Tony Allen Home Cooking (Comet/ Virgin) Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
Tony Allen has been moving beyond a rigid definition of Afrobeat ever since he left Fela Kuti's Africa 70, and Home Cooking is no different. More streamlined and less experimental than the Afro dub of 99's Black Voices set, Home Cooking strips the music to its roots, putting more emphasis than ever on Allen's roiling percussion. Every Season, the slinky, much-hyped collaboration with the suddenly African Damon Albarn, isn't as gruesome as it sounds, and Allen's staggered, loping drum breaks are as sharp as ever. Too often, though, Home Cooking is dragged back down to earth by awkward vocals and rapping. Considering Fela's current high standing within the crate-digging hiphop set, you'd think Allen could find someone more accomplished on the mike than no-flow London MC Ty.