In a groundbreaking Grammy debut on Sunday, Burna Boy, the Afro-fusion maestro, etched his name in history with a performance that left audiences in awe. Representing the first Afro-fusion artist to grace the Grammy stage, Burna Boy showcased his unique musical style that sets him apart in the vibrant world of Afrobeats.
Trevor Noah, the witty South African host, playfully teased the audience about Afrobeats before introducing Burna Boy as the “Grammy-winning sensation originally from Nigeria.” Dressed in a red rhinestone-adorned quilted jacket and matching gray pants, Burna Boy, with his signature swagger, brought a piece of Nigerian culture to the Grammy spotlight.
Decked in green, a nod to the Nigerian flag, Burna Boy’s performance featured lively dancers and a backing band, creating an electrifying atmosphere. The energy surged as he transitioned to the modern track “City Boys” and then captivated the audience with “Sittin’ On Top of the World.” The surprise appearance of Brandi, known for her 1998 hit with Ma$e, added an extra layer of nostalgia and flair to the show.
Brandi, who hadn’t graced the stage since the ’90s, delivered smooth vocals in a stylish black trench coat and bold clear glasses, confirming that she and Burna are indeed on top of the world. The collaboration continued with 21 Savage, who made his Grammy performance debut in an all-red ensemble, delivering his verse for the remix of “Sittin’ On Top of the World.”
Burna Boy, the most nominated African artist at the 2024 Grammys, received a total of four nods. These include Best Melodic Rap Performance for “Sittin’ on Top of the World,” Best Global Music Album for “I Told Them…,” Best Global Music Performance for “Alone” from the Black Panther: Wakanda Forever soundtrack, and the inaugural Best African Music Performance for “City Boys.”
This isn’t Burna Boy’s first Grammy win; in 2021, he clinched the Best Global Music Album award for “Twice As Tall.” The artist’s remarkable journey was also celebrated in a pre-recorded performance, partly filmed in front of Nigeria’s National Theatre in Lagos. Burna Boy’s triumphant return to the Grammy stage in 2024 is a testament to his continued impact and influence on the global music scene.