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Femi Kuti - Shoki Shoki Print E-mail
Tuesday, 25 January 2000

Femi Kuti

Shoki Shoki
format: CD
label: MCA Records
performance: 9
sound 8
reviewed by: Jerry Del Colliano

You ever get tired of the same old tunes? Santana is cool, but if I hear the Rob Thomas single one more time, I may take a hostage. Audiophile music is even worse. The geeks at the print magazines frequently forget that the reason we invested in our music playback systems was to feel new music, not just hear it. With that said – do I have one for you this month!

Femi Kuti, son of Fela Anilukapo Kuti – the grandfather of the Afrobeat - is out with a solo record, Shoki Shoki, that is a breath of fresh air and unlike everything you are listening to right now. A native Nigerian who was schooled in London, Femi has both the influence of his father’s politically-charged world sound and the jungle club sounds of Europe. Shoki Shoki was recorded in Philadelphia at the legendary Sigma Sound Studios (see our perfect 10-rated review of The Best of Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff for more on Philly sound soul from the 1970s). It captures a distinctly African beat, with dynamic alto sax leads paired with swinging horn accompaniments. I hear funky guitar riffs leading back to James Brown with infectious funk that is found on the best Bob Marley records.

Right out of the gate, you’ll know how amazing Shoki Shoki is. "Truth Don Die" is a killer. "Victim of Life" recalls Femi’s father’s politically challenging history, his time in Nigerian jails and his death from HIV. "Bang, Beng, Beng" was banned in Nigeria. God (and Nigerians) only know what Femi is saying, but the song is smokin’, complete with a SUPER big bass sound, a jungle feel and wahed-out guitar chops. If you aren’t up and dancing when this song comes on, there’s something wrong with you. There are three remixes to wrap up this jammin’ records including a dance version of "Bang, Beng, Beng" by Chateau Flight, "Truth Don Die" by Kerri Chadler and the best, a remix of "Blackman Know Yourself" by Phily hip hop masters The Roots.

Shoki Shoki is the kind of record that justifies investing in a bad-ass music playback system. Shoki Shoki is the kind of record that an reader is going to flip for, the kind of record that will cause a Bic to leak in the pocket protector of any stereophile reviewer. This is something new: embrace it and love it as I do. Enjoy…

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