Music

Album Review: The Marksmen – The King Meets The President In Africa

by Couch Sessions

Download: The Kings Meets The President in Africa

Two of the most important musical figures EVER, Michael Jackson and Fela Kuti, get a chance to jam together and show us who’s really the funkiest mofo in heaven on The King Meets The President In Africa.

The songs are a showcase of Michael’s masterful voice over Fela’s flawless, Afrobeat productions. “Human Nature/I No Get Eye For Back” and “I Want You Back/Water Got No Enemy” are the standout tracks for me. On the former, Fela’s funktastic horns seem to be harmonizing with Michael’s voice, and on the latter, Fela’s music highlights the rawness of Michael’s voice as a youngster, and provides a jazzy blue-hued backdrop that matches the urgency of Michael’s vocals. That two artists of such polar opposites can be as symbiotic as they are on these tracks is a surprise that boggles the mind.

A few of the tracks come across as mash-ups done by over-zealous fans, but for the most part, the album’s core concept works wonderfully. What is really amazing about this project is that most of Fela’s prolific catalog was constructed in the 70’s, and Michael’s music spans three decades (!!!!!), but these new mixes sound modern and fresh, and would fit in comfortably at any dancefloor, cookout, or lounge scene.

The Marksmen are to be commended for having the ears, guts, balls, and patience to produce a project of this magnitude. In the wrong hands, this could have been a disaster, but this mighty production team put their all into making sure that Fela’s music was a compliment to Michael’s, and vice versa.

Michael and Fela were as different as night and day, but they both had the same goal: to speak out against injustice and in the process, make you dance, to which they both greatly succeeded. The circumstances behind both of their deaths are about as tragic as it gets (Michael from an accidental drug overdose, and Fela died from AIDS), but never has the brilliance and genius of both their legacies been diminished because of it. It is comforting to know that when we pass away from this life, our souls will forever be dancing to the stately grooves of the King and the President.

Tracklist:

  1. Remember The Time (Roforofo Remix)
  2. Billie Jean Is Shakara
  3. Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough
  4. Human Nature vs I No Get Eye For Back
  5. Zombie Thriller
  6. Earth Song vs Sorrow Tears & Blood
  7. Beat I.T.T.I Want You Back vs Water No Get Enemy
  8. A.B.C. – African Beat Class (African Rhythms)
  9. Rock With You (Afro Brazillian Mix)