In case the other 3% of you don’t know, I am of Nigerian descent (another odd tidbit? I’m actually considered “royalty” out there, thanks to my mother’s grandfather being a high-ranking chief of his village). I actually did not discover rap until my elementary/junior high years, when my oldest sister dubbed a copy of Ready To Die by The Notorious B.I.G. and The Score by The Fugees. Prior to that, I was largely exposed to the sounds of Afrobeat and Nigerian folk music via my family (and extended family), and traditional top-40 pop songs courtesy of my sisters.
The best part about growing up listening to songs from Fela? Discovering that, years later, those same songs would provide the backdrops for some of my favorite rap cuts ever.
So I’m going to try something new on Fridays, where I will spotlight a musician or group whose music I was raised on, for the entire month. Like some of the people who frequent the dopehouse, I wasn’t reared on rap when I emerged from the womb and instead was exposed to a variety of eclectic sounds before I even knew what rap was, and that will be reflected every Friday. The first up this month? Only one of the greatest Naija musicians ever, of course.
Well, seeing as how he’s also on that list of injured NBA players, I’m going to assume Joakim will have plenty of free time while he recuperates.
Bulls’ center Joakim Noah grew up listening to Fela Kuti with his tennis star father, Yannick Noah, and his Cameroonian soccer champion grandfather Zacharie Noah. Above, Joakim talks about Fela’s audacity to speak the truth on behalf of his people, Tupac as a new generation’s Fela, the importance of knowing one’s roots, and how Obama sonned him. – OKA
By the way, Fela Kuti > your favorite ignorant rapper.
?uestlove from The Roots talks about when he first discovered Fela Kuti’s music, and walks us through Fela’s influence in yesterday and today’s hip-hop — including works by Mos Def, Macy Grey, D’Angelo, X-Clan, and Leader of the New School.
I managed to catch a preview screening of this play before is debut on Broadyway November 23rd, and by far it’s the best highlight for me since I moved out East back in July. While it was a condensed form of Fela’s life and to me was missing a few things (primarily the impact Fela would have on his son Femi and his music lives on through him, and the all-to-brief story on Fela’s trip to the States), from the music to the casting to the choreography, there was never a moment in those three hours I watched this play where I was bored.
What does this have to do with hip hop? Well, aside from Pete Rock sampling Fela’s “Water Get No Enemy” for the InI’s “Grown Man Sport,” this play is also produced by Jay-Z, Will & Jada Pinkett Smith, The Root’s ?uestlove and many more people. Needless to say, more people should get off their hip hop horse and enjoy live music and alternative sounds more often.
J.Period are K’naan are teaming up for this project called The Messengers, a new mixtape paying tribute to 3 legendary musical leaders: Fela Kuti, Bob Marley & Bob Dylan. Check out three of the tracks, as well as the full cover art, under the cut.
I for one can’t stand mash ups anymore, but the reason this gets shine is because someone mixed up Fela Kuti – who’s a fucking god in my home land – and that’s something I’ve never seen before. Props to Daniel. R.I.P. to Lucky Dube, while we’re at it.