From Out of the Ashes Rises, a Femi Phoenix: After a Seven-Year Absence Femi Kuti Returns with a New Album November 18

It goes without saying that a monsoon of bullshit has rained hard upon the world since we last heard from Femi Kuti. 2001’s rallying cry Fight to Win came out a month after September 11, and with his latest studio record Day by Day slated for November 18, Femi’s coming hot on the heels of yet another colossal American crisis. But Femi, like his legendary father Fela before him, has never given America much face time on his records. Hell, in the grand scheme of his music, even his home continent of Africa gets relegated to a supporting role. Fema’s focus lies primarily on a confrontational funk of unrestrained global optimism that possesses everything from his horn section to his vocals. Not revolution for one nation, but revolution everywhere: That’s the Femi Kuti way, and that’s exactly what the world could use right about now.

But what in the devil has Femi been doing for the last seven years? Well, first of all, he finally learned how to play the piano “properly.” (What improper piano styles he may have been performing earlier, alas, the press release does not say.) He also switched from sax to trumpet as his principal instrument, a change that Femi says affected the composition of Day by Day significantly. But perhaps Femi’s strangest activity during his sabbatical was his work within the seedy underworld of brutal Russian mobsters and mass hooker murders when he lent his voice to Grand Theft Auto IV as the DJ for IF 99, Liberty City’s home for the funk. How crazy is that?! Femi, TMT forgives you for not putting out an album for seven years. You had the best radio station in that game.

So, come November 18, get ready for some stone-cold intercontinental grooves from the Godson-turned-Godfather of Afrobeat and his mammoth 17-person band Positive Force. If you’ve lost your house by then, at least try to hang on to a stereo, because this baby’s gonna be the jam.

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