YE” is a crossover and a runaway hit.
But again, like Denzel losing to Al Pacino for Best Actor when Al Pacino played a blind guy in Scent Of A Woman, sometimes also the Grammys ask you to PAY YOUR DUES. You have to have been on your grind for a good while or really just be heads and shoulders above everyone like NORAH JONES and her COME AWAY WITH ME album.
For those needing a comparison or something to juxtapose the choice between Angelique and Burna, look to the Grammy snub of India Arie and her consequential album “Acoustic Soul” that had the track VIDEO (I am not the average girl in your videos... my worth is not determined by the price of my clothes.... no matter what I am wearing, I will always be Indie Arie) and the sensuous love song to melanin, BROWN SKIN. and how U2 destroyed her by winning 8 Grammys without her getting one.
The point is when big and established acts like U2 and Kidjo have comeback years of massive proportions, Grammy voters fawn over them. They do not care what is happening in the streets or clubs or what is playing in their kids headphones. The fact that their contemporary (usually their age mates or friends) have hits that are in many respects equal to or even better than what obtains in the streets, the award goes to that contemporary or icon
Burna Boy cannot dare say he is unaware of Kidjo’s iconic status. He has sampled her music more than once. And I am sure he did not pay for it and neither will she bother to sue. In fact, he features her in his epoch-making album AFRICAN GIANT.
Also, the record label releasing these songs count. Angelique Kidjo is not recorded nor released in Benin Republic. She does not own her record label. A machine and a system is behind her. And these goes for Fela and Femi Kuti as well. Their recordings are done in Europe and America. The albums have corporate whites and industry moguls ensuring radio play and submissions to award companies with all the rules needed to be able to win.
And this is why I am totally CONGRATULATING Burna Boy and his mother and all his producers and promoters .. ALL LOCAL as at this point. He is the first one to truly take a LOCAL SONG written by a LOCAL ARTISTE, performed by a LOCAL ARTISTE, produced by a LOCAL PRODUCER in a LOCAL STUDIO, mixed and mastered by a LOCAL SOUND ENGINEER aka maybe the producer himself or even the artiste lol. His video was shot by the GENIUSSSSS and LOCAL Clarence Peters.
He did not have Fela’s fancy 70 man band flying to America or Asa rerecording and reproducing songs already produced by LOCAL Cobhams by a whole band in France. Nor even Sunny Ade’s “advance” (money paid to an artiste to take care of self and enjoy while recording his album) and international recording that also got him a Grammy nominations in 1984 and 1999. Burna Boy is the streets of Lagos and Port Harcourt. Every song is US totally. It is a tribute to the creativity of the Nigerian and our immense potentials.
Many must have noticed the shameless plug in the title of this piece and the capitalization of SECRET and how the article began with SHHH. Oh yes! It is Burna Boy’s new international single ft Jeremih and Serani titled SECRET. Until recently, I did not really like our international collabos, be it 2Face Sound Sultan, and Wyclef and and so many others. But with Wizkid and Beyonce BROWN SKIN GIRL, Davido ft Popcaan RISKY and now SECRETS, Burna Boy ft Jeremih and Serani, we have songs able to stand and run on its own two legs as opposed to just relying on the big names
So now that you know the SECRET why Burna Boy is not the proud winner of the Grammys, reasons which include Angelique Kidjo being a fantastic act, the record label and their influence, and the fact that Burna must pay his dues, SHHHHHH! and just enjoy his new song and hope he keeps the fire BURNA... sorry burning.
About the writer
Ena Ofugara works at 2bam ENA-tainment. He is very humorous and exciting. He studied law, he is into media and entertainment. He has contributed to the careers of musicians like Rymzo, Fragrance, Adaz(zarokome) Segun Obe, Kaka, Bclean, Kefee(branama), and comedians like Basketmouth, Gandoki, and Gordons, and models like Ejiro Jalogho and Lily-Grant Kayoh all at their budding stages.