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In As We Struggle Everyday, Femi Kuti interrogates state of Nigerian nation

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Femi Kuti (right) and son Made Photo: Optimus Dammy/Partisan Records

Afrobeat legend, Femi Kuti like his father Fela Anikulapo Kuti, has made commitments to social and political causes through his music.

From playing the saxophone and keyboard with his father’s Egypt 80 when he was 16, to stepping into the spotlight, writing and singing after his father’s demise, Femi, like a true son, inherited his father’s zeal for both music and activism.

He has remained politically inclined, grooving to high energy funk, jazz and traditional African-fueled songs about poverty, political corruption, and primitive living conditions suffered by most Nigerians as citizens of an oil-rich nation.

Through his album, Africa for Africa, he emphasised bad government as a problem in Africa. And prior to the 2011 elections, he reached out to the people, saying there was “no difference between the three candidates contesting for the presidential seat in Nigeria”.

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In his new song, As We Struggle Everyday, a politically charged Afrobeat tune about people having the voting power to hold their leaders accountable, but often failing to do so, Femi said the new offering, a joint endeavor with his son Made Kuti, is about how hard people work everyday to make ends meet and still go to vote corrupt politicians into power who are meant to be in jail.”

“As we struggle everyday, we try to find a better way; see these leaders wey suppose dey jail na him my people dem dey hail,” he sang.

The song is off the double album Legacy +, a record comprising Femi’s Stop the Hate (his 11th album) and Made’s debut, For(e)ward, which was released February 5 on the stables of Partisan Records.

The pair had previously shared the singles Pà Pá Pà and Your Enemy, which are off the album that links three generations of the Kuti dynasty.

Commenting on the state of affairs in the country, Femi said: “It’s a very hypocritical situation in Nigeria that people settle for putting a meal on the table, but they don’t know that the rest of the world doesn’t suffer every day from power outages and water shortage.

“Nigerians don’t even know about the history of African slavery, because it’s not included in the text books.”

Now 58 and his own eldest son Made 25, Femi had echoed similar sentiments in the build up of the 2015 elections by releasing a remix to the song Politics Na Big Business featuring Tuface Idibia and Sound Sultan.

The Afrobeat maestro explained that Legacy+ feels in some way, about not making the mistakes of our parents and about putting family first, the relationship between him and Made, as well as their music, which is full of tenderness.

“I hope people will hear the love and intimacy that we share,” Femi said, adding, “My son had to be brought up during this very chaotic time and everybody still asks me, ‘how did he turn out like this?’ I look at him and say, ‘you make me so proud.’ All I did was give him love,” he told The Guardian UK in an interview.

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