Damini Ogulu, popularly known as Burna Boy, cuts a polarizing figure as far as his personality goes: bad press, poor interpersonal skills and run-ins with the law…but take nothing from his artistry. Away from robbery accusations, he has racked up a number of noteworthy international collaborations, including “Sunshine Riptide (Fall Out Boy), “Reaching” (Chip) and “Your Song remix ” (Rita Ora).
“Outside “, Burna Boy’s third full-length musical offering, was released in the first quarter of 2018. Spanning a little over forty minutes, the 13-track compilation sees the “Soke” singer experiment with a number of sub-genres.
“Heaven’s Gate ” is an upbeat reggae influenced tune featuring British songstress Lily Allen, and another U. K act, J-Hus, contributes to the mid-tempo “Sekkle Down”. Oluwaburna channels his inner Fela with the socially conscious “Ye”, and he pays tribute to the town of his birth with “PH City Vibration”.
“Devil In California” comes with that kind of sound that Partynextdoor could easily jump on, Burna acknowledges his conflicted nature in “Calm Down”, he goes all optimistic in “Streets of Africa”, then infuses a bit of Fuji in “Koni Baje”.
In “More Life”, Burna Boy continues from where he left off with his uncredited vocals in the outro of Drake’s 2017 track “Get It Together”, he gets help from U. K indie act Mabel on the introspective title track, “Giddem” is a groovy song reminiscent of “Yawa Dey ” (from his 2013 album L. I. F. E), and “Rock Your Body” would make you feel like you are in Kingston for a bit.
On “Outside”, Burna Boy mixes sounds like he is trying to whip up a scientific formula, and pulls it off excellently. It runs with the quality of Drake’s “More Life” playlist, only with fewer tracks. However, Nigerian music enthusiasts have a thing for genres, and the difficulty in categorizing this record may be the 26-year-old’s undoing. This is a great listen, but you just feel that he is holding something back.
Here, Burna Boy is self aware, owning up to his flaws but stopping short of an apology. It’s hard to tell if he will ever earn the widespread admiration of a Davido or an Olamide, but he has clearly evolved musically since the “Run My Race” and “Like To Party” days, no one can argue with the fact that Damini has churned out a beautiful body of work.