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Taken from OkayAfrica (Jun 26, 2024)

Seun Kuti and Damian Marley Collaborate For the First Time Ever on "Dey"

The great Afrobeat and reggae artists unite African dynasties through their new single.

by Emmanuel Esomnofu


Photo by Kola Oshalusi
Afrobeat icon Seun Kuti. Photo by Kola Oshalusi


Seun Kutiand Egypt 80 has been up to a lot recently. Earlier this month, the Afrobeat artist and ensemble announced their North American tour, which started on June 8 and is set to round up on July 28. Just in the thick of it all, the band has now released its latest single, "Dey," which is out on all streaming platforms now.


As ever, "Dey" features the incendiary sound of Fela Kuti's Afrobeat, realized by his son and band successor, Seuni, who has wielded the torch since his father's passing in 1997. Exciting as it is already, "Dey" goes the extra yard by featuring Damian Marley, a great musician in his own right and, like Seun, the successor of an iconic musical dynasty.


"This world just full of romance, this world ain't got no love," Seun emphasizes in his verse, a distinction that's underlined by the imagery he creates elsewhere. With almost everyone chasing money, and that seeming necessity dictating the new ways of life, Seun rejects the regular. "Dey" comes from that sentiment: he just wants to be by himself, living simply and speaking on the issues that most interest him even if it makes him infamous, as Seun is to a conservative section of Nigerians.


In his part, Marley utilizes a quick-fire flow to further burnish the production, a blend that works beautifully. He opens up beautiful pockets within the song, even if briefly. But throughout the entirety of the record, his presence remains felt.


"I'm very honored to have Damian on this track, it's a historical moment," says Kuti in a press statement. "This is the first time that Kutis and Marleys have collaborated and recorded together. We are two performers, both from the dynasty of Africa, with a huge continental divide, singing about similar struggles... I think this collaboration is an affirmation of the righteousness of the message of our dynasties."


Through its depiction of African unity and art, "Dey" embraces the uniqueness of every African person, whether they are known for something or not. "It is about human beings not having to be special," Kuti says. "As African people, one thing that I hate about the way the world relates to us is that only special Africans are humans... We can't just be humans. We can't just be special - that is removed from the Black African experience. So, this song is about how we are special as African people and we should embrace who we are and not feel the need to constantly prove ourselves to anybody."


"Dey" is the first single from the eagerly anticipated new album from Seun Kuti and Egypt 80, Heavier Yet (Lays The Crownless Head), expected to drop on October 4.


Listen below.







 
 

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