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burna, baby,

Photographs by Ruth Ginika Ossai
Styled by Jessica Skeete-Cross
Set Design by Ruth Ossai Studio: Luke Kene and Timisola Shasanya

The Grammy-winning king of Afro-fusion has everyone from P Diddy to Chris Martin on speed dial, but Burna Boy counts London as his second home after his native Nigeria. Tobi Oke gets inside his unique philosophy on life, music and some very unusual retirement plans…

Finally: Burna Boy is in the building. A mere three hours late, he strides on to today’s Tottenham set trailed by an entourage of friends, sister, assistants, videographer, a barber who travels everywhere with him and… well, they are 15 in total, and we haven’t got all day.

Suffice to say, this is not a man who naturally goes unnoticed. As he settles topless into a director’s chair and that barber — now wearing a head torch — gets to work, he has a tightly rolled spliff in one hand, holding out his arm as assistants come running, draping him in one diamond watch after another. He says nothing: small gestures or glances being enough to communicate with all who surround him. Said surrounding entourage are equally at ease — hooking up their phones to the booming speakers and lighting up their own joints, dancing in the kitchen as they tuck into local favourite Chuku’s finest jollof rice.

It seems abundantly clear that wherever Burna Boy goes, the party is sure to follow. Bright patterned backdrops inspired by the 30-year-old’s native Nigeria hang around the studio, and looks ranging from wipe-clean silver Louis Vuitton coats to inflatable PVC gilets are ready to try on. ‘I feel like a rock star, I feel like Lenny Kravitz!’ he beams, donning a flame-decorated white denim two-piece, diamond grills blazing. ‘Let’s go!’
And go it does, long into the evening…

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GUCCI coat, £8,610. CASABLANCA knit top, £740. LOUIS VUITTON trousers, £1,100. CHRISTIAN LOUBOUTIN shoes, £890. Sunglasses, watch and jewellery, Burna Boy’s own
DIOR jacket, £3,400; trousers, £1,100. CHRISTIAN LOUBOUTIN boots, £1,285.
Jewellery and belt, Burna Boy’s own
JORDANLUCA coat, £1,890. MONAD coat, £1,950. Jewellery, Burna Boy’s own
FENDI shirt, £930. Jewellery, Burna Boy’s own
MAXIMILIAN jacket, £595; trousers, £450. JOHN LAWRENCE SULLIVAN boots, £1,090. Jewellery and sunglasses, Burna’s own