If anyone had predicted at the end of 2017 that Burna Boy would be mentioned as the artist of the year 2018, the obvious response would have been ‘hell no.’
The career of this extremely talented artist from Port Harcourt has featured many impressive staging and yet troubling moments, but this year, Burna chose to focus on the music and ensured that he kept us all in his view.
2018 kicked off with Burna releasing one of the earliest projects with his album, ”Outside” in the latter part of January, which would go on to debut at the No 3 spot on the Billboard Reggae Albums Chart.
The early single, ‘Heaven’s Gate’ featuring UK singer Lily Allen soon became a favourite, but it was another song off the album, ‘Ye’ that would go on to resonate with the audience all year long.
Contrary to the modern trend where songs fade as the days pile up, Burna’s ‘Ye’ has grown in presence, fame, impact and acceptance with every month and far deep into the year, ‘Ye’ remains the most played song at concerts and end of the year events.
Burna’s commitment to making an impact this year is steeped in the same toughness that has earned his mean reputation over the years. At a point when there was so much uncertainty surrounding his career, Burna made the decision to embark on his ‘Life On The Outside’ tour in the United States.
Little did he know at the point of taking off that it would turn out to be a decision that will utterly define his year. Video clips of the crowd singing along to his songs soon begin to emerge online rousing interest yet again from home.
City by city, Burna spread his music and his fanbase began to add up in fast numbers. On ‘Ye’ was the foundation of his year built, but in hard work, imagination and more good music were it properly laid.
‘Ye’ at some point became the soundtrack by which the Nigerian youth found respite. It also became a trending hashtag by which a certain Osh gained inspiration for his song that later earned him a record deal.
Burna’s concert in London provided one of this year’s memorable moments which earned him a ‘sold-out’ status plaque from the organizers, while his billboard plastered all across Times Square, New York as YouTube’s ‘artist on the rise’ provided another 2018 highlight for the music scene.
He would go on to release more chart-topping singles in ‘Gbona’ and ‘On The Low’ while closing a remarkable year with his headline concert ‘Burna Boy Live’ on Boxing day, December 26th.
How do you define greatness? How do you achieve it? and how do you choose to select one great from another?
2018 has been a year where the likes of Wizkid and Davido have equally showcased excellence in large measures.
But in a heavyweight category where only one champion can emerge, Burna Boy is our artist for the year not only for how he was able to steer his career back on the right path but for how his songs stood heads above shoulders that of any other artists all year long.