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The best of Femi Kuti

The Best of Femi Kuti serves as a fine introduction to the Nigerian Afro-beat composer and bandleader, and the oldest son of the genre's founder, Fela Kuti. It's compiled from his two Barclay recordings, Shoki Shoki (1998) and Fight to Win (2001), and contains about half of each album. His Tabu/Motown album Wonder Wonder is inexplicably shut out despite some excellent tracks — and the fact that Universal owns both labels! The latter half of the disc contains collaborations with Mos Def ("Do Your Best"), Common ("Missing Link"), and Jaguar Wright ("Fight to Win"). "Beng Beng Beng" is here, as are "Scatta Head" and the burning "'97." Unfortunately, none of the excellent 12" versions are included here, which makes it nonessential for fans. Given the deep influence of hip-hop and modern urban soul on Femi's music, this collection also serves as a sampler of the new, updated, and truly revitalized Afro-beat sound.

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