popular

Exploring Diddy's Obsession With Fela Kuti

Diddy's been posting about his love for Fela all over the internet.

Great men are obsessed with many things; Their money, the power that comes with it, the endless options they possess to alter and improve their human experience, and above all the feeling of invincibility that wealth and power provides.

But they are also obsessed with one more thing, which interests them more than anything else: Other great men. Great men follow each other, congregate in each other's presence, learn from themselves, make each other their business, and above all, consume their products. The same way Diddy is obsessed with Fela's music.

Diddy loves Fela Anikulakpo Kuti. The pioneer of the afrobeat genre, Fela is regarded as the father of modern Nigerian music, due to elements of his art constituting easy raw materials for today's generation of musicians. He was famous for his political activism during the country's era of military dictatorships, and his the expansive themes of his music preached for black pride, black emancipation, and most importantly black excellence.


Diddy is black excellence. A leading member of the Black community, Diddy has spent decades in the music industry, crafting hit records, raising and nurturing stars, improving the sound, and winning at business. According to Forbes, he is worth over $820 million, with his lucrative deal in Diageo's Ciroc, as well as huge stakes in TV network Revolt, and alkaline water brand, Aquahydrate and tequila DeLeon. His work has had him win numerous awards, and he's pushed the culture to millions of people around the world. That's why it matters that such a man would fall in love with Fela Kuti.

The evidence for this is all over the internet. An engaging clip shows him in an exotic location with French Montana, turning up to Fela's "Let's Start." In another video, he joins forces with Joe Budden to rock to "Fear not man," a record released in 1976, during the height of Fela's legendary music career. Also, recall March 2018, where a viral clip hit the internet of Diddy and Naomi Campbell, looking dapper before the 2018 Oscars, pose for photos, while Fela's music provides good vibes and energy.

It's a beautiful site to see for two major reasons. The musical genre afrobeat originated in the 1960s and 1970s as a blend of traditional Yoruba music with jazz, West African highlife and funk. The direction of Fela's music didn't come from a deep understanding of Nigeria. The flames of activism were lit by Sandra Smith Isadore, a woman he fell in love with in the US, during his search for artistic direction as a young creative seeking opportunities for expression. She introduced him to black struggle and guided him as he studied for purpose in his life and art.

During the course of their relationship, Fela was introduced to a number of political and musical viewpoints by Isadore, and those ideas profoundly influenced his musical approach and mission.. Fela became familiar with the political ideas and rhetoric of African-American political and cultural figures such as the Black Panthers, Kwame Toure (Stokely Carmicheal), Angela David, Martin Luther King, Elijah Muhammad, Jessie Jackson, and Malcom X.

"It's crazy; in the States people think the black power movement drew inspiration from Africa. All these Americans come over here looking for awareness. They don't realize they're the one who've got it over there. Why, we were even ashamed to go around in national dress until we saw pictures of blacks wearing dashikis on 125th street," Fela is quoted by Michael Veal, in his book 'Fela: The Life and Times of a Musical Icon.'

So technically, Fela found his true purpose in the USA. He simply returned home to execute, and met oppressive rule by black dictators on black people in his country. Combating that became his primary objective, and that activism still stands as his proud legacy.

Interestingly, many years after his passing, his music continues to inspire many after him. Diddy, celebrates with it at key moments, presumably not solely because of the musical quality, but also due to what the sound represents; freedom, equality, growth, emancipation, and the thriving of black people in all spheres of existence, and wherever they may journey in life.

Joey Akan is an award-winning writer, journalist, critic and podcaster based in Lagos, Nigeria. Follow him on Twitter.

Music

Listen to Solo’s New Single ‘Promises’ Featuring Kwesta

Solo and Kwesta connect on 'Promises.'

Solo and Kwesta share a bouncy kwaito beat on "Promises." Kwesta's at home over an instrumental of this kind. It's, however, a shift on Solo's side, who hasn't been known for new age kwaito. The rapper adapts his delivery accordingly, using fewer words than you'd normally expect in his verse.

Keep reading... Show less
News
"85 to Africa" album art.

Listen to Jidenna's New Album, '85 to Africa'

Plus watch the music video for his latest single "Worth the Weight" featuring Seun Kuti.

It's been two years since Jidenna dropped his debut album, The Chief, today, the artist shares his latest studio album 85 to Africa.

In the lead-up to the album's release, the artist dropped the singles "Tribe," "Sufi Woman" "Sou Sou," and "Zodi" featuring fellow Nigerian artist Mr Eazi. He also held several listening parties across the US ahead of its release, and from what we can tell from videos that have been circulating on social media—they've been a really great time for both Jidenna and his fans.

Keep reading... Show less
Audio

Mr Eazi & Simi Drop the New Single and Video For 'Doyin'

A head-nodding Afro-R&B track produced by Killertunes.

Mr Eazi seems to be in unstoppable work mode right now as he's been popping up in big singles and collaborations all over the place this summer, as well as continuing his emPawa Africa initiative.

For his latest single, "Doyin," Eazi connects with Nigerian singer Simi for a head-nodding Afro-RnB track. The new song, which is built on woozy synthesizers and mid-tempo beat work, was produced by Killertunes. Eazi and Simi trade verses in the addictive single, which comes paired with a new music video directed by Manuel Concha.

Read: The Music Business of Mr Eazi

"Doyin" is the first song released through emPawa Distribution, a digital music aggregator focused solely on distributing African music, which Eazi announced after the success of emPawa Africa. Speaking of the initiative, emPawa Africa is now reopened to submissions that will help fund the music videos of 30 up-and-coming artists and offer mentorship from big name artists.

Keep reading... Show less
Music

Listen to Rick Jade (Bontle Modiselle and Priddy Ugly)’s Album ‘D.N.A (Da New Africa)’

Rick Jade release their debut album.

Bontle Modiselle and Priddy Ugly, collectively known as Rick Jade, aren't half-stepping. Today, the couple released their debut album D.N.A (Da New Africa).

D.N.A consists of 10 songs that dabble in pop, trap and even kwaito. Guest features on D.N.A include Forcalistic, KLY and some members of the collective Frsh Citizen, which Bontle and Priddy are part of.

In his previous projects, Priddy Ugly had some moments of showing emotion and sharing intimate details of his life. But on D.N.A, he explores that side of himself further.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

news.

popular.