Listen to a Fela Kuti Tribute Album Featuring D’Angelo, Questlove, Nile Rodgers & More
Written by ABR on 02/12/2022
Red Hot has made the their Fela Kuti tribute album Red Hot + Riot available for the first time on all streaming platforms to mark its 20th anniversary.
Red Hot + Riot features notable contributions from an all-star guest ensemble that includes D’Angelo, Questlove, Femi Kuti, Talib Kweli, Sade, Tony Allen, Macy Gray, Nile Rodgers, Jorge Ben Jor, Baba Maal, Meshell Ndegeocello, Dead Prez, Kelis, Roy Hargrove, Archie Shepp, and many others.
The updated 20th anniversary version includes bonus material including a remastered version of the entire project. The project also includes a cover of “Sorrow Tears & Blood” by Bilal, an acoustic version of “Trouble Sleep” with Baba Maal accompanied by the legendary kora player Kaouding Cissoko and an extended version of Sade’s “By Your Side” by Stuart Matthewman.
The original album had to be heavily edited to fit the time limit of a physical CD. This new version includes a vast amount of bonus material that includes an extended versions of many tracks, including early mixes, acapellas, instrumentals and more.
During his time, Fela Kuti emerged as one of the most prominent African musicians and activists, and has remained an icon in Afrobeats. In 1997, he died of HIV/AIDS-related causes.
The idea for the project originated from Questlove during sessions for Red Hot’s Gershwin tribute album, which included a collaboration between The Roots and Bobby Womack. The HIV/AIDS crisis in Africa along with a love of Fela Kuti’s music transformed the project into what it has now become.
To start the process, Red Hot secured the rights to Fela’s music as well as his master recordings, which allowed sampling as well as covering his songs. The process took about two years, and Red Hot spent the next two years recording around the world.
Questlove kicked things off with a session at Electric Ladyland covering “Water Get No Enemy” led by D’Angelo and Fela’s son Femi Kuti. The band was a mix of the Soultronics (land Femi’s band Positive Force. Niles Rogers, Macy Gray, and Erykah Badu also joined in, but Badu’s voice did not make the final mix.
The 20th anniversary is a cause for celebration and sober reflection, because of the countless number of people in Saharan Africa who disproportionately suffer from the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Of the 38.3 million people living with HIV worldwide, 27.3 million are in Sub-Saharan Africa, a saddening reality that exists because of structural and cultural setbacks in awareness, lack of access to resources and treatment as well as social stigma.
Watch Never Before Seen Studio Footage From The “Water Get No Enemy” sessions produced by Tríbe Caríbe below.
PART 1: Red Hot Organization + Tribé Caríbe 20th Anniversary “Water Get No Enemy” Recording Session