Audio: Femi Kuti ft. Eyezon & Dr. Cornel West “Sorry Sorry 4 Africa”

While Femi Kuti’s original “Sorry Sorry” is indeed an inspired song, you’ve got to give credit to Eyezon, who hails from Jo'burg SA, for producing an incredible remix. It’s hard to improve on Kuti’s genius, but when you add a rapper of Eyezon’s calibre and Dr. Cornel West's kicking knowledge, you know you’re on sound footing.

If ever there was a track that represented the indelible spirits of Black people, it would be this one. Lyrically it dwells on the morose. The words touch on everything from poverty, to colonization, and ultimately on the untenable corruption of many modern day African states. But man,  the music doesn’t let you feel beaten down, even for a moment. The din of Femi Kuti’s illustrious afrobeat hits with all of its usual potency. The drums are brisk and the horns feel downright redemptive. Even the cadence of the vocals contrast with the words being spoken. Eyezon’s flow is defiant and Dr. West’s usual spoken-word style intonations come across as a call to arms.

These three men might feel sorry for Africa, but we should all be thankful for this song.



6 Samples From 'Éthiopiques' in Hip-Hop

A brief history of Ethio-jazz cultural exchange featuring songs by Nas & Damian Marley, K'naan, Madlib and more.

This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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