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Outside is the third studio album by Nigerian singer Burna Boy. It was released on January 26, 2018, through Spaceship Entertainment, Bad Habit and Atlantic Records.[1] The album is the follow-up to his debut extended play, Redemption (2016).[2] Described as a mixtape by the singer, Outside consists mostly of Afrobeats, dancehall, reggae and road rap.[3][4] 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.[5][6] The album received critical acclaim and was ranked by Pulse Nigeria and Nigerian Entertainment Today as the best Nigerian album of 2018.[7][8] It won Album of the Year at the 2018 Nigeria Entertainment Awards.[9] In February 2018, Outside debuted at number 3 on the Billboard Reggae Albums chart.[10]

Burna Boy - Outside album cover.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedJanuary 26, 2018 (2018-01-26)
Burna Boy chronology
Steel & Copper
Singles from Outside
  1. "Rock Your Body"
    Released: April 28, 2017
  2. "Streets of Africa"
    Released: November 24, 2017
  3. "Koni Baje"
    Released: December 8, 2017
  4. "Sekkle Down"
    Released: December 11, 2017
  5. "Heaven's Gate"
    Released: January 19, 2018
  6. "Ye"
    Released: August 6, 2018



Described as a mixtape, Outside consists mostly of Afrobeats, dancehall, reggae and road rap.[3][4] The album's opener "More Life" was one of five songs recorded for Drake's playlist of the same name.[4] It made the cut, appearing on the outro of "Get It Together". Burna Boy recorded the album's title track "Outside" on Pete Townshend's studio boat.[4] He revealed that "Ye" was unconsciously recorded after a great night out at a Lagos nightclub.[11] On January 21, 2018, Burna Boy held a private listening session for the album at the WeRe House in Lekki. During the session, he talked about the inspiration behind each track on the album.[12] Few days later, he held a second listening session at the Curtain Hotel in London.[13]

Music and compositionEdit

In the house-influenced interlude "More Life", Burna Boy paints a picture of relaxation.[14] In the drum-infused "Ph City Vibration", he pays homage to his hometown. The Jùjú-inspired "Koni Baje" features the talking and bongo drums. The Lily Allen-assisted "Heaven's Gate" focuses on themes of betrayal and victimhood.[11] In the introspective record "Ye", Burna Boy sings about his drive and ambition.[15] In the reggaeton-laced "Giddem", he alternates between singing for his love interest and showcasing his skills.[14] The nostalgic track "Streets of Africa" was recorded over a cartoon-sounding trap beat popularized by American rapper Lil Yachty.[16] In the dancehall-highlife track "Rock Your Body", Burna Boy sings about his sexual desire to make love to his lover.[14] The alternative R&B track "Devil in California" has been described as "thought provoking" due to the lyrics: "It’s like all my life I’ve been knowing somethings been missing, devil on my shoulder that’s why I can’t stay sober".[17] In "Calm Down", Burna Boy confesses to using purple drank to numb his pain.[17] "Outside" is a cross between dance and pop; Burna Boy uses the song to address his struggles and victories.[18]


The album's lead single "Rock Your Body" was released on August 28, 2017.[19] It was produced by UK-based Ghanaian producer Juls. Segun Akande of Pulse Nigeria described the song as a "mid-tempo hybrid of highlife, dancehall and Afro-fusion melodies."[20] The accompanying music video for "Rock Your Body" was directed by Clarence Peters. In the video, Burna Boy spots a girl in the club and tries his best to convince her to leave her friends and dance with him.[21] Most of the video's footage was shot in a production studio. Peters implemented the use of dark lighting and aesthetic while shooting the video.[20] The album's second single "Streets of Africa" was released on November 24.[22] Produced by Leriq, it touches upon themes of love and sex.[23] The song was recorded over a trap beat and contains nursery rhymes. Reviewing for Konbini Channels, Daniel Orubo stated that Burna Boy "effortlessly alternates between highlighting the joyfulness of being African, bragging about his prowess with the ladies, praising his own musical ability, and warning his haters not to fuck with him."[23]

