Over the last decade, Afrobeat has blossomed from a continental staple into a world sound, with artists like Nicki Minaj, Beyonce and even ed Sheeran incorporating the genre into their music and cosign the culture. The genre reached a new peak with Burna Boy’s concert at New York’s Madison sq. Garden on thursday, that certified him because the 1st Nigerian artist to headline a concert at the legendary arena.
The show opened with a small welcoming speech by legendary rapper Busta Rhymes, who thanked the crowd — that was overwhelmingly West African — for their made culture and warm embrace once he visited nigeria. He spoke of Burna Boy’s connection to ny and why the show was more than simply a regular concert, but rather AN indicator of a new era in music.With elaborate lighting and an array of dancers, Burna Boy was joined by his band The Outsiders, along with longtime collaborator, Senegalese singer, Youssou N’Dour. They performed “Level Up”, from the 2020 album “Twice as Tall,” as the African drums resounded into each corner of the arena.
The crowd got wilder as Burna went deeper into the set, shouting the lyrics and even throwing many bras at him onstage — that he did not discourage, asking for a lot of when the first landed onstage.
Later in the show Burna Boy, born Damini Ogulu, announced his forthcoming sixth studio album “Love, Damini,” due on his birthday, July 2, to screams from the audience. He then transitioned into a new song from the album, that samples Toni Braxton’s “He Wasn’t Man Enough for me.”
As his 2019 smash “On the Low” began, several fans left their seats and began dancing in the aisles. At varied points throughout night, tiny mosh pits bubbled in general admission, showing a polite balance of carefree feeling and respect for others’ personal house.
While nigeria is celebrated for its authoritative musicians and cultural leaders, it’s also faced decades of inequality and police brutality. That was highlighted as Burna performed “Collateral injury,” that speaks of the economic and social struggles many Nigerians face. The song had a resurgence throughout the 2020 #EndSARS movement, that aimed to disband a controversial police unit targeting young Nigerians and immigrants. As he sang “My folks suffer, well well/ Police dey slap here, well well/ Hungry dey wire dem, well well,” images of police abuse were projected behind him.
That statement made, the concert came to a function vibe, as Burna ripped his shirt off and smashed a stringed instrument before sprinting round the stage. when a quick pause, the lights dimmed and he began his signature hit and final song of the night, “Ye,” from his breakthrough album “Outside.” because the song wound down, Burna thanked the audience for staying with him through the years, and promised much more to come.
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