Afrobeat star and sociopolitical critic, Seun Kuti, says his new album ‘Black Times’ served as a platform for him to sing about “the things I wanted to say”.
The musician said the album is very significant, particularly because it represents his political and social beliefs.
Kuti said he believed in the album so much that he invested his personal funds in its production.
“Black Times is a true reflection of my political and social beliefs; it is also dear to my heart because for the first time ever I wanted to own my masters, so I personally invested my funds in it. That gave me the opportunity to say the things I wanted to say,” he said on Friday at the listening of the album at Fela Museum, Lagos.
The album features iconic guitarist Carlos Santana, Yasiin Bey (formerly known as Mos Def) and vocalist Nai Palm of Hiatus Kaiyote.
“More than ever I am convinced of the mission and purpose of our music. Here I’m giving honour to my parents and to every revolutionary who has made a difference, many of them from before I was born,” the 35-year-old musician said.
Writing of the album, he said, began in 2016 at home in Lagos.
He said: “I wrote this album from a place of calm and love, I was thinking, ‘What if Africa had a philosopher king who was also a musician, who loved Alkebulan” – the ancient Kemetic name for the Motherland – “with all his heart? What sort of album would he make? What would he tell his people today?’”
“Too many African rulers do not have the country’s best interests at heart” Seun continues. Too many people in Africa and the West have sunk or are sinking into complacency: “Black Times is an album for anybody who believes in change and understands the duty we have to rise up and come together. The system says we’re different. But the struggle makes us one.”
‘Black Times’, released on the platform of Strut Records, is Kuti’s first album to enter the Billboard charts.
One of the album’s leading tracks ‘Struggle Sounds’ was recently featured on DC Entertainment and Warner Bos Television’s ‘Black Lightning’.