The Pick: Burna Boy bares his heart out on new single.
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Burna Boy has always worn his heart on his sleeves. On “If People Must Die”, a riveting cut from his sophomore album On A Spaceship, he openly grapples and processes the loss of his close friend Gambo: “Because anytime mi think ‘bout Gambo, I full up a pain and sorrow / So mi haffi ride on solo / ‘Nuf tears inna mi eyes like / Lord if people must die then why do we cry.” He’s never shied away from addressing or admitting feelings that a lot of his peers would otherwise steer clear of. On the candid opener of his Grammy-winning album Twice As Tall, he admits how losing out to Beninise legend Angelique Kidjo for the Best World Album category at the Grammys the year before made him feel: “I remember when i couldn’t level up ‘cause the Grammys had me feeling sick as fuck / Throwing up and shit, asking questions like “Why it wasn’t us?” / Almost had a nigga feeling envious”. He’s vulnerable, flawed but honest about it all.
On “Last Last”, the lead single for his forthcoming album Love, Damini, he’s once again overt and vulnerable, discussing feelings from his last relationship with rapper and singer Stefflon Don, albeit in a way that's commercially palpable. The record begins in a pessimistic, almost jestful manner, with a choir loosely singing “E don cast, last last, na everybody go chop breakfast”. It’s lighthearted, playful even. But masking pain with humour is a well known coping mechanism at this point. He breezes through the first verse, making his feelings known but not without his machismo getting in his way more than half the time. It’s not until the second verse that he begins to get more real. “Feelings been dey swing like jangolover / Now you crash your Ferrari for lekki Burna / Na small thing remain could have been all over” he sings, admitting that his unfortunate accident months ago was tied to the after-effects of his breakup. He's heartbroken, devastated maybe, and he's not afraid to admit that. Asides from the fact that he's head and shoulders above his peers talents wise, his candour is another standout quality of his.
He ends the record with a bit of resolve, letting go almost grudgingly: “Have to say bye, bye o / Bye Bye o to the love of my life / My eye don cry o”. You can hear the pain in his voice, it’s extremely relatable, but he’s moving on regardless, turning to ubiquitous intoxicants for fleeting comfort: “Igbo and Shayo.”