Burna Boy, a prominent figure in the afro-fusion genre, is eager to introduce his music to a global audience. Afro-fusion, a genre he claims to have created, combines elements of afrobeat, hip-hop, R&B, dancehall, reggae, and more. This blend of styles has been a consistent feature in Burna’s past work, but with his 2019 project “African Giant”, he aimed to elevate afro-fusion to a more comprehensive and grand scale.
His seventh album “I Told Them…” is a testament to his commitment to spreading afro-fusion globally. Released 14 months after his sixth LP “Love, Damini”, the album’s lead single, “Sittin’ On Top The World” featuring 21 Savage, samples and interpolates Brandy and Mase’s “Top Of The World”, showcasing his star status. The album also includes tracks like “Big 7”, which leans towards pop, and both songs incorporate Burna Boy’s unique style and lyrics.
“I Told Them…” also features samples from Jeremih’s “Birthday Sex”, stripped-down R&B tracks like “If I’m Lying”, and interludes from rap legends RZA and GZA. While the album does include afrobeats tracks like “Normal,” “Giza” with Seyi Vibez, “On Form,” and “Dey Play”, the genre seems to take a backseat in this album, which may disappoint some long-time fans.
Despite this, “I Told Them…” is a solid body of work and has achieved significant success. It became the first African album in history to debut at No. 1 on the UK album charts and is set to be Burna’s second top-40 release on the US album charts. However, Burna’s criticism of the afrobeats genre in the lead-up to the album’s release has sparked controversy.
Burna Boy’s claim that he single-handedly created afro-fusion has been met with skepticism, as artists like Davido and Wizkid have also contributed significantly to the genre. His vision of unity seems to imply that he should be at the center of it, which has been met with criticism. Critics argue that he should collaborate with his peers to create an honest narrative that benefits both him and the genre that made him a superstar.
“I Told Them…” was intended to be a triumphant response to critics, but instead, it has been seen as pushing narratives that are damaging to the afrobeats genre. Despite this, the music can still be enjoyed depending on the listener’s perspective. The success of this approach remains to be seen.
“I Told Them…” is now available via Spaceship Records & Atlantic Records. More information can be found [here](https://burna.lnk.to/Itoldthem).
Please note: Burna Boy is a Warner Music artist. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.