On April 30th, 2020, the world lost Afrobeat pioneer Tony Allen. At the time of his death, he was working on a new studio album, prophetically titled There Is No End, when he suffered an aortic aneurysm and passed away at age 79. In the wake of his death, his collaborators have finished what he started and will release the album on April 30th, 2021, the one-year anniversary of his death. Ahead of the album’s release, Allen’s estate has shared the lead single “Cosmosis”, co-written by Damon Albarn (Gorillaz) and featuring Skepta and Ben Okri.
Tony Allen had envisioned There Is No End to serve as a platform for the next generation of rising rappers. Unfortunately, his untimely death prevented him from collaborating directly with them, but luckily he recorded all of his beats beforehand and now these musicians have made Allen’s final wish a reality. In addition to Albarn, Skepta, and Okri, There Is No End also hosts guest spots from Danny Brown, Sampa the Great, Lord Jah-Monte Ogbon, Tsunami, Nah Eeto, and many more.
Allen recorded the beats with producer Vincent Taeger, who said in a statement,
Tony’s idea was to give rappers the space to breathe and freely create. He wanted really not to just do Afrobeat, but rather something new and open, with very different sounds for the drums for each song and feels and tempos that were really grounded to the core in hip hop.
Nigerian poet and novelist Ben Okri was able to work with Allen prior to his death, and his words are heard on the album’s lead single, “Cosmosis”. The song, like so much of Allen’s music, uses his beats as a building block for a rotating cast of lyricists to express their unique realities. Okri said of his collaboration with Allen,
We were in the studio with Damon Albarn and Remi Kabaka and Tony said, ‘I lay out this universe in which dreams can come forth,’ and then I understood that for him the beat he lays out is like this textual landscape. It has a psychic structure or DNA of a universe of music for which Tony had worked out a kind of mathematical basis for it in his elliptical beats, and then an invitation to dream could be given.
Listen to “Cosmosis”, the lead single from the posthumous Tony Allen album There Is No End. The album is available here for pre-order. Scroll down to see the full tracklist and album artwork.
Tony Allen – “Cosmosis” ft. Skepta, Ben Okri
[Video: Tony Allen Afrobeat]
There Is No End Tracklist
01. Tony’s Praeludium
02. Stumbling Down (feat. Sampa the Great)
03. Crushed Grapes (feat. Lord Jah-Monte Ogbon)
04. Très magnifique (feat. Tsunami)
05. Mau Mau (feat. Nah Eeto)
06. Coonta Kinte (feat. Zelooperz)
07. Rich Black (feat. Koreatown Oddity)
08. One Inna Million (feat. Lava La Rue)
09. Gang On Holiday (Em I Go We?) (feat. Jeremiah Jae)
10. Deer In Headlights (feat. Danny Brown)
11. Hurt Your Soul (feat. Nate Bone)
12. My Own (feat. Marlowe)
13. Cosmosis (feat. Ben Okri + Skepta)
14. There’s No End
[H/T Consequence of Sound]