Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Seun Kuti & Egypt 80

His brother hosts a radio station on Grand Theft Auto IV, but Seun fronts their dad's incomparable band

"I done see many things/I done hear many things," are the first words out of Seun Kuti's mouth, and he earns them. Born in 1983, the youngest son and clearest inheritor of Fela Kuti--whose funk-influenced, protest-possessed Nigerian Afrobeat is America's most imitated African pop style--is two decades younger than Fela's oldest son, the much smoother Afrobeat modernizer Femi. The teenage Seun (chay-'oon) fought successfully to take over Fela's Egypt80 band after his father died in 1997, and although his gruff baritone doesn't quite generate Fela's forthright oratorical momentum, that just means he's mortal. The vehemence of Seun's profane anger should convince anyone who knows the original that for him it's personal--and that he's learned his lessons well. And where his father got away with letting records run on, these seven-minute grooves are so focused you can tell they have something to prove.

Blender, Aug. 2008