By Toni Kan
Oh, we have seen it happen before. Blackky. Eedris. 9ice. Dbanj
They rise, they burn incandescent, bright stars illuminating our musicos-phere and then they burn out, interred in some unforgiving black hole.
Most often, they are brought low and humbled by an error of judgment, a mistake, poor judgement, shifting tides but mostly ego and arrogance.
That is the nature of the beast called fame. It is self-cannibalizing, like a dog that feeds on its brood.
Today, Burna Boy is king, his star is in the ascent. The stars have literally aligned themselves to favour him and it has taken sweat and hard work, make no mistake about it.
2018 was his year and 2baba even acknowledged it when he named Burna Boy’s ‘Ye‘ as the song of the year, lifting it above his own ear candy, Amaka.
When 2Baba made that comment about a week ago, it was like a royal imprimatur, a seal of approval. Like the pyromaniac ork from the video game where the name Burna boy comes from, Burna Boy is on fire and can’t stop making hot music from ‘Ye’ to ‘Gbona’ to ‘On the Low.’
Burna Boy seems to have discovered the magic wand for fanning almost inaudible ditties into musical flame.
And the listeners and tastemakers have taken notice.
It seems like a long time from when he first gave us ‘Abeg Abeg’ and then ‘Love to party’ while still in bed with Aristokrat Records. Back then we thought the magic maker was his producer, Leriq but little did we know that Burna Boy was the one with the flamethrower.
Almost 10 years down the line, Burna Boy’s music has undergone a sea change. The percussion-heavy dancehall tinged songs have given way to a more playful afrobeat influenced sound. All those years hanging out with his grandfather in Fela’s shrine are paying off. His music is now a mélange of influences; dancehall and reggae with dollops of Afrobeats and straight up Afrobeat, the Fela Kuti kind.
There is now in his songs a sure-footedness and confidence and lyrical swagger that can only come from experience and time spent honing one’s craft and angling to be the best.
And now, all that hard work seems to have paid off. He has stared down controversies, found his way back to the UK from where he was allegedly deported, escaped an alleged robbery charge, kept his nose clean and now he is at the top but getting to the top, as we have seen many times, is the easy part. Staying there is the hard part.
In the space of one week, Burna Boy has displayed a character flaw that could well be the harbinger of his fall.
His Burna Live concert started seven hours late but the audience didn’t seem to mind. The king was on stage and the party happened.
But his behaviour at the Style by Zenith concert shows that he may very well have a huge problem on his hands. Bumped all the way up as headliner, Burna Boy was a no-show when the time came for him to take the stage.
2Baba exited the stage a little past 11.30 and the crowd waited and waited for Burna Boy to show. Tired of waiting, many left despite the spirited efforts of the Deejay.
And it wasn’t until 12.33 am as this writer made his way out of the venue that Burna Boy arrived in a convoy of three cars.
But he still did not play.
Unconfirmed sources said on his way in, Burna Boy was accosted by a Zenith executive who asked him why he had kept everyone waiting. Sources say Burna Boy feeling affronted had turned and left the venue.
That’s no way to treat your fans and that’s no way to treat a big brand like Zenith.
We have seen it happen before and after 2o years as a journalist chronicling the rise and fall of many celebrities, I see the signs.
Burna Boy seems to have just struck the match that will burn down his career. This pyromaniac ork, tired of burning everything down, will consume itself.