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Femi Kuti (born June 16, 1962) is the stage name of Nigerian Afrobeat and jazz musician Olufela Olufemi Anikulapo Kuti. Born the eldest son of Afrobeat figurehead Fela Kuti, the musician has collaborated with the likes of Common and Mos Def and hails from Lagos, Nigeria.
Born in London, England in 1962, following his parents’ separation, Kuti lived with his mother in Lagos, Nigeria, before moving to live with his father, Fela Kuti, in 1977. It was around this time young Kuti began playing the saxophone and by the age of 15 became a member in his father’s band. Having created his own band, Positive Force, towards the tail-end of the ‘80s, Kuti made his debut solo performance at the Festival de’Angoulême in 1988. Motown subsequently offered the musician a record deal and put out his eponymously-titled debut album in 1995. Adopting similar style of Afrobeat popularised by his father, the record earned critical acclaim and led to a worldwide tour in ’96 and ’97.
Later in ’97 Kuti’s father died following AIDS-related complications. Now at the full attention of the musical press, proud of his father’s accomplishments, but reluctant to bathe in the shadow of his success, Kuti issued his sophomore album “Shoki Shoki” in 1999. Receiving widespread critical acclaim by the likes of Rolling Stone, the New Yorker, and Vibe, the MCA released record proved Kuti as an artist in his own right. In an attempt to cross over to the American mainstream, notably hip-hop, Kuti invited socially conscious rappers Common and Mos Def to appear on his third studio album “Fight to Win”. Once again extolled by critics upon its release in 2001, the record was supported with a tour alongside Jane’s Addiction.
The singer’s fourth full-length arrived sevens years later in 2008 entitled “Day by Day”, prior to which he contributed the song “Water No Get Enemy” to “Red Hot & Riot” compilation CD in 2002. The studio album “Africa for Africa” appeared in 2010, followed three years later by “No Place for My Dream”.