On December 8, the Juju-inspired "Koni Baje" was released as the album's third single.[24] Produced by P2Jay, the song has been described as a "tribute to his career, and a prayer for himself".[25] Moreover, it highlights the flexibility of Burna Boy as an artist.[25] The album's fourth single "Sekkle Down" was released on December 11. It was produced by Jae5 and features vocals from UK grime artist J Hus.[26] Burna Boy premiered the track on Zane Lowe's Beats 1 Radio show the previous day.[27] Prior to the release of "Sekkle Down", both artists recorded "Good Time", a track from J Hus' debut studio album, Common Sense (2017).[27]

On January 19, 2018, Burna Boy released the Lily Allen-assisted "Heaven's Gate" as the album's fifth single.[28] The accompanying music video for "Heaven's Gate" was released on the same day. Described as a "16mm filmed family affair", the video features a woman dancing in the kitchen, as well as young girls playing video games.[29] A snippet of "Sekkle Down" is also included in the video.[28] According to Spin magazine, "Heaven's Gate" is the fourth single released by Burna Boy since he inked a record deal with Atlantic Records.[30]

The album's sixth single "Ye" was released on August 6, 2018. Nigerian record producer Phantom created the beat in less than two hours, combining together a kick, piano synths and a few snares.[31] Moreover, his vocals were layered on the beat.[31] "Ye" saw a 200 percent spike in streaming numbers after searches of Kanye West's Ye accidentally caused listeners to stumbled upon it.[32] Burna Boy went on Twitter to thank Kanye West for the confusion.[33] A writer for Native magazine said "Ye" is being viewed as a new anthem because it "embraces the anathema of every self-interest seeking seemingly good-natured Nigerian."[31] In an email to The Fader magazine, Burna Boy said the video "essentially shows the unrelenting nature of Nigerians".[34] "Ye" won Song of the Year and Listener's Choice at the 2019 Soundcity MVP Awards Festival.[35]

Critical receptionEdit

Professional ratings
Review scores
One Tribe     

Outside received critical acclaim from music critics. Pitchfork writer Claire Lobenfeld praised Burna Boy's versatility and said his kaleidoscopic output on the album makes it "a fine lesson in mixing genres without making mud".[4] One Tribe magazine praised Burna Boy for experimenting with different sounds, but ended up stating that the LP lacks "a common theme to piece all the songs together".[17] Segun Akande of Pulse Nigeria said Outside is Burna Boy's "most personal project yet" and further stated that it is "a deeply expository look at himself and the fears and influences that have made him such a divisive figure".[14] Reviewing for OkayAfrica, Mayuyuka Kaunda described the album as "easily digestible" and further stated that Burna Boy "offers some striking observations—experienced by many—and asks us to keep dancing throughout our journey with him."[16] Chicago Reader's Leor Galil praised the songs on the album, adding that their "placid percussion, effervescent melodies, and easygoing grooves create the kind of atmosphere that makes the album feel familiar on first listen".[36]

Victor Okpala from Nigerian Entertainment Today said that from a sonic standpoint, the album is Burna Boy's "most versatile offering that saw him push far beyond the boundaries of his musical dimensions – balancing speed, depth, and storytelling".[11] Jim Donnett gave the album 4 out of 5 in a review for TooXclusive.[15] Donnett praised the album's diverse sounds and said it "tells more of the realities of the life of an African man than Sounds from the Other Side did".[15] For Wilfred Okichie of 360Nobs, each song on the album "tells its own story and serves a purpose, leaving no room for waste or excess". Okichie also stated that the album is the "best thing Burna Boy has done in a long while, maybe his entire career."[3] Mellowviews writer Mutsinzi Eric said, "Burna Boy’s music is delivered like performance arts, it is marked by a heart-felt expressionism and always masked by a non-chalant melancholy."[37] A writer for BellaNaija, who goes by the moniker Black Boy, stated that Outside "bears evidence that Burna Boy remains defiant of the norms of the industry, the lores that trick other artistes to believe that only the pop music makers are relevant in the industry."[1] In a review for Music in Africa, Osareme Edeoghon described the album as being "partly reflective and autobiographical", while also stating that the singer's efforts on the LP matches the album's title.[2]


