GRAMMY Award-winning Afrobeats superstar Burna Boy has celebrated his thirty-first birthday with releasing his long-awaited ‘Love, Damini’. The nineteen-track project is star-studded,featuring big names in music like Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Victony, Ed Sheeran, Kehlani, Blxst, Khalid, J Balvin, J Hus, and Popcaan. We even get to hear a voice note from Jorja Smith. The personal record was released via Atlantic Records with Spaceship Collective with Warner Music.
How is the music sounding? The opener called ‘Glory’ featuring Ladysmith Black Mambazo is spiritual. It is a merit-worthy introduction to such a personal story. Other enjoyable highlights worth mentioning are ‘Cloak & Dagger’ featuring J Hus, ‘Jagele’, ‘It’s Plenty’, ‘Toni-Ann Singh’ featuring Jamaican superstar Popcaan, ‘Solid’ featuring Blxst and songbird Kehlani, ‘Vanilla’, ‘Common Person’ which has chords reminiscent of Paul Matavire, and ‘Wild Dreams’ featuring Khalid which has parts remindful of ‘Sweetest Girl’.
‘For My Hand’ featuring the forever chart-topping Ed Sheeran is worth skipping. It is the typical watered down Afro-Swing-like Dancehallish Pop, written like an early 2000s ballad. Burna Boy was reduced to a mere backdrop in this disaster. Although it is unworthy, ‘For My Hand’ is going to have a run on the charts – probably the sole reason it is on the album. ‘Rollercoaster’ featuring J Balvin is a cheap version of ‘On the Low’, even the chord progression was recycled. It sounds awkward. J Balvin’s performance was limping to the finish line. It’s a mess.
Overall, ‘Love, Damini’ is an enjoyable project. Burna Boy understood his assignment and delivered when it mattered the most. The demand for African music is on its highest peak, and the Nigerian singer is one of the top African acts doing it. The technical features put a dent on the overall quality of the project, but those are the sacrifices we have to make to push Afrobeats to the world.