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The Bedrock of Afrobeats

Ebo Taylor became one of Ghana’s major prolific musicians in the 1950s and ’60s, making his signature Ghanaian highlife that influenced the father of afrobeat, Fela Kuti. As highlife and afrobeat music has entered the global stage, Taylor’s work has been sampled by international R&B artist Usher on his 2010 track “She Don’t Know,” featuring rapper Ludacris, and by Canadian hip-hop duo Ghetto Concept on their 1992 track “Certified.” His influence can also be seen in afrobeat’s clubbier offshoot, afrobeats (with an “s”), which has hit international charts through West African acts like Wizkid, who has collaborated with artists including Drake and Major Lazer. And Taylor is still recording new material at age 84. Over the last few years, Taylor has toured extensively throughout Europe with his Saltpond City band, marshalled by his son Roy, and has been more likely to be seen playing in Amsterdam or Berlin than in Accra or Lagos. While Taylor is likely to slow down on touring, he intends to continue making music. “It’s what I love to do, it’s who I am,” he said. He intends to introduce his music to younger and more mainstream audiences and was keen to express his desire to collaborate with Ghanaian rappers M.anifest and Reggie Rockstone.