Haitian rapper, Wyclef Jean has named his new single after Nigerian Afrobeat legend, Fela Kuti. Explaining why he picked the name as title, Jean says Fela Kuti has inspired him and he wants young ones to know about the legendary progenitor of Afrobeat.
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“I decided to name it Fela Kuti because for me, I feel like we be thinking of [Bob] Marley, we give a lot of people from our past props, so when the kids hear Fela Kuti, I really want them to Google it.“Fela Kuti studied jazz in England. Wyclef studied jazz at Vailsburg High School. Fela Kuti then went back to his country and tried to help his country by running for president. Wyclef, you know, did the same thing.
“Then, Fela, through all his obstacles and all that, his music is what pillared him right back to the top. He understood the strongest way to help politically was to make sure the music was bangin.
“So for me, the same way kids can have songs called “Wyclef Jean” who are influenced by me, I want kids to know who Fela is and what he means.”
The new song ‘Fela Kuti’ is the first single off his forthcoming album. Wyclef Jean’s forthcoming album, Carnival III: The Fall and Rise of a Refugee, is due September 15.
The 12-track project will be Jean’s first studio album in eight years and will be dropped on the 20th anniversary of the release of his debut album, The Carnival.
Late Fela Kuti, Fela Anikulapo Kuti was a Nigerian multi-instrumentalist, musician, composer, pioneer of the Afrobeat music genre, human rights activist, and political maverick.
During his lifetime, he was hailed as one of Africa’s most “challenging and charismatic music performers.
Listen to the new single below