From the days of Fela Kuti and his band to the current resurrection of the Afrobeat genre, we look at the top Afrobeat albums of all time.
1. Horns of Freedom – The Fontanelles:
In London, this band was one of the onstage musicians for “Fela! The Musical.” Horns of Freedom, their debut album, is a collection of tracks that range in style from Caribbean groves to jazz.
2. Fela Kuti and Africa 70’s Expensive Shit:
This album has a lot going for it, but one constant is that it is one of the finest Afrobeat albums. The album includes songs with lovely melodies, brilliant lyricism, and explosive instrumentals, as well as the everlasting hymn “Water Gets No Enemy.” This is impossible to overlook when perusing Fela’s catalogue.
3. Various Artists – Red Hot + Fela:
This is the follow-up to the first album, Red Hot + Riot, which included Baaba Maal, Macy Gray, and Nile Rodgers. Spoek Mathambo, Kronos Quartet, and My Morning Jacket all appear on RED HOT + Fela, presenting Fela’s skills for the world to witness. The CD was published to generate funds for AIDS research. The CD also highlighted Fela’s efforts and effect on the global society.
4. Femi Kuti’s Shoki Shoki:
Fela did not put an end to Afrobeat. His children continued the tradition, and his first son, Femi, created a reputation for himself. Afrobeat was still alive and well. Shoki Shoki, his fourth album, earned a name for himself. The album features some of Femi Kuti’s most memorable songs and is considered one of the finest Afrobeat albums.
5. Film of Life – Tony Allen:
Until his death, the founder of Afrobeat drumming remained untouchable. He combines funk, hard bop, and highlife on this album, demonstrating to the world how much of his mojo he still has. This is an engrossing CD that you will thoroughly like.
6. Jaiyede Afro – Orlando Julius & The Heliocentrics:
Before Fela came to Nigeria in 1970, Orlando Julius was the rave. He established Afro-funk music for Lagos’ youngsters, and Fela’s Afrobeat revolutionised everything. However, the release of Jaiyede Afro remains one of Orlando Julius’ career highlights. He collaborated on the CD with The Heliocentrics from London, and they created magic.
7. Afro Rock – Alhaji K Frimpong:
Alhaji K. Frimpong and his Cubano Fiestas created this album with Afrobeat rhythms and grooves in the mid-1970s. It is a highlife record influenced strongly by Afrobeat sounds.
8. A Long Way to the Beginning – Seun Kuti & Egypt 80:
Seun Kuti collaborated with the band he inherited from his father on this impressive record. Through the tracks on this album, he displayed some fire and rage. The words are catchy, as in the song “Ohun Aiye,” and catchy, as in the song “IMF.” Seun Kuti’s Afrobeat continues to give voice to social and political vices, and this album reflects that.
9. Identity – Dele Sosimi:
Dele Sosimi, a former student of Fela Kuti and member of Fela’s band Egypt 80, demonstrated his worth with this record. He learnt to play the piano from Fela and spent seven years as the Egypt 80 band’s musical director and arranger. In the 1990s, he collaborated with Femi Kuti. This record is merely testament of Dele’s superb abilities that he developed while working with the Kutis. The tunes were written well and were backed by funky piano noises.
This CD showcases everything Afrobeat. It’s a collection of outstanding tunes performed strongly with soul-piercing vocal performances.