Album – L.I.F.E: Leaving an Impact for Eternity
Artiste – Burna Boy
Features – Tuface, Timaya, M.I, Olamide, Reminisce & Wizkid
Producer – Leriq
Running Time – 01:13:05
Label – Aristokrat Records (2013)
It’s been approximately a calendar year since the fever of Aristokrat Records’ front-man ‘Burna Boy’ manifested, and the rise of the Afro-pop sensation hasn’t declined, rather it has grown from strength to strength in part due to the magic he found with young producer ‘Leriq’ (resulting in hit singles ‘Run My Race’ / ‘Tonight’) and the blue-print mapped out by the Aristokrat team. In a short duration, Damini Ogulu has ripened to become one of the new pillars of the Nigerian music industry and has debuted a 19 track album (deluxe edition) titled “L.I.F.E – Leaving an Impact for Eternity” to ensure his footprints are left on the sands of time. Solely produced by the dread-locked Leriq, L.I.F.E which unquestionably is a strong contender for ‘album of the year’ is a crinkum-crakum of afro-beats, jazz, hip-hop, euro-pop and the new school sound of afro-pop. Burna Boy is a testimony that age is nothing but a number; considering the maturity and depth of the music. If you are not a blonde you will notice that the message of L.I.F.E dives deeper into the conscious realm as the span of the album drives towards the finish line seeking to “leave an impact for eternity”.
The heavy names of the album result in the weakest tracks, notwithstanding consume our track-to-track assessment of Burna’s debut:
- 1. Intro: My Life: L.I.F.E opens dramatically on a solid note with a 3:15 intro christened ‘My Life’ which features vocals from the proprietor’s grand-father Benson Idons who was once the manager of afro-beats legend ‘Fela Kuti’ giving his two cents of his son’s son’s music. This album could not have a better opening number as it sets the mood for the fiery persona of Burna Boy and his music; fuelled with a drums dominated instrumentation and clear background female vocals, the intro talks about Burna’s emotive love for his craft. This is one intro that should not be over-looked.
- 2. No No No: The mood leaves the awesome and norms up with the second track where Burna Boy talks about the hurdles he faced when he embarked on his musical career in Port-Harcourt.
- 3. Say So: On a stellar Leriq orchestration, Burna Boy urges us to migrate, gyrate, do the new dance in vogue and party like mad men simply because he says so. The spell-bound nature of the violin and saxophone infused in the number collides with Burna’s well-paced delivery which makes defying his order difficult.
- 4. Abeg Abeg (Remix) ft. Tuface & Timaya: Massive collaboration alert as the mega remix to Burna Boy’s moderate smash ‘Abeg Abeg’ features Tuface and Timaya. Preserving the original beat but boasting new infectious verses from the guests, the effort should be applauded but the magic possessed by the original is missing in action.
- 5. Na So E Suppose Be: Similar to ‘Say So’, ‘Na So E Suppose Be’ is a smooth and breezy party track preaching love and happiness.
- 6. Run My Race: “Wetin dey sup, When I dey hustle you dey lick lollipop…” Burna Boy delivers an afro-beat precious stone tagged ‘Run My Race’. Ministering the gospel of hard-work yet wobbly enough to induce heads and hips in motion, ‘Run My Race’ deserves every acclaim it receives.
- 7. Boom Boom Boom: Popularly labelled a bad boy and sex symbol, when Burna Boy decided to air his carnal needs it results in the bumping ‘Boom Boom Boom’. Do not expect a Motivation-esque baby-maker from the tattooed artiste as he cockily sings; “…soon as you enter into my room, the music go change to ‘Boom Boom Boom’”, not-forgetting the hand slipping and caressing on a banging beat. Looking at the bright side, this song can work on the dance-floor and behind closed doors.
- 8. Yawa Dey: Burna Boy displays his Niger-Delta skin on the Baba Fryro reminiscent ‘Yawa Dey’. The agile final lead single from the album, is engineered to reignite the galala dance, from the beat to Burna Boy singing; “New era galala go put them to shame ah, Oya oya show them, Give them, Show them, Give them, Show them, Give them…” He is never scared of risk taking and this track is worth it as the risk paid off big time.
- 9. Ma Loada Ma Motto: A little all over the place, the Soca influenced track is undoubtedly L.I.F.E’s weakest link.
10. Always Love You: Proving that they are both (Leriq and Burna Boy) jack of all trades, the duo took us to Europe with the progressive synth nourished ‘Always Love You’. Burna Boy may not have the vocal range of a ‘Praiz’ or
‘Chuddy K’ yet he works too well with what he has and soars on the amazing euro-pop instrumentation proclaiming his love.
11. Tonight: A drastic genre mood-switch as the groovy and jazzy ‘Tonight’ sets in.
12. Like to Party: Teasing memory of Will Smith’s ‘Summertime’, chart-topper ‘Like to Party’ highlights the best parts of Damini’s artistry which is singing and rapping. Laid back but packing enough attitude and heat to cause brouhaha in a dull party and set the airwaves ablaze, we like to party.
13. Smooth Sailing: The tone of the album gets more serious and conscious with ‘Smooth Sailing’ this trends continues till the end.
14. My Cry ft. M.I: Aided by M.I (who serves a hot and moving rap verse), Burna tackles corruption and the loop-holes in the Nigerian government in the provoking ‘My Cry’.
15. Guilty: Burna Boy pleads ‘Guilty’ for loving on this acoustic-guitar driven ragga inspired love ballad. Backed by a seasoned background vocalist, Burna shows a vulnerable side as he goes on and on as if he is intoxicated about the love he has for the girl he met on his way to school. Guilty is one of those tracks if treated live, will show the world why Burna is where he is.
16. Dem No Know: ‘Dem No Know’ opens with breathy vocals of Burna Boy and builds up as the full composition kicks in. The tune talks about the damage that happens to relationships when success arises… Solid filler!
17. Don’t Run ft. Reminisce & Olamide: On a memorable piano intro; Olamide says this song for the Porsche and the Street… The eye-opening ‘Don’t Run’ which features indigenous rap titans Reminisce and Olamide is one of the LP’s lowest points but the weighty message behind it is commendable.
18. Jah’s Love Is True ft. Wizkid: Obviously the love of God is true and Burna Boy calls on star-boy Wizboy to help him count his blessings on the mellow ‘Jah’s Love is True’.
19. Outro: Remember Me: After a couple of so-so collaborations Burna Boy makes a cinematic comeback and closes L.I.F.E on a high with ‘Remember Me’. This is how we like Burna Boy served; solo, raw, soulful and deep, he flexes his pipes as he sings that he here to leave a mark so that he can be remembered. *cues applause*
Reviewed by Ogaga Sakpaide [ @Ogagus ]