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Seun Kuti

Biography

When Fela Kuti married 28 of his backup singers and musicians back in 1978, his youngest son's mother might have been among them. A backup singer in Kuti's band, she gave birth to Oluseun Anikulapo Kuti in 1982. The young Seun (pronounced "Shehoun") literally grew up onstage: he professed his desire to play music at an early age and started sax and piano lessons, much to his father's delight. He also joined his mother in Egypt 80's chorus, singing backup in shows that would sometimes last through the night. When Seun was just 15 years old, Fela Kuti died of AIDS (though Seun has yet to admit that, preferring to say his father was "tired"). Seun immediately took over the reins as Egypt 80's leader, spending the better part of a decade exclusively performing his father's repertoire. Over the years the young Kuti began penning his own songs, however, and confessed to an admiration for hip-hoppers like Dr. Dre and Eminem. In 2008 Kuti released his first album of originals, backed by Fela's now thirty-something year old band. The album hews closely to his father's sound, featuring extended, textured jams that cushion bitter social criticism.

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