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Grammy Awards 2021: Does Burna Boy stand a chance this time?



The year 2019 was great a year for Nigerian Superstar Burna Boy. With the release of his fourth studio album, “African Giant” followed by well attended concerts all over the world, the “Odogwu” was poised for all the many accolades he could receive in the music world.

“The album which features guest appearances from Jorja Smith, Jeremih, Damian Marley and Future, among others, received generally favourable reviews from music critics, who called it cohesive and praised Burna Boy for not diluting his sound. It was included in the year-end lists issued by several publications, including Billboard, Complex and Pitchfork.”

See below weekly and year-end rankings of “African Giant” album.

Weekly charts

Chart (2019)Peak
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)58
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)98
Canadian Albums (Billboard)33
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)12
French Albums (SNEP)54
Irish Albums (IRMA)80
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)64
UK Albums (OCC)16
US Billboard 200104

Year-end rankings 

ComplexThe Best Albums of 2019
BillboardThe 50 Best Albums of 2019
PitchforkThe 50 Best Albums of 2019
ViceThe 100 Best Albums of 2019
The 100 Best Albums of the 2010s
Rolling StoneThe 50 Best Albums of 2019
The AtlanticThe 18 Best Albums of 2019


It was therefore not a surprise at all when “African Giant was nominated in the ‘Best World Music Album’ category at the 2020 Grammy Awards together with Altin Gün, Bokanté & Metropole Orkest, Nathalie Joachim With Spektral Quartet and Angelique Kidjo.

Despite receiving formidable reviews, doing well on music charts and winning some major awards, Burna Boy lost out on the ultimate Grammy Awards.

While receiving the Grammy award for the best world album on January 27, 2020, Angelique Kidjo dedicated the award to Burna Boy and stated that indeed, Burna Boy is the future of African music.

“Four years ago, on the stage, I was telling you that the new generation of artistes coming from Africa are going to take you by storm. And the time has come. This is for Burna Boy. Burna Boy is among those young musicians that come from Africa that is changing the way that our continent is perceived and the way that African music has been the bedrock of every music,” she said during her acceptance speech at the award show.

After loosing out on the one thing that would have crowned all of his hard work, Burna Boy revealed that he “felt totally sick” but was however poised to work “Twice as tall.”

“Sick. Totally sick,” he stated. “My musical Mother @angeliquekidjo told me everything I needed to understand about the Grammys. So now I’m “Twice as Tall” (that’s the name of my next Album by the way dropping in July by the grace of the most High),” he wrote in a tweet.

Indeed, the African Giant worked twice as hard and released his fifth studio album, “Twice as Tall”on August 14, 2020, this time, gathering the talents of Youssou N’Dour, Naughty by Nature, Sauti Sol, Chris Martin and Stormzy.

Executive produced by American singer and songwriter Diddy, with generally favourable reviews from music critics as well, “Twice as Tall” set out to take great positions on some music charts.

See chart performance for Twice as Tall below:

Chart performance for Twice as Tall
Chart (2020)Peak
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)69
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)22
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)22
Canadian Albums (Billboard)19
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)10
French Albums (SNEP)29
Irish Albums (OCC)31
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)47
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)12
UK Albums (OCC)11
US Billboard 20054

The pandemic has brought everything to a halt, which has stalled momentum with Twice as Tall. While it is doing amazing on charts, a world tour, as he did with “African Giant,”  would have cemented its position.

This year at the Grammys, Burna Boy faces competition from  Antibalas, Bebel Gilberto, Anoushka Shankar and Tinariwen.

Twice as Tall  firmly establishes Burna’s political stance and like the album cover, a hero poised for greatness.

But will a “heroic” album get him a Grammy win when a dazzling crossover moment with African Giant didn’t?

We’ll find out on January 31, 2021.