Accumulation of Profit & Power (APP)
Accumulation of Profit and Power (APP) is Muyiwa Kunnuji’s second musical offering, following his debut album – Mo Juba O. Coming about two years since the beginning of the global spread of the SARS-Cov-2 (Covid-19), APP is a well-timed critique of the unethical pursuit of profit and power, characteristic of the 21st century modernist capitalist system.
Hence, this album expresses angst at the worsening human condition resulting from an insatiable quest for more wealth among the world’s wealthiest. Furthermore, Muyiwa argues that many of the capitalists responsible for this worsening human condition disguise themselves as philanthropists and court governmental support; thus, their desire to monopolise the available resources is backed up by legislation. With this polemic, Muyiwa balances activism and musicality, thereby departing from the overall outlook of Mo Juba O. Given this, APP is reminiscent of the works of icons like Bob Marley and Fela Kuti.
This album features six songs, most of which contribute to its central theme of critical social commentary. Giant of Africa focuses on Nigeria, a country praised locally as the giant of Africa, but struggles to provide basic amenities for its citizens amidst several failed attempts at registering and identifying its population. Meeting Point advocates a focus on the things that unite humans rather than those that divide them. Furthermore, Oshelu highlights the paradox in African politics, where politicians steal on an “industrial scale” but are addressed as “His Excellency”.
Thematically different, Bro Hugh pays homage to the pioneers of African dance genres and laments the brevity of human lives vis a vis the transience of time. Recipe of Death epitomises the album’s central theme as it condemns the acquisition of personal profit and power at the detriment of collective wellbeing. This culminate in Sanitise Your Heart, a song that challenges capitalists to introspection and a reappraisal of their depraved appetite for wealth. This, Muyiwa believes, is the much-needed change that will potentially transform human condition for the better.
Stylistically, the central musical sensibility of APP is Afrobeat presented in a way that signals that Muyiwa has come into his own. He does not merely replicate Fela Kuti’s Afrobeat but contributes to it. While some of the songs feature Afrobeat’s modal tonality, interlocking rhythms and call-and-response, others employ blues and harmonic minor scales, thus signalling a burgeoning style that perhaps will become a marker of Muyiwa’s compositions. Musically departing from Afrobeat style, Bro Hugh and Sanitise Your Heart are melting pots that combine various African elements. While Bro Hugh blends South African Marabi, Central African Soukous, and West African Highlife, the stylistic difference in Sanitise Your Heart is first noticeable through its pervasive triplet feel and typically highlife guitar lines. The album also features a linguistic convergence involving an artistic blend of English, French and Yoruba, with each language aptly positioned to enhance its central theme. APP’s diversity in instrumentation and arrangements will likely compel multiple listening sessions for lovers of African sounds. Overall, as capitalism continues to shape human experiences, APP invites listeners to engage and question its recent iterations, hoping that individuals might begin to negotiate their realities and free themselves from the absolute control of the powers that be.