On February 12, 2021, Grammy-nominated Nigerian legend and performer, Femi Kuti collaborated with his son, Made Kuti for their collaborative album, ‘Legacy+.’
Legacy+ is double album; Femi Kuti’s 10th studio album Stop The Hate occupies the opening 10 songs while Made Kuti’s debut album, For(e)ward occupies the final eight tracks. During a 2019 interview, Made told Pulse that his father required ample time and convincing before he could join Femi’s band.
When the time was right, Femi gave Made a bunch of CDs to master and understand, just two weeks before a tour date. A few years later, they are on a collaborative album; Made must have done something right.
Femi tells Bandcamp that, “To release this album together… I could not have wished for more. If people feel the bonding it might inspire them as well. I think it shows love.”
‘Stop The Hate’ is a riveting piece of political commentary. Largely, Femi Kuti wasn’t about the beauty of his delivery or cadences. This was an album about one thing; the message. Now a legend, Femi has nothing to prove. He is accomplished as a socio-political commentator and critic who never tires of holding the government accountable.
Throughout his career, he has made socio-political music, criticized African governments, sympathized with citizens on ‘Sorry Sorry,’ urged a mad revolt by the citizens and referred to politicians ‘Evil People.’ This album isn’t like any real effort to make music, it instead sounds like catharsis and a contribution to an ongoing conversation towards real change.
Nonetheless, the fatigue is evident in his tone and disposition. On the opening track, he urged for a removal of men in power ‘Pa Pa Pa.’ In Yoruba, ‘Pa Pa Pa’ is an onomatopoeia for ‘quickly.’ Femi is tired of highlighting the problems, he instead craves a solution.
With tracks like ‘Na Bigmanism Spoil Government’ and ‘You Can’t Fight Corruption With Corruption,’ he makes bold statements, clear in their messaging and purpose. He addresses the root of bad governance and the problem with critics of bad governance. He also delivers another clear take on the governmental corruption behind ‘Privatisation.’
He then completed the album by charging young people on ‘Young Girl/Young Boy’ to take their chance in government. However, he also delivers a caveat, “But you gotta be wise…”
This isn’t just an album that critiques or highlights problems, it offers solutions and pinpoints root causes of fundamental problems.
On the other hand, Made Kuti’s album is a different brand of socio-political commentary which some could deem insightful yet triggering. He tries to explain and appraise problems by painting vivid pictures. It seems Made wants people to stop complaining, but instead understand problems.
While Femi takes aim at governance, politics and the political elite, Made attacks interpersonal societal issues that fester and become bigger problems. Some of these issues are also symptoms of bad governance and the systemic rot that we confront.
The nature of his content makes Made warn his listeners on his opening track, “Free your mind and set your soul free…”
The risque content then begins on ‘Your Enemy,’ a riveting Afrobeat record with a Rock percussion. Made addresses police brutality and EndSARS issues from another angle. While he admits the unfairness of police brutality, he sees police brutality as a symptom of the larger issue of bad governance.
ALSO READ: Made Kuti visits Pulse [Interview]
He places brutality at the feet of maltreatment of members of the Nigerian Police Force. While his thoughts have merit, they are not sine qua non. As much as bad maltreatment is one cause, greed and the human tendency to abuse power without checks and balances are also reasons behind police brutality and EndSARS.
While he admits the multiethnic tendency/diversity of a city like Lagos on ‘Different Streets,’ he uses ‘Blood’ to address the baseless fights between Nigerian electorate, instead of fighting the government. To Made, we shouldn’t be shedding blood, blood should unify us.
On ‘Different Streets,’ which is sonically the best song on Made’s album, he also clarifies that Fela was not a soothsayer, but a man who merely documented his own reality. Made then urged Nigerians to unite and fight the problem that confronts us. He says, ‘We Are Strong.’
Made also addresses sexual harassment, sexual impropriety and sexual exploitation of women on ‘Young Lady.’ He also urges society to have some sympathy for the struggles of women in our society. This song is by far, Made’s most lyrically accomplished on ‘For(e)ward.’
As regards sequencing, this album might not have the best flow, but it’s another accomplished show of musicianship - as you would expect from a coalition of the Kutis on a ‘Legacy’ project.. Particularly, Made experimented with different genres in fusion with Afrobeats - even ‘Young Lady’ was more avant-garde Afrobeat.
This album is more about the genius utilization of horns, awe-inspiring percussion and the authenticity and weight of its lyrical content, than how the lyrics are delivered.
• 0-1.9: Flop
• 2.0-3.9: Near fall
• 4.0-5.9: Average
• 6.0-7.9: Victory
• 8.0-10: Champion
Pulse Rating: /10
Album Sequencing: 1.2/2
Themes and Delivery: 1.5/2
Enjoyability and Satisfaction: 1.6/2
7.7 - Victory