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Various Artists Nigeria 70

At the same time that American black musicians were sporting dashikis and Afros, their counterparts in Nigeria were rocking platform boots and wide collared-shirts—and pioneering a genre of music that infused a strong dollop of heavy psychedelic funk into traditional African grooves. Funky Lagos’ most celebrated export was a pre-Anikulapo Fela Kuti, but while Afrobeat’s founder appears twice on this two-disc set, the other 21 tracks show that his was only one take on the sound. Lesser-known artists like William Onyeabor, Bongos Ikwue, The Funkees, and Afro Cult Foundation freely mix call-and-response vocals and killer percussion with groovy bass, punchy horns, and analog synths, resulting in equally classic, breakbeat-worthy funk with an African feel. Utterly essential.

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