The 20 Essential Burna Boy Songs
We comb through the Nigerian star's hit-filled discography to select 20 essential songs from the African Giant.
Since bursting onto the scene in 2012 with his chart-topping single, "Like to Party," and the subsequent release of his debut album, L.I.F.E - Leaving an Impact for eternity, Burna Boy has continued to prove time and again that he is a force to be reckoned with.
The African Giant has, over the years, built a remarkable musical identity around the ardent blend of dancehall, hip-hop, reggae, R&B, and afropop to create a game-changing genre he calls afro-fusion. The result has been top tier singles, phenomenal collaborations, and global stardom—with several accolades under his belt which include a Grammy nomination and African Giant earning a spot on many publications' best albums of 2019.
We thought to delve into his hit-filled discography to bring you The 20 Essential Burna Boy Songs.
This list is in no particular order.
Like to Party
All journeys have a beginning and for Burna Boy, his rise to fame began with the release of "Like to Party" as the lead single off his debut studio album L.I.F.E - Leaving an Impact for Eternity. As the years go by, the catchy LeriQ-produced record continues to age like fine wine.
Run My Race
Yet another gem off Burna Boy's debut project, "Run My Race," offers lyrics that call on well-wishers as well as haters to be a part of his unique journey.
Won Da Mo feat. D'banj
2013 was no doubt a notable year in Burna Boy's career. This was largely due to the widespread acceptance of his debut album. To cap the year off, he teamed up D'banj for the heavy-hitting, "Won Da Mo" produced by DeeVee.
Released under his own record label, Spaceship Entertainment, "Soke" is a timeless record (almost literally). The accompanying video alludes to the superstar existing outside the average time construct. He paces through while delivering lyrics over production by Orbeat as time is supposedly at a standstill.
One thing that continues to set Burna Boy apart as an artist is his versatility. On "Hallelujah" we journey with him as he shows gratitude to the most high for his life, as well as the lives of those he loves.
Songs with the title "Tonight" have a track record of being exceptional. The house-influenced "Tonight" by the dynamic producer-artist duo of Burna Boy and LeriQ certainly doesn't fall short off that.
All Eyes On Me w/ AKA, Da L.E.S & JR
South-meets-West! Burna Boy teamed up with top South African rappers AKA, Da L.E.S, and JR to bring the African continent the ultimate summer jam of 2014. "All Eyes on Me" took on a life of its own as Burna Boy held down the chorus peppered with a quick Brenda Fassie allusion.
Listening to "Don Gorgon" brings to mind a cool evening drive in the summertime while head-bobbing to the stereo. The video for the groovy Spellz-produced track sees Burna Boy once again taking the dancehall route as he parties in elevators and enjoys hot air balloon rides.
As a precursor to his first major UK headline show in 2016 came the Redemption EP, with "Pree Me" being one of the standouts. On the reflective LeriQ-produced track, Burna Boy shows he is not one to shy away from getting personal as he courses through his past shortcomings and feelings of betrayal.
Off his third studio album, Outside, came the introspective Phantom produced record," Ye." Fondly referred to as the second Nigerian national anthem, "Ye" finds Burna Boy taking a spin on the Fela classic "Sorrow, Tears & Blood" as he attests to the collective aspirations of several Nigerians.
Killin Dem w/ Zlatan
It comes with no surprise that "Killin Dem" starring Zlatan Ibile has continued blazing up airwaves and dance floors since its release. The vibrancy of Kel-P's production coupled with the popularity of Zlatan's Zanku dance spelled the perfect recipe for a massive dance anthem.
Ja Ara E
Beyonce's The Lion King: The Gift album was undoubtedly a big moment for African music as it starred a select few of the continent's biggest artists. "Ja Ara E" by Burna Boy quickly stood out of the pack being the only solo single on the album. Through the song, we witness Burna Boy take on a low-toned didactic voice in a style reminiscent of his previous singles.
On the Low
As far as afrobeats love ballads go, "On the Low" is sure to go down as one of the most compelling. On the track, Burna Boy takes on the persona of a smitten lover enthralled by his muse, Angelina. As he serenades her, he incorporates inflections similar to that of Magic System in the classic 2002 hit "1er Gaou".
Rock Your Body
This uptempo Juls produced hit is sure to get your body swinging. "Rock Your Body" is a fine mesh of dancehall and afro-pop ably complemented by Burna Boy's low-toned raspy vocals which ease up as the song progresses.
The hustle never ends! Not even when you're Africa's wealthiest man. Burna Boy affirms this over unfussy production provided by Kel-P in "Dangote."
The lead single off his Grammy-nominated fourth studio album, African Giant. "Anybody" commands your attention right off the bat. P2J provides a bouncy type beat accompanied by a flawless saxophone riff as Burna Boy compels listeners to get up and dance.
All My Life w/ Major Lazer
Right off the trio's Africa is the Future EP, Burna joined Major Lazer for the addictive "All My Life" which was paired with a riveting music video shot by South African filmmaker Adriaan Louw.
Gum Body feat. Jorja Smith
Following up the slinky "Be Honest," Burna Boy and U.K. singer Jorja Smith reunited for "Gum Body." On the track, Burn Boy seamlessly switches between Pidgin, Igbo, and English while Jorja Smith provides soft and subtle harmonies to top it all off.
Location w/ Dave
When Burna Boy and Dave came together for the Jae5 produced "Location" magic was created. The track comes off the U.K rap star's critically acclaimed debut album Psychodrama and earned both artists Song of the Year nominations at the Brits.
'Another Story' feat. M.anifest
Ghanaian top rapper M.anifest joins Burna Boy over production by Kel-P as he unveils the masked story behind the creation of Nigeria.
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