Rap has been a powerful form of rhythmic expression for many years. While NPR credits its origins to block parties in 1970s New York City, Four over Four suggests that rap actually traces back to West Africa, where storytellers used it to share their tales accompanied by the ƅеаt of a drum.
One rapper who embodies this rich tradition is Burna Boy, also known as Damini Ebunoluwa Ogulu, as highlighted by The New York Times. Hailing from Nigeria, Burna Boy can be likened to the West African historians of old, using his music as a conduit for stories of the past, present, and future. Despite facing setbacks early on in his career, such as label issues in 2015 and being overlooked by influential figures in his home country (as reported by African Glitz), Burna Boy’s fortune took a drɑmɑtic turn in 2018.
According to The Fader, Burna Boy’s breakthrough came through an unex.pec.ted turn of events. In 2018, he released an album featuring a song titled “Ye.” Coincidentally, around the same time, Kanye West also released an album titled “Ye.” Kanye’s fans searching for his album stumbled upon Burna Boy’s track, and upon listening to it, some decided to explore the rest of Burna Boy’s work. This led to a surge in international recognition for the Nigerian artist. Fast forward to 2022, Burna Boy has solidified his position as a respected artist both locally and globally.