2019: The Year In The Life of Burna Boy

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If 2018 was the year Burna Boy finally fulfilled his promise, 2019 was the year in which he exploded.  With scene stealing features, a critically and commercially acclaimed album and a never ending tour, Burna’s star has shone bright in the last 12 months. We reflect on a year in the life of Burna by picking out all the moments that mattered and ensured he was the country’s biggest star.


The announcement that Burna Boy and Mr Eazi would take their talents to the Valley was followed by a rant from Burna who took offense to the font politics and demanded his name be written in the context of his being an AFRICAN GIANT.

25th January: The Release of the Killin Dem video 

Burna had closed 2018 with Killin Dem, a rare instance of him doing the trendy thing and tapping Zlatan and the zanku movement. As the song ruled the airwaves over the holiday period, Burna dropped a video for the Kel P produced song of the first quarter.

12th February: Announcement of the African Giant Tour

After his Coachella tantrum attracted insults and jest, Burna in a display of self awareness and fine sense of humor announced that his America tour would be titled the African Giant Tour.

24th February: Kainama Drops 

Harmonize, the Tanzanian singer signed to Diamond Platnumz taps Burna for a song with his label boss off his Afro Bongo EP.

1st March: Dangote drops 

With Dangote, Burna Boy continued the slew of impressive singles with the survival and socially conscious anthem Dangote.

1st March: My Baby, collab with R2Bees

4th March: Dangote video drops 

In the context of Nigeria’s election cycle, the video focused on the theme of Nigeria’s unemployment rate with Burna referencing the fact that Africa’s richest man is seeking to increase his wealth. The video is an abstract depiction of some of the grimiest parts of Lagos without Burna making an appearance till the closing scene. The narrative arc ends at Fela’s Shrine – an act that takes on from the sample and pays homage to Nigeria’s greatest musical mind.

10th March: Kainama video drops

15th March: Burna Debuts UK CHART with Dave’s Location

 Dave’s debut album Psychodrama debuted at #1 on the UK Album Charts racking up 26,390 combined sales, including 23.6 million track streams, making up 79% of its total figure. Location debuted at #11 of the official UK Singles chart.

21st March: Release of Steel and Copper EP with DJ DS

Pushing his crossover by connecting to a foreign audience, a 4 track EP with production from DJ Dodger Stadium.

26th March: Youtube Artist Spotlight Stories Documentary Drops

Using the voices of some friends, his mother and his grandfather, we get a sense of the young Burna Boy who explored fully his creative talents while struggling academically.

1st April: Thuggin/Darko video premieres

A double video to accompany the stand out singles Thuggin and Darko off the Steel and Copper EP.

7th April: Burna drops by Sway’s Universe

While doing media rounds in the States, he was interviewed by Sway Calloway.


14th April: Coachella Performance #1

21st April: Coachella Performance #2

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Killin dem sha🤮🤮 – – 🎥@iamasurf

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16th May: BET Nomination

Burna was nominated in the Best International Act category alongside compatriots Mr Eazi, Teni,  AKA (South Africa); Aya Nakamura (France); Dave (U.K.); Dosseh (France) and Giggs (U.K).

13th June: Release of Anybody

Gearing up for the impending release of African Giant, Burna touches on focusing his energy on what matters most, avoiding enemies and ultimately becoming the voice commanding the respect of those around.

24th June: Burna wins BET Award and goes AWOL

Burna is announced as the winner of BET’s Best International Act but does a disappearing act leaving Mama Burna no choice but to receive the award and deliver some words on his behalf.

4th July: Mahalia Collab, Simmer drops 

2 days after his 28th birthday, Simmer, a mid tempo bop with British singer, Mahalia is released.

9th July: Burna is selected as Apple Music’s Up Next artist

Burna gets the Apple stimulus package and the composite perks.

15th July: Release of Location video 

The summer hit gets a cameo filled video.

17th July: Simmer video is released

19th July: Burna’s featured on Beyonce’s Lion King inspired compilation

Burna gets a track to himself on Beyonce’s Lion King album.

