2022 has been an interesting year for Afrobeats as a genre. It’s been a year brimming with peculiarities and transformational events that either redefined the genre or extended its frontiers. We witnessed several artistes pull their weight as the competition stiffened and the sophistication of listeners heightened, resulting in a handful of career-defining projects and moments.
The spate of releases saw artistes straddle between genres or explore new sounds typically outside of their artistic predisposition, making for a sonically intriguing year for the genre both domestically and internationally. A fundamentally important event that contributed to the trajectory of Afrobeats in 2022 was the release of Burna Boy’s sixth studio album ‘Love, Damini’, arguably his most personal project yet.
Leading up to the album’s release, Burna Boy had established himself as a virtuoso in the global music industry with the widespread acclaim and commercial success of his Grammy Award-Winning ‘Twice as Tall’ album. The release of ‘Love, Damini’ on the 8th of July, 2022 saw him reinforce his position as not only Africa’s priceless musical jewel but one of music’s most influential figures on a global scale.
Two singles would serve as an introduction to Burna’s most introspective and vulnerable body of work, ‘Kilometre’ and ‘Last Last’, with the latter going on to attain success on stratospheric proportions internationally. Produced by long-term producer and friend, Chopstix, with a notable sample of Toni Braxton’s ‘He Wasn’t Man Enough’, the song further cemented Damini Ogulu’s place as an icon, whilst smashing the stereotype that Africa’s sound is formulaic.
Since his emergence and breakthrough, Burna Boy’s musical journey has been characterized by nonconformity and ingenuity, choosing to prioritize artistic expression and credibility over commercial success – a propensity that eventually paid off with his first global hit, ‘Ye’ in 2018. Since then, his reach and acceptance have been globe-spanning, consequently skyrocketing his demand and positioning him as the pioneer of his signature ‘Afro-fusion’.
‘Last Last’ was an instant cultural moment for Afrobeats; one that saw the genre increasingly garner wide acceptance and dominance internationally. Upon the album’s release, we saw a subtle thematic shift in Burna Boy’s approach to music – it was more vulnerable and storytelling-driven, whilst still politically relevant, a recurring indicator of his social awareness and acuity.
Following the album’s release and acclaim, the 31-year-old singer kicked off the ‘Love Damini Tour’ on July 17th in Barbados, a follow-up to his sold-out headlining show at the iconic Madison Square Garden, where he made history, becoming the first Nigerian to ever headline a show at the prestigious venue earlier in May.
2022 saw Burna boy reach new heights that could either be described as his career’s apotheosis or a momentous turn of events for music in Africa. He has revolutionized live performances, setting new standards and becoming the archetype of an all-around entertainer. He has since toured numerous countries, providing immersive musical experiences to fans all over the world, including Trinidad, Dublin, Stockholm, Dominica, Netherlands, among others. It is evident this isn’t just about making music for him, but spotlighting Nigeria and Africa at large to the world.
The success attained by Burna Boy wouldn’t be symbolic without the unswerving support of his fans back home. He’s patently aware of their commitment to his growth and journey; hence it came as no surprise to Modaculture when he announced his ‘Lagos Loves Damini’ tour, scheduled to hold January 1st, 2023, at EkoEnergy City, in the heart of Victoria Island, Lagos.
Powered by WonderX, the Lagos Loves Damini event will serve as a symbolic homecoming for the African Giant, following the global success of his record-breaking ‘Love Damini’ album. It would mark a celebration of his career and gripping journey thus far since bursting onto the music scene in 2012. With a smorgasbord of hits and accomplishments under his belt, one can only expect a New Year concert that would leave a long-lasting impact on fans and concertgoers alike in the Lagos Loves Damini!
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