Evaluate: ‘Legacy+’ turns Afrobeat full circle


“If authorities no match do their job (PA PA PA!), Make them commot there,” is the refrain to the primary monitor on the joint album between father and son Femi and Made Kuti, son and grandson of the late legendary Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti. Pà Pá Pà units the tone for the Legacy+ album, which continues the Kuti legacy of utilizing music as political and social commentary. 

Femi Kuti, son of the late Fela Anikulapo Kuti, along with his son, Made, performs in the course of the grand finale of 2018 Felabration that marked the 80th birthday of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, the late Afro King, on the New African Shrine, Agidingbi, Lagos, on October 22, 2018. (Picture by Adekunle Ajayi/NurPhoto)

Femi’s first half of the album is titled after the third monitor, Stop the Hate, and on that track and subsequent ones like Land Seize and Privatisation, he criticises authorities insurance policies that proceed to drawback and impoverish the plenty, whereas enriching the political elite.

But as he sings in As We Battle On a regular basis, Nigerians proceed to recycle the identical horrible leaders as a substitute of holding them to account — “see these leaders wey suppose jail, na him my folks don dey hail.”

The 10th and ultimate monitor on Femi’s facet of the album, Set Your Minds and Soul Free, encourages emancipation from any type of management, be it from corrupt leaders or non secular fanatics, paving means for Made’s facet of the album, his debut For(e)ward, which begins with the jazzy tune Free Your Mind, with the identical admonition. 

Subsequent is Your Enemy, a track rallying towards police brutality that additionally tries to grasp why the police “are the way in which they’re”, pointing listeners to the true enemy: the federal government.

On Totally different Avenue, Made is reflective on a monologue acknowledging that the Kutis have come full circle with this album: at 25, he’s singing about the identical issues his grand-father sang about many years in the past. Fela disapproved of the state of issues below repressive navy regimes. 

And though Nigeria is a democracy now, it’s the similar Muhammadu Buhari, who locked up Fela over trumped-up costs in 1984, who’s now ruling the nation once more — and with the identical despotism. Sadly, it appears nothing has modified.

Made closes the album on an optimistic word with We’re Sturdy, echoing his father’s sentiments in Younger Boy/Younger Woman, charging the youth to motion and expressing perception in higher occasions for the nation, whereas hoping the trail to revolution doesn’t contain anarchy.

Legacy+ stays true to the Afrobeat sound in its protest and criticism of presidency ineptitude. It’s tempting to see the album as a response to the #EndSars motion however in actuality, manufacturing started lengthy earlier than the October protests.

Regardless of the album’s significance to Nigeria’s present sociopolitical local weather, its songs might by no means obtain mainstream reputation — music that doesn’t sound like Wizkid’s and Davido’s is taken into account too esoteric — however it is going to absolutely discover a house within the ears of Nigerians who’ve lengthy agitated for songs with a conscience.