News Brief

Fela Kuti’s 'Zombie' is One of Jay Z’s "Songs For Survival"

Jay Z selects Fela Kuti's 1976 anti-military protest anthem "Zombie" for a new playlist highlighting social injustice in America.

“Zombie” is not simply Fela Kuti’s best known song. The 1976 protest anthem is a scathing attack on the Nigerian military that uses zombies as a metaphor for soldiers mindleslly following orders. The song triggered the Nigerian government’s horrific assault on the Kalakuta Republic on 18 February, 1977, in which the compound burned to the ground, Fela was brutally beaten and his mother, Nigerian feminist icon Funmilayo Ransome Kuti, was tragically thrown from an upstairs window.


Fela’s lyrics carry a haunting relevance in 2016 America. And today, the song features alongside a selection of music dealing with contemporary issues of "social injustice" curated by Jay Z. Titled “Songs For Survival,” the two-hour playlist for Tidal includes songs by Marvin Gaye, Nina Simone, Kendrick Lamar, Gil Scott-Heron, Common, Yasiin Bey, OutKast, Kanye West and more.

Listen below. For more "Zombie," revisit Fela Flex on Okayafrica TV.

Interview

Interview: Adekunle Gold Channels Refreshing Truths Into Afropop

Adekunle Gold achieves an artistic freedom that most mainstream artists don't have through a smooth balance of introspection and club bangers.

A few years ago, Adekunle Gold broke out into the scene with a refreshing way of carrying himself, presenting his art and speaking his truth with music. His debut single "Sade" started this journey of chart topping releases, sold out shows, and the constantly evolving sound that graces African airwaves. Gold's self assurance made him stand out from the very beginning, as his sound was delivered with intent, compassion, and stuffed with personal truths.

Not many artists are willing to try new things with their music, and in order to maintain mainstream success, some cling to one sound, one image and direction often crafted from fragments of their first hit. These artists get stuck trying to recreate a capsule in time, while true artists are open to the dynamic of change, and the necessity of renewal.

Adekunle Gold is one of a handful in his profession who draws on a spectrum of experiences to make honest music which is consistent with the self-revelations of a growing man. This has become his biggest strength, allowing him to craft contemplative songs like "Sade" and "Oreke" and still create afropop magic like "Something Different"

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