Burna Boy has become the first international Afrobeats artist to secure a number one album in Britain with “I Told Them…”, the UK’s Official Charts Company said on Friday.
With his fifth full-length release, the 32-year-old, also known as Damini Ebunoluwa Ogulu, rocketed to the top of the British charts.
He came close to winning the award with last year’s “Love, Damini,” which peaked at number two in the UK album charts.
Homegrown British Afrobeats artists like J Hus have achieved chart-topping success, but Burna Boy is the first foreign artist to do so.
The achievement highlights the continuous expansion of the Afrobeats genre in the United Kingdom and around the world, as performers such as Wizkid and Davido achieve mainstream success and progressively shape aspects of popular culture.
Martin Talbot, chief executive of the Official Charts Company, paid tribute to Burna Boy for “blazing the trail” and landing a “fantastic achievement”.
“British music fans have always been renowned for their love of new music and embracing cultures from around the world, and the explosion of interest in Afrobeats’ musical culture over the past decade has been a concrete example of this,” he said.
Western audiences have been enjoying the Afrobeats sound since 2016, owing to the smash “One Dance” by Canadian singer Drake and Wizkid.
The song exploded in popularity, becoming the most-played song of all time on Spotify, with over one billion streams.
Ghanaian singers are emerging to take their place in the worldwide spotlight alongside Nigerian giants like Burna Boy and Wizkid, who have millions of social media followers.
Gyakie and Joey B have hundreds of thousands of Instagram followers, and KiDi, Sarkodie, and Shatta Wale — who had success with a 2020 hit with Beyonce and Major Lazer — are also rising in popularity.