NPR logo Video of the Day: Femi Kuti Doing His Best

Video of the Day: Femi Kuti Doing His Best

On today's show, Nigerian musician Femi Kuti talked with Farai about his music; the legacy of his father, Fela; and his enduring love for Africa.

So today's clip comes from one of Kuti's concert stops last year in Clearwater, Fla. He performs his song, "Do Your Best."

Have you ever seen him perform live? What's your favorite Femi Kuti song?



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News & Notes:

The interview with Afrobeat artist, Femi Kuti, was enlightening and interesting.

But, you got something entirely wrong. The "News & Notes" website describes Kuti's music as a mixture of "Afrobeat with modern soul and hip-hop."

"Hip-hop" is easily the most over-used adjective used to describe the fixtures found in today's popular culture. "Hip-hop" and even "Soul" are not accurate descriptions of Kuti's music. Indeed, in addition to Afrobeats, Kuti's music is more akin to a Roots music (Reggae) sound. Kuti is more similar to Michael "Ibo" Cooper, original lead singer of the group--Third World; Peter Tosh, Dennis Brown [insert your favorite, Reggae great, here]. Kuti's music is heavy on politically and socially-based lyrics and a potent brass baseline. "Hip-hop" it is not.

Please, let's stop calling everything from apple-butter to peanut-butter: "Hip-hop"?!

Sent by Marcus | 6:34 PM | 7-30-2007

I've seen videos of his live shows, but never in person. Favorite song? Two favorites are "Beng Beng Beng" and "Look Around"

Sent by Oshun | 4:28 PM | 7-31-2007

My parents were fans of his father's (Fela Kuti) music. I never heard of his musician son till I heard the segment. But I found the segment to be enlightening.

To Marcus:

I know what we hear today of Hip-hop leaves something to be desired but Hip-hop started with fun and "politically and socially-based lyrics." Groups like Public Enemy had a lot to say about social issues and current rappers like Common and Mos-Def (to name a few) bring something different to the table.

Sent by Moji | 5:14 PM | 7-31-2007

A brilliant performance on the saxophone by Femi as usual.
In response to Marcus's comment:
Some of Femi's tracks have a root reggae influence; however the greatest influences in his sound come from the heavy percussions of Africa (Yoruba folk music in particular), the black jazz sound of yester-years from the New Orleans area and elements modern hip-hop. If you truly want to be enligtened about Femi's style of Afrobeat you would do well to listen to more of his music.


Sent by Ayo | 1:34 PM | 8-10-2007