NPR First Listen || Seun Kuti ‘A Long Way To The Beginning’

Stream Seun Kuti’s new album – A Long Way To The Beginning via NPR a full week before release (5/27)

Pre-order your LP/CD HERE

“Seun Kuti is at his strongest when he’s updating both Fela’s philosophies and the Afrobeat sound. It would be so easy for Seun — and Femi, for that matter — to do little more than tour the world as a tribute act. But instead, Seun Kuti brings in smart collaborators. Pianist and composer Robert Glasper produced A Long Way to the Beginning with him; Glasper also appears in several tracks as keyboardist. Dead Prez’s M1, who has made something of a secondary career as a guest artist on international artists’ politically charged tracks, contributes a verse to “IMF.” Ghanaian-American rapper Blitz the Ambassador opens “African Smoke,” and German-Nigerian singer Nneka brings soulful vocals to the laid-back closing track, “Black Woman.”

Just as in Fela’s music, there remains ample room for joy, humor and exuberance amid the darkness and fury; the sweat, funk and beat dictate that right from the start. These tracks are for dancing — if you’re not moving, something may well be wrong. In “African Airways,” Kuti sings, “We no know where we dey go, but they tell us make we fly.” OK, so Kuti happens to be warning against neocolonialism in Africa in this track, but it’s a good metaphor for this album. We might not realize where Seun Kuti is taking us when we get on board with A Long Way to the Beginning — but he sure knows where he’s headed, and how to get us all there.” -NPR