2012–2015: L.I.F.E and On a Spaceship
Aristokrat Records released Burna Boy’s debut studio album L.I.F.E on August 12, 2013. It serves as the follow-up to his second mixtape, Burn Identity (2011). L.I.F.E sold 40,000 copies on the first day of its release. Aristokrat Records later sold the album’s marketing rights to Uba Pacific for ₦10 million. The release of the album was preceded by five singles: “Like to Party”, “Tonight”, “Always Love You”, “Run My Race” and “Yawa Dey”.
Produced entirely by Leriq, L.I.F.E features guest appearances from 2face Idibia, M.I, Timaya, Olamide, Reminisce and Wizkid. Nigeria Entertainment Today ranked the album 10th on their list of the 12th best albums of 2013. The music of L.I.F.E draws heavily from the music of Fela Kuti, King Sunny Ade and Bob Marley. The album received generally positive reviews from music critics, who applauded its versatile production. It was nominated for Best Album of the Year at the 2014 Nigeria Entertainment Awards. In August 2013, L.I.F.E peaked at number 7 on the Billboard Reggae Albums chart.
n 2014, Burna Boy split from Aristokrat records. In 2015, he created his own record label called Spaceship Entertainment.
He released his second album On a Spaceship on 25 November 2015. In September 2016, he released the 7-track EP Redemption, with the lead single “Pree Me” debuting on Noisey.
2018–present: Outside and African Giant
In January 2018, Burna Boy was featured on “Sunshine Riptide”, a track from Fall Out Boy‘s Grammy-nominated seventh studio album, MANIA (2018). He released his third studio album Outside on January 26, 2018. Described as a mixtape by the singer, Outsideconsists mostly of Afrobeats, dancehall, reggae and road rap. It features guest vocals from English musicians J Hus, Lily Allen and Mabel. Outside was supported by six singles: “Rock Your Body”, “Streets of Africa”, “Koni Baje”, “Sekkle Down”, “Heaven’s Gate” and “Ye”. Its production was handled by Leriq, Baba Stiltz, Jae 5, Juls, Chopstix, Steel Banglez, Fred Gibson, Phantom and FTSE. The album received critical acclaim and was ranked by Pulse Nigeria and Nigerian Entertainment Today as the best Nigerian album of 2018. It won Album of the Year at the 2018 Nigeria Entertainment Awards. In February 2018, Outside debuted at number 3 on the Billboard Reggae Albums chart. The album’s biggest single “Ye” ended up atop most Nigerian publications year-end list as the biggest song of 2018. Burna Boy himself ended the year as Nigeria’s biggest artist of 2018.
On 7 October 2018, Burna Boy performed before a sold-out crowd at London’s O2 Academy Brixton. A day prior to the show, he held a pop-up event at Red by Little Farm and sold limited boxes of his Space Puffs cereal, as well as custom notepads, lighters and graphic tee-shirts. On 9 October 2018, Burna Boy was announced as one of Spotify‘s New Afro Hub Takeover Artist. The announcement coincided with him being named YouTube’s Artist on the Rise for 3 months.
On 3 January 2019, he was announced alongside Mr Eazi, as one of the artists performing at the 2019 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. He won four awards at the Soundcity MVP Awards Festival, including African Artiste of the Year, Listener’s Choice and Best Male MVP.
In April 2019, Pulse Nigeria reported that Burna Boy will release African Giant, a 16-track album. Burna Boy held a private listening session for the album and shared photos from the event on social media.
- Burn Notice (2011)
- Burn Identity (2011)
- Redemption (2016)
- Steel & Copper (with DJDS) (2019)