It’s impossible to separate Femi Kuti’s new album, “Africa for Africa,” from politics and his father. The African jazz legend Fela Kuti and the force by which he stood up to corruption in the Nigerian government run deep through the vein’s of his son, Femi Kuti. The rhythm, though modernized, and the political messages of “Africa for Africa” convey the life of a struggle that did not die when Fela did.
I imagine that it’s never easy to walk in the shadow of a titan, but when musical figure’s like Fela Kuti come around, it is not so difficult to understand how important a role that can be for his son, Femi.
I believe that to properly review Femi Kuti, this framework must be applied. Because, when it comes to the “Africa for Africa,” the similarities are as apparent as the differences. The album is interlaced with traditional Afro-beat horns and drums, but also laden with hooks and dance-infused melodies. Femi’s vocals sometimes expand into a punk rock tone and the lyrics are consistently political in nature. The work is commemorable, as both a marker in the lineage of Afro-beat music and as a unique and adapted composition. But, I can always get down on some Fela. I guess that’s just the nature of the game.
The album is out now, you can preview it here.