Fela Kuti was a pioneer of Afrobeat and one of the most important socially conscious musicians of all-time. He was also announced as one of 16 nominees for induction into the 2021 class of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
The nomination is a long-overdue acknowledgment for an influential artist who transcended genres.
Fela’s legacy has been carried on by his oldest son Femi and youngest son Seun, who have both established themselves as successful Afrobeat artists. And now, Made, who is Femi’s son, hopes to follow in the footsteps of his father and grandfather.
Made’s debut album “For(e)ward” was recently released alongside Femi’s eleventh album “Stop The Hate,” as part of the double album “Legacy +.”
On the track “Different Streets,” Made specifically addresses his grandfather’s musical impact:
A prophet is what many of us call Fela
Someone with very special skills to see very far
But grandpa was not predicting the future with songs
He was speaking about everything he saw
Everything that was wrong
Zombie, ITT, Yellow Fever, CBB
These songs were talking about his present
Not what was to be
We must now understand just how scary it is
That we are facing the same problems from the 70s
And think for ourselves how hard we must work collectively
To be free
As the lyrics reflect, Fela’s music still resonates because the issues sadly remain relevant.
Made spotlights injustice just like his grandfather and father. And while each generation is primarily singing about politics in their native Nigeria, the issues of governmental corruption and inequality are universal themes that extend beyond any geographical borders.