Seun Kuti, son of Nigerian Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti and an Afrobeat legend in his own right, accompanied superstar American rappers Common and Black Thought on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on August 19th.
The trio debuted “When We Move,” the first single from Common’s upcoming album A Beautiful Revolution (Pt. 2), available September 10th. The track features Seun as a vocalist and saxophonist alongside Black Thought, cofounder and MC of The Tonight Show house band The Roots. A sequel to the 2020 release of A Beautiful Revolution (Pt. 1), Pt. 2 highlights talents such as multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Brittany Howard, singer PJ, guitarist and singer Marcus King, guitarist Isaiah Sharkey, and poet Morgan Parker.
Seun joined the studio performance at Rockefeller Plaza virtually from the New Afrika Shrine in Lagos, Nigeria, where he played live. Founded by Fela, the original Afrika Shrine was a club that served as a cultural gathering spot from its 1972 opening until his death in 1997. The Kuti family built the New Afrika Shrine in 2000, creating a newer and larger community hub in the same ethos as the Shrine.
Led by Fela’s daughter Yeni, The New Shrine features weekly performances from his son Femi and monthly performances from Seun alongside Egypt 80, his father’s former band that he now leads. It is also the host of Felabration, a weeklong music festival created in memory of Fela and held during his birthday annually. The 24/7 venue is a massive draw for visiting musicians, including Bootsy Collins, Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill, Skepta, and Bono.
Merging the history of African jazz, soul, and funk music with the contemporary hip hop and rap scene, Seun and Common celebrate the longstanding influence of Black culture. While Pt. 1 was intended to “channel all of our pain and outrage into something productive, inspirational, and good,” said Common to Rolling Stone. “Pt. 2 was created with hope and inspiration in mind,” said his recent statement. “The spirit of the album was meant to emulate what a greater day would sound and feel like.”
Listen to the studio version of “When We Move,” available for streaming now. A Beautiful Revolution (Pt. 2) available for preorder and save.