The difference between those who succeed and those who don’t is that successful people never quit. While Burna Boy has become widely known as one of the biggest Afrobeats artists of our time, the number of his loyal supporters didn’t always match the high level of his talent. However, through committing tirelessly to his craft and releasing projects consistently, the Afro-fusion star was able to carve out his own lane, grow his fanbase and set himself apart in Africa’s music scene. Burna Boy ultimately flipped the cards stacked against him to work in his favor.

“People don’t understand that live performances [are] actually my biggest strength,” the Nigerian native shared in an interview with Amaru Don TV in 2016.

He continued, “And I love the fact that they don’t realize that until they see it because it just gives me more of a chance to blow your mind… That’s one thing no one can take away. That, and undeniable music.”

Indeed, Burna Boy’s hit records are indisputable. The success of 2018’s “Ye” snowballed into more crossover hits including “On the Low” and “Last Last.” In addition, nearly six years after sharing how live performances are his forte, he went on to make history as the first Nigerian artist to headline Madison Square Garden in New York City, according to Rolling Stone.

Not being able to fit into one musical category was initially a barrier for Burna Boy as he looked to gain support in Africa. However, his diverse artistry ultimately became his superpower as he captured music fans across the globe.

As he continues to dominate the industry, let’s look at the albums that have been steppingstones in his music evolution.

7. On a Spaceship

After his debut album, L.I.F.E - Leaving an Impact for Eternity, Burna Boy departed from Aristokrat Records and launched Spaceship Records. On a Spaceship marked the first project under his own record label. Released in 2015, the 20-track album serves as another prime example of his expertise in merging his African music foundations with reggae influence. Once again, the Port Harcourt native collaborated with fellow top Nigerian talent including Wizkid, Wande Coal, Flavour and Phyno.

Its track list features “Soke,” which is one of Burna Boy’s most popular records to date.

6. I Told Them…

The declarative title of I Told Them… was Burna Boy’s message to his critics who remain despite the success he’s reached.

“To this day, there [are] many Nigerians who can [name] an American rapper who just started their career, and they’ll say they’re bigger than Burna Boy,” he told the Los Angeles Times. “They don’t understand it. They’ll say, ‘There’s no way someone who talks like me can even be on the same level as an American artist.’”

While I Told Them… stays true to his musical roots in Afro-fusion, the evidently album pulls from American and Hip Hop influences. As a Wu-Tang Clan fan, Burna Boy infused elements from their music on his 2023 album and worked with RZA and GZA. Dave, J. Cole and 21 Savage also made appearances on the project. Its leading single, “Sittin’ On Top Of The World,” led Burna Boy to perform with 21 Savage and Brandy at the 66th Annual Grammy Awards. The performance was historic because he became the first African artist to hit the Grammys main stage, per USA TODAY.

5. L.I.F.E - Leaving an Impact for Eternity

The title of Burna Boy’s debut studio album spelling out the acronym “leaving an impact for eternity” foreshadowed his career trajectory. It’s a known fact that Benson Idonije, the singer-songwriter's grandfather, was a manager for Afrobeat musician Fela Kuti. On L.I.F.E, Burna Boy leaned heavily into the inspiration he drew from the music legend and Afrobeat pioneer. Along with Kuti, King Sunny Adé also inspired the making of this album. Through mixing afrobeat, reggae and fuji music on his very first album, Burna Boy introduced the world to his afro-fusion music.

L.I.F.E features some of the biggest Nigerian artists: 2baba, Wizkid, Olamide, M.I Abaga and Timaya. Singles such as “Like to Party,” “Tonight” and “#Yawadey” are still some of day one Burna Boy fans’ favorite songs.

4. Love, Damini

During his Madison Square Garden concert in April 2022, Burna Boy not only performed “Last Last” for the first time, but announced his album Love, Damini. That moment of the sold-out show was the catalyst for what was to come from the highly anticipated album. After all of the accolades that Twice as Tall and African Giant pulled in, Love, Damini achieved its own level of success. “Last Last” was a smash hit and became RIAA-certified platinum in the United States. Moreover, the record, which was released on his birthday, reached No. 44 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Musically, Love, Damini is arguably one of his most diverse albums considering its blend of genres. He offers his listeners mainstream pop with features like Ed Sheeran and Khalid, Latin pop with J Balvin, Hip Hop with J Hus, R&B with Kehlani, dancehall with Popcaan and Afrobeats with Victony.

3. Outside

Shortly before Outside, which was released in 2018, Burna Boy signed to Atlantic Records. The third studio album easily became the springboard for his career as its last single, “Ye,” prompted his crossover.

Heavily influenced by dancehall and Afrobeats, this album perfectly depicts the boisterous demeanor and confidence that Burna Boy has brought to the industry from his debut. Its themes include showing love to his home of Port Harcourt, standing tall in African pride and celebrating life to the fullest. Outside features production from JAE5, P2J, Juls, Chopstix, Leriq and more.

2. Twice As Tall

After not snagging the Grammy for African Giant, Burna Boy came in swinging for Twice As Tall. The album was recorded during the COVID-19 pandemic with production from Timbaland, JAE5, Rexxie and more. In addition, the album’s lineup featured both old-school and new-school features: Naughty By Nature, Stormzy, Chris Martin, Youssou N’Dour and Sauti Sol.

According to Burna Boy, one of the main intentions behind Twice As Tall was to serve as a step on the path of his vision “for a bridge to be built between every Black person in every continent of the world,” he explained to TIDAL Check In. Following the project’s release, he took home his first-ever Grammy for Best Global Music Album in 2021.

“This is a big win for my generation of Africans all over the world,” Burna Boy shared during his Grammy-winning speech. “And this should be a lesson to every African out there. No matter where you are, no matter what you plan to do, you can achieve it.”

1. African Giant

The superstar’s fourth studio album stamped him as the African Giant — obviously. Released in 2019, the 19-track project touched on topics ranging from the suffering in Nigeria and its colonial history to desiring love. Combining political messages and certified party anthems, Burna Boy tastefully put together a cohesive body of work that has a little bit of something for everyone. He gave listeners a look into all sides of him as an artist — whether it’s calling out corruption on “Collateral Damage” or tapping into his loverboy side on “Gum Body” featuring Jorja Smith.

In 2020, Burna Boy received his first Grammy nomination when African Giant was put in the running for Best World Music Album.