Year Awards ceremony Award description(s) Results
2018 Nigeria Entertainment Awards Album of the Year Won
City People Music Awards[38] Nominated

Track listingEdit

Credits were adapted from Burna Boy's interview with Vice.[5]

1."More Life"Damini OguluBaba Stiltz1:32
2."Ph City Vibration"OguluI Am Beats3:46
3."Koni Baje"OguluP2J3:23
4."Sekkle Down" (featuring J Hus)
  • Ogulu
  • Momodou Jallow
5."Where I'm From"OguluSteel Banglez3:07
6."Heaven's Gate" (featuring Lily Allen)
  • Ogulu
  • Lily Cooper
9."Streets of Africa"OguluLeriq3:30
10."Rock Your Body"OguluJuls3:41
11."Devil in California"OguluP2J3:15
12."Calm Down"OguluJae54:25
13."Outside" (featuring Mabel)
  • Ogulu
  • Mabel McVey
Total length:44:00


  • "Giddem" features an interpolation of "So Into You", performed by Tamia.[16]
  • "Ye" features an interpolation of "Sorrow, Tears, and Blood", performed by Fela Kuti.[6]


  • Damini Ogulu – primary artist, writer
  • Momodou Jallow – featured artist, writer
  • Lily Cooper – featured artist, writer
  • Mabel McVey – featured artist, writer
  • Baba Stiltz – production (track 1)
  • I Am Beats – production (track 2)
  • Peter Jay – production (tracks 3, 11)
  • Jonathan Mensah – production (tracks 4, 12)
  • Pahuldip Singh Sandhu – production (track 5)
  • Fred Gibson – production (track 6)
  • Phantom – production (track 7)
  • Chopstix – production (track 8)
  • Eric Isaac Utere – production (track 9)
  • Juls – production (track 10)
  • FTSE – production (track 13)


Chart (2018) Peak
US Reggae Albums (Billboard)[39] 3

Release historyEdit

Digital platform Date Format Version Label
iTunes January 26, 2018 CD, Digital download Standard


