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Baker's Dozen

Elevate Your Mind: Seun Anikulapo Kuti's Favourite Albums
Richie Troughton , May 30th, 2018 08:47

Following the release of Black Times, his fourth album with Egypt '80, Seun Anikulapo Kuti guides Richie Troughton through a selection of 13 revolutionary, spiritual and mystical albums that have inspired him.


Dead Prez – Lets Get Free

When Dead Prez released Lets Get Free they were already a household name in the hip hop world. Lets Get Free is the album that made them a household name in the world of music. It was their big record. A record nobody thought could do what it did, because it wasn't the same as every other record that was out there.

It deserves a lot of props. Their music was fresh. It wasn't just about hip hop. They found music that connected them to their roots, and their 'RBG' ideology also. I'm not really into [their second album] RBG: Revolutionary But Gangsta. You're either revolutionary or you are not. But, RBG and all, they tried to please everybody and not a lot of people tried to do that. And M1 is an artist I know personally, he was on my third record [A Long Way To The Beginning], so I understand that it wasn't just about being gangster - they understood service to community and we need more music that understands that.

But many people have done that before, and usually, many of them they don't want to give credits. Missy Elliot had done a record of Afrobeat music and for a long time Mos Def had sampled Fela, even though he gave credit.

Music is just one music. I think one of the biggest problems we have as black people, is black music is uniquely defined. Instead of belonging to a certain kind of people, our music is nationalised. So when black people are making music in America, it is called American music. If we are making music in Jamaica, it is called Jamaican music, just because of where we live. So if you find that black people play classical music in Africa, it doesn't give classical music a new name, people just say, "Oh, this is European music, why do you play classical music? This is European music." But when we play hip hop music, it is American music. And Afrobeat is Nigerian, or African, and Jamaican music is reggae, all this black music. At that time in America, seeing an African was like, "Oh, you are black." Nobody wanted to be African, nobody wanted to believe, or embrace that part of our identity and see Africa as a responsibility. This was an album that pushed lot of people.