Burna Boy performed at the Grammy Awards for the first time, with his representatives noting he is the first Afro-fusion artiste to do so in a press release distributed prior to Grammy night.
Though Burna is largely associated with the more widely known genre of Afrobeats — which itself is often a fusion of genres such as highlife, hip-hop, R&B, and more — he has long attempted to differentiate himself by referring to his own music as Afro-fusion. Other artistes like Ghanaian singer Amaarae, have categorized their music as Afro-fusion as well.
Trevor Noah, the South African host of the night, joked before fellow African Burna Boy took the stage.
“You know people say Afrobeats is new and personally growing up in South Africa, I would get Afrobeats all the time for my mom every time I came home past my curfew,” he chided before welcoming the Grammy winning sensation from Nigeria.
In his performance, Burna Boy brought out energetic dancers and a backing band decked all out in green, a seeming nod to the Nigerian flag. Sporting a red rhinestone-adorned quilted jacket with matching gray pants and a snapback, Burna was all smiles and swagger as he brought his culture to the Grammys stage.
Burna moved to the more modern song “City Boys” before dazzling the audience with “Sittin’ On Top of the World” and bringing out Brandi, whose 1998 hit “Top of the World” with Ma$e is sampled in the song.
The singer, who hasn’t grace the stage since the Nineties, delivered smooth vocals in a black trench coat and large clear glasses, complete with stunning scarlet boots to mark that she and Burna are indeed on top of the world.
21 Savage, who was featured in the remix of “Sittin’ On Top of the World” with Burna Boy, came out in an all-red fit to rap his verse. The onstage collaboration marks 21 Savage’s Grammy performance debut.