Begun by legendary drummer and AfroBeat pioneer Tony Allen before his death last year, this posthumous release is a fitting culmination to the innovative and collaborative ethos that marked the resurgent second half of his career. While his percussion playing for Fela Kuti put him on the map, the latter part of Allen’s career where he worked with diverse musical boundary shapers like Jeff Mills, Hugh Masekela, and Coldcut are what cemented his legacy as one of the finest percussionists of all time. Here we find him celebrating youthful voices from around the world as he laid down expansive rhythms and beats to support the words and imagery provided by top line vocalists and rappers like Sampa the Great, Skepta, and Danny Brown. Album highlight ‘Stumbling Down’ featuring Sampa the Great loops vocals and rhythms that, while brief, weave effortlessly to accentuate the best of both performers.
It’s a balance Allen struck time and again throughout his career, giving enough of himself to become a famed and respected performer while also creating the space for others to equally show their talents. Unsurprisingly, that talent continues throughout this album. As Allen himself said, “You play yours, I play mine. The music never ends.”