Published Jan 31, 2019Racking up upwards of 4M views on his music videos on YouTube, Northside Jane rapper Burna Bandz is the latest artist from Toronto's UpTop Movement to release an album, and it comes in the form of the 11-track album, Compact Burna.
From an aesthetic standpoint, Compact Burna's cover art — a boxed image of a gun and a clip — reflects exactly what you're going to get from this album: recollections of living in an underserved community and an overwhelming sense of invincibility. Though conceptually there aren't any surprises hidden in the album, there is a cohesive identity that emerges, as Burna Bandz travels from motivational anthems like "BeastMode" or the money-focused "Buy" to the all-encompassing "Flash Gordon."
Production-wise, Compact Burna trails between overly simplistic production and booming bass lines, often serving as a guiding light to Burna's melodic and tone-driven delivery instead of taking centre stage.
Keeping in line with the UpTown Movement artist roster, Burna Bandz calls on frequent collaborators Tall Up Twinz for the less enthused "Hooligans" and Houdini for both "Cardiac" and the aforementioned "Flash Gordon," both of which present a rising energy to the album.
By comparison, "Get It Den Go" and "Water," which work in unison as a call-and-response duo, offer a unique approach to the way the album is set up. Despite being one of the shortest songs on the album, "Water" also allows a nuanced Burna Bandz to highlight his lyrical prowess and a new dimension to his music that fails to hit on a song like "Play It Like a G" or "Gold Tips."
Though Burna Bandz hits a few road blocks from a creative standpoint throughout the 14-track album, he still manages to land himself a spot as an artist to watch out for going forward. (Independent)