Femi Kuti

Fight to Win

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With 2000's Shoki Shoki, Femi Kuti fully stepped out of the shadow of his late father, Fela Kuti. With this record he begins casting his own shadow. Still Afro-beat, it brings in artists like Mos Def and Common to align itself with hip-hop. The musical pace is less frenetic, but the mood remains as intense as it's always been, as one listens to the scorching "Traitors of Africa" or "Eko Lagos" shows. Kuti has matured, and with that he can reveal more of himself, like the debt to his mother shown on "Walk on the Right Side" or the very personal "'97," which commemorates the three deaths the family suffered that year. Kuti's band, the Positive Force, is tighter than ever, and able to play with more varied colors in its arrangements, allowing instrumentals in addition to some blowing, often from Kuti himself. Like his father or Bob Marley, Kuti has become the voice of the common man, not only in Africa but everywhere, concerned with justice, both personal and political. Varied, accomplished, with Fight to Win Kuti has made his first great album.

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