  1. ^ a b "Black Boy: Burna Boy Was Inspired by Truths on his "Outside" Album". BellaNaija. 10 February 2018. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  2. ^ a b Osareme Edeoghon (13 February 2018). "Burna Boy soars on Outside". Music in Africa. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  3. ^ a b c Wilfred Okichie (20 August 2018). "Album Review: Outside- Burna Boy". Archived from the original on 20 August 2018. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d e Lobenfeld, Claire (2 February 2018). "Burna Boy Outside". Pitchfork. Retrieved 17 March 2019.
  5. ^ a b Hattie Collins (26 January 2018). "burna boy talks us through his j hus-featuring mixtape, track-by-track". Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  6. ^ a b "ALBUM REVIEW: 'OUTSIDE' - Burna Boy is a jerk, who is also a Genius". Medium. 5 February 2018. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  7. ^ Ehis Ohunyon (12 December 2018). "Pulse List 2018: Top 10 Nigerian albums". Pulse Nigeria. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  8. ^ Atayero, Adeoluwa (7 December 2018). "Ranking The 10 Best Albums Of 2018". Nigerian Entertainment Today. Retrieved 17 January 2019.
  9. ^ Ohunyon, Ehis (19 November 2019). "Davido, Tiwa Savage and Burna Boy win at 2018 Nigerian Entertainment Awards [See full list". Pulse Nigeria. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  10. ^ Praise, Billy (7 February 2018). "Burna Boy's "Outside" Album Debuts On Billboard's Reggae Chart". Guardian Life. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  11. ^ a b c Okpala, Victor (31 January 2018). "REVIEW: The "OUTSIDE" Mixtape Is An Expository Ride Through The Unapologetic INSIDE Of Burna Boy". Nigeria Entertainment Today. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  12. ^ "BURNA BOY HOLDS LISTENING PARTY IN LAGOS FOR "OUTSIDE" ALBUM". MTV Base. 22 January 2018. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  13. ^ Billy Praise (21 January 2018). "Burna Boy's "Outside" Album Is Here". Guardian Life. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  14. ^ a b c d Akande, Segun (26 January 2018). "Burna Boy and Damini Ogulu are the same person on "Outside" Album". Pulse Nigeria. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  15. ^ a b c Donnett, Jim (7 February 2018). "This Is The Original Sounds From The Other Side! – Burna Boy "Outside" Album Review". TooXclusive. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  16. ^ a b c Kaunda, Mayuyuka (8 February 2018). "Burna Boy Confirms His Genre-Straddling Genius In His New Album 'Outside'". OkayAfrica. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  17. ^ a b c "Album Review: Burna Boy – Outside". One Tribe Magazine. 5 April 2018. Retrieved 18 March 2019.
  18. ^ Jay Tijani (31 January 2018). "WPGM Recommends: Burna Boy – Outside (Album Review)". We Plug Good Music. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  19. ^ Marcus Brown (April 28, 2017). "Burna Boy – Rock Your Body (Prod. By Juls)". TooXclusive. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  20. ^ a b Segun Akande (29 November 2017). "The visuals for "Rock Your Body" are finally here". Pulse Nigeria. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  21. ^ Daniel Orubo. "Burna Boy Drops Dark, Eerie Music Video For 'Rock Your Body'". Konbini. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  22. ^ "New Music: Burna Boy – Streets of Africa". BellaNaija. November 24, 2017. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  23. ^ a b Daniel Orubo. "Burna Boy's 'Streets Of Africa' Is The Best Thing He's Done All Year". Konbini. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  24. ^ Marcus Brown (December 8, 2017). "Burna Boy – Koni Baje [New Song]". TooXclusive. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  25. ^ a b "BURNA BOY DROPS "KONI BAJE", A SPIRITUAL NEW SINGLE FOR THE CLOSING YEAR". The Native Magazine. December 9, 2017. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  26. ^ "Burna Boy and J Hus Link Up For This New Banger, 'Sekkle Down'". OkayAfrica. December 11, 2017. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  27. ^ a b Dandridge-Lemco, Ben (December 11, 2017). "Burna Boy connects with J Hus on "Sekkle Down"". The Fader. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  28. ^ a b Bere Wangge (January 24, 2018). "burna boy goes the extra mile in 'heaven's gate'". Globetrotter. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  29. ^ Jordan Darville (January 19, 2018). "Burna Boy shares video for "Heaven's Gate" featuring Lily Allen". The Fader. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  30. ^ Tosten Burks (January 19, 2018). "Video: Burna Boy – "Heaven's Gate" ft. Lily Allen". Spin. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  31. ^ a b c "WHY BURNA BOY'S "YE" IS THE MODERN DAY NATIONAL ANTHEM WE TRULY DESERVE". The Native Magazine. October 1, 2018. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  32. ^ Durosomo, Damola (December 13, 2018). "Burna Boy Won 2018". OkayAfrica. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  33. ^ Wandera Hussein (4 June 2018). "Kanye's album title is accidentally leading fans to Burna Boy's "Ye". The Fader. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  34. ^ Myles Tanzer (6 August 2018). "Burna Boy's "Ye" video is an aspirational dream". The Fader. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  35. ^ "Full list of winners at the 2019 SOUNDCITY MVP awards". Premium Times. January 6, 2019. Retrieved 31 March 2019.
  36. ^ Galil, Leor (31 May 2018). "REPRINTS Share Nigerian Afrobeat star Burna Boy captures the sound of now on Outside". Chicago Reader. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  37. ^ Mutsinzi Eric (9 January 2018). "Outside — Burna Boy's remarkable third studio album". Mellowviews. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  38. ^ "#CPMA2018: CITY PEOPLE MUSIC AWARDS NOMINEES' LIST OUT". City People. October 17, 2018. Retrieved 18 April 2019.
  39. ^ "Burna Boy Chart History (Reggae Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved 30 March 2019.