When Burna Boy dropped his fourth studio album, African Giant, on July 26, 2019, everyone expected some genius-level delivery of art. The singer had proven his consistency over the years and it was not a surprise that he did not fall short of our expectations with the 19-track album. Having previously done international collaborations with Fall Out Boy (as the only featured artiste in the Grammy-nominated album, MANIA), Lily Allen, J hus, Major Lazer, Mabel and Four of Diamonds, in which he proved that he was more than just ordinary, Burna Boy boy did not fail up the ante with this one. The album was widely received with mainly positive reviews and his spot on the world of talent was sealed tighter with him being the only featured singer with a solo track on Beyonce’s ‘Love Letter to Africa’, The Lion King: The Gift .
Drawing inspiration from legendary musicians and social crusaders like Fela Kuti , King Sunny Ade and Bob Marley, Burna Boy did not fail yet again to use his voice as an artiste to push social and political consciousness to the fore, and he has always been consistent with his politics. He did it with ‘Yawa Dey’, ‘Soke’, and this time, he did it with ‘Another Story’, a 4-minute song with Ghanaian dancehall artiste, M.anifest, basically exploring the socio-political history and condition of Nigeria, and he dropped the visuals for the song on October 1, the eve of Nigeria’s Independence Day.
The video opens with a brief colonial history of Nigeria:
“In 1900, Britain officially assumed responsibility f or the administration of the whole of what we now know as Nigeria from the Niger Company. And then, gradually over the years, British protectorates were established throughout the territory. In 1914, the protectorates were amalgamated into one Nigeria.”
The visuals then go on to explore Nigeria in its present-day state, putting a spotlight on the poverty, corruption, insecurity, and other social concerns, through strong and relatable imagery. The Clarence Peters-directed video makes use of raw, graphic representations to reimagine these issues, bringing the lyrics of the song to life. Ghanaian rapper, M.anifest, also makes a contributory appearance in the video, following the same theme and expressing his dismay at the similar state of his own country.
Even though the video follows no plot in particular, it does not miss the point; Nigeria is in a deep battle with itself, and party politics, tribalism and religion are the weapons at the fore, putting very little or no consideration at all to the general interest of the people. The country is burning, and the citizenry are going wild and mad at the national ‘go-slow.’
The video is then concluded with an additional information, voiced by Burna Boy himself:
“In order to take over the territories from the Niger Company, the British Government paid eight hundred and sixty-five thousand pounds, a huge amount in 1900. So let’s establish a simple truth; the British didn’t travel halfway across the world just to spread democracy. Nigeria started off as a business deal for them; between a company and a government.
“Incidentally, the Niger Company is still around today, only it is known by a different name – Unilever.
“But that’s another story.”
To many Nigerians, when the song first dropped, this was new information – a revelation even – and it sparked up an important conversation on the political and economic foundation that shaped the Nigeria that exists today.
Burna Boy did not fail to balance the artistic narrative with the visuals to this wonderfully thought-out song, and he remains one of the few contemporary Nigerian artistes who makes use of his platform and voice as driving forces for social and political change.