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Femi Kuti – Femi Kuti (1995)

July 29, 2020

Learning to be anti-racist

“I’ve been getting in good trouble, necessary trouble ever since.”
– Congressman John Lewis

For years, I have been mistakenly under the impression that ‘racist’ and ‘not racist’ were opposites. I’ve since realized that ‘anti-racism’ is actually the opposite of ‘racism’ & I need to do a better job of being actively anti-racist.

As a starting point, I want to commit to doing two small things every week:

  1. Listen & Learn. Share resources that I’ve found helpful.
  2. Amplify Black Voices. Each Wednesday, feature a Black Artist from the 1001 list.


So far, I’ve looked at Curtis Mayfield’s There’s No Place Like America Today, The Crusaders’ Street Life, Cypress Hill’s Cypress Hill, Cee-Lo Green’s Cee-Lo Green…Is the Soul Machine, Maxwell’s Maxwell’s Urban Hang Suite, Ladysmith Black Mambazo’s, Shaka Zulu, Muddy Waters’ Hard Again, and Fela Ransome-Kuti and The Africa ’70 with Ginger Baker’s Live!.

This week, Femi Kuti’s eponymous 1995 album.


[Album 789/1001]

I imagine that following in the footsteps of a famous musical parent would be, at best, a mixed blessing.

Thanks to a familiar surname, perhaps a door or two might be opened that otherwise would have been closed. It’s also difficult to envision the distinction/label of being “the child of ______” being easily escaped.

However, despite contending with some enormous parental shadows, I can picture 3 artists that recorded some pretty impressive music in the mid-to-late 90s.

1. Given his roles in The Guess Who & Bachman Turner Overdrive, Randy Bachman would be among the most accomplished Canadian guitarists.

That didn’t stop Tal Bachman from writing She’s So High, a practically perfect pop song, full of fabulous guitar tones & melody lines.

2. If you google the term ‘singer songwriter’ – can you guess which photo appears first?

And yet, while few would confuse the tunes on Bringing Down the Horse with those on Femi_Kuti_album_coverBringing it all Back Home, Jakob Dylan put together a practically perfect side one with his band, The Wallflowers.

3. Femi Kuti & Fela Kuti

As the eldest son of the legendary Fela Kuti, Femi would also have the mixed blessing of inheriting family musical talent while attempting to establish a independently successful career.

With his self-titled debut, Femi Kuti created a practically perfect sound.

The combination of the percussion, the production, and the performance blend magnificently.


It’s possible that the sons, Tal / Jakob / Femi, will never be quite as renowned as their famous fathers.

That being said, considering the strength of their songs, sides, and sounds, these kids are significantly better than alright!


Helpful Resources

In the interview below with Stephen Colbert, the late Congressman John Lewis delivers a terrific answer (at 1:20) about the importance of #goodtrouble – and then following the interview, he crowd surfs!

From → 1990s

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