Video

Why Nigeria and the US Are Both Corrupt: Seun Kuti Explains

[embed width=620][/embed]


While the Fela Kuti musical is in its last weeks on Broadway (BTW, you're NUTS if you haven't gone to see it. Use this discount code at checkout for srsly cheap tix: FEKNF77), his son Seun Kuti, currently on tour, takes up his father's political charge. Watch above (and see below) as Seun points out how Nigeria's rulers and our Wall Street-influenced government are not too dissimilar.

They control us with poverty and hunger. That is African control. If you don't have money in your pocket and you're hungry, you have to take some shit from your boss so you do not die. But here in the West they control you with something known as debt...So they give you this credit so you think you got some shit, and you go into the world and you spend this shit, then you realize - you ain't got to shit man! So you got to take some shit from your boss to pay your credit! Same thing, different packaging.

And Baba Ani, who played with Fela from 1965 until his death in 1997 with Egypt 80 and who now plays with Seun, brings the point home: "Whether in Africa or Europe or America, the people should rise up to demands our rights. They should know the rulers for what they are."

Amen, brother.

 

Video Production by Resonant Pictures

Music

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.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.

How Nigerian Streetwear Brand, Daltimore, is Rising To Celebrity Status

We spoke with founder and creative director David Omigie about expression through clothing and that #BBNaija pic.