THE RECENT announcement of Made Kuti’s signing on the dotted line for Partisan marks him as the third generation of his family to join the record label, after legendary and revolutionary grandfather Fela Kuti and four-time Grammy nominee father Femi Kuti.
The debut single “Free Your Mind” exhibits a myriad of Kuti markers but also a myriad of Made’s individual touches. Made attended the famed Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London, the very same place Fela Kuti studied, also performing with his father’s Positive Force outfit during his childhood.
These experiences present themselves to great effect on “Free Your Mind”, with Made concocting a track which concisely packages the propulsive Afrobeat rhythm which his grandfather pioneered into a grounding message of emancipation of consciousness.
This contorting, shifting rhythm, on which Made plays each instrument, from the spirited billows of saxophone to the jaunty bass, moves amongst the increasingly captivating vocal hook, “free your mind and set your soul free”. Spoken in a gentle and candid way, yet still meditatively thought-provoking, this is indicative of Made’s perception of the oft-misunderstood phrase, and what he really believes of it.
“I think freeing your mind is, in a way, the opposite of what the phrase actually sounds like,” he says.
“‘Free your mind’ almost sounds like decadence, like ‘don’t be constrained by anything, just take things as they are.’
“I think the true meaning of ‘free your mind’ is to be critical. It means use your mind to its full potential – to think, to try to find answers and ask the right questions.”
As indicated by this statement, the musician has experienced and rebelled against actions which inhibit such a state of mind. Alongside his father Femi, he has recently taken to the streets in support of the ongoing anti-police brutality protests raging across Nigeria, which subsequently caused the government to dissolve the SARS (Special Anti-Robbery Squad) unit.
The new track also signals the arrival of Made Kuti’s debut album, released in 2021, with further information expected shortly.
Meanwhile, enjoy the vibrant and uplifting music video for “Free Your Mind”, directed and animated by Frostie.