The Deal: "Reigning King of Afrobeat," son of Fela, releases first studio album in seven years.
The Good: Afro-beat's closest sonic relative may be reggae, but on Kuti's latest release, he does what he can to infuse a jazz influence and bring the music to its Nigerian roots. His 17-piece band may be in full-force, but Kuti spent some of his time off from recording learning to play piano and reintroducing himself to the trumpet. Themes of peace flow throughout the disc's 12 tracks. The album is definitely music with a message, but the influence is as much on the music. There's plenty of instrumentation on the seven-and-a-half minute "Demo Crazy." A mostly instrumental track, "Do You Know," calls out a number of jazz greats, Billie Holiday and Miles Davis among them.
The Bad: Sad that even Kuti is continuing the proliferation of the Auto-tone/vocoder, which can be heard on "One Two." Luckily, he doesn't go "all T-Pain on the album" and only introduces hints of it.
The Verdict: An album with an incredible beat that is sure to get at least one foot tapping, if not get your entire body moving. Femi has filled his father's shoes nicely.