Published May 27, 2014For his third studio record, Seun Anikulapo Kuti — the youngest son of legendary Afrobeat champion Fela Kuti — takes the Nigerian funk sound to its most forceful extreme. With A Long Way To The Beginning, the artist/saxophonist has some things to get off his chest when it comes to thinking about the current global sociopolitical climate, and he's bringing his father's old band (Egypt 80) to bolster the point. A track titled "IMF" already makes its point from the name alone, and Kuti brings M-1 of Dead Prez to express what's wrong with an international organization many blame for the economic disparities within developing nation states.
Afrobeat has influenced many of today's artists and subgenres, and Kuti (along with co-producer Robert Glasper) masterfully mine the trademark horn, percussion and bass with a more contemporary effect and approach. "Kalakuta Boy" is straight up Afrobeat, "Ohun Aiye" has a Ghanaian highlife feel, and "Black Woman" (featuring Nneka) has a slowed down soul approach. A Long Way To The Beginning isn't perfect — some of the lyrical content fails to reach the heights of his father's work — but it is satisfying nonetheless. (Knitting Factory)