22nd July: Final African Giant single, Pull Up Drops

24th July: Burna performs on Jimmy Kimmel

As part of the promotion for his fourth studio album, Africa Giant and in line with his placement as Apple Music’s latest Up Next artist, Burna Boy delivered a live performance on late night show, Jimmy Kimmel Live. Donning a yellow and white adire outfit, Burna wooed the crowd with backup from his band who traveled with him across the US over the course of the year.

26th July: Release of African Giant

The African Giant album finally arrives boasting features with Damian Marley, Future, Angelique Kidjo, Jorja Smith, Zlatan and more.

Featured on DJ Snake’s Carte Blanche album

Breakfast Club Interview

Press rounds as part of the album roll out.

29th July: Hot 97 Interview

13th August: GQ Tattoo Breakdown

He takes a seat with GQ to provide the background information behind the ink that’s found its place on his skin. In the course of short video, he reflects on the Bible, Fela Kuti, his memorable debut album- L.I.F.E. and more.

14th August: Interview/Performance on Daily Show with Trevor Noah

Burna connects with his African brother.

16th August: Jorja Smith Collab, Be Honest is released 

21st August: Premiere of Pull Up video

In the Meji Alabi directed video, Burna takes us on a day trip through the city.

Burna’s home! 

Burna comes home to promote the album and stops by The Beat 99.9 FM.

Album Listening Party

Later that night, he commemorated the release with a Lagos listening party.

28th August: Burna performs on Audiomack’s Trap Symphony

Burna performs with a live orchestra on Audiomack’s Trap Symphony.

3rd September: Vevo Ctrl Live Sessions

Responds to South African Xenophobic Attacks

4th September: Interview with LA Radio Host, Big Boy

10th September: Gum Body video with Jorja Smith 

Burna and Jorja Smith reprise their role as lovers.

1st October: Another Story Video Drops to commemorate Independence Day 

Another Story, one of the standouts on African Giant shed light on a backstory clouding the birth of Nigeria and employed the skills of Ghana’s M.anifest drops right on Independence Day.

17th October: Collab with Wretch 32

19th October: Performs at Wizkid’s Starboyfest in London 

24th October: Another Zlatan collab, Gbeku 

After the success of Killin Dem, Burna returns the favor for Zlatan’s new album.

3rd November: Burna wins Best African Act at the EMA’s 

Sells Out Wembley (SSE) Arena

Burna sells out the arena and receives a plaque as the first “Afrobeats” artist to do so.

6th November: Omo video drops

15th November: Queen and Slim soundtrack

Melina Matsoukas’ directorial debut has been well received and Burna gets to find his place in the moment with a soundtrack placement.

18th November: Tiny Desk Concert

NPR’s live music series is a rite of passage for the greats and Burna got his turn.

20th November: Grammy Nomination 

The icing on the cake comes with a Grammy nod for Best World Album. Though acts like King Sunny Ade, Femi Kuti, Seun Kuti and Kah Lo have found love from the Recording Academy, Burna’s recognition marked a new high for contemporary Nigerian artists performing in the mainstream space.

22nd November: Tapped by Stormzy for Own It

Stormzy x Ed Sheeran x Burna Boy captures Burna’s ascension to the big leagues.

24th November: New Collab with M.anifest, Tomorrow

Another returned favor for an African Giant cut, Burna jumps on a feature with Ghanaian rapper, M.anifest. 

3rd December: Burna Boy delivers electrifying performance on Jimmy Fallon’s The Tonight Show

After performances on shows by Jimmy Kimmel and Trevor Noah, Burna Boy continues his foray into the American market with a brilliant performance on Jimmy Fallon’s The Tonight Show.

5th December: Burna Boy holds his own on collaboration with Kranium and TY Dolla $ign, Hotel

Keeping up with his year of dominance, Burna Boy sparkles on his collaboration with Kranium and TY Dolla $ign.


13th December: Show Dem Camp Collab ‘True Story’ 

23rd December: Rap Radar Interview 

24th December: A Final 2019 Loosie ‘Money Play’ 

25th December: Headlines Christmas Concert 

 27th December: Headlines Afro Nation 

📸: Keleenna Onyeaka




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