Arts, Culture & Media

This is a mashup you should hear — 'Happy' by Pharrell Williams meets Nigeria's Fela Kuti

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Musician Pharrell Williams at the 19th annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards, January 2014.


REUTERS/Kevork Djansezian

The world is filled with both dark and light. Fun and serious.

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And that's true of the music of Fela Kuti, the late Nigerian music legend. His songs were chock full of serious themes: Corruption and dictators.

Upbeat? Yes, actually. And now, there's room for more happiness in Fela's music. 

Jeff Lawrence, a.k.a. DJ 100 Proof, came up with the idea of colliding Fela's song "Colonial Mentality" with Pharrell Williams' song "Happy."

Lawrence wanted to remix "Happy," he says, and the not-predictable choice was Fela.

"One of the things I find interesting about [Fela's] music is it always does have sort of a happy feel to it, even though the lyrics are serious and political and real," he says.

To combine the overall "vibe of happiness from that song and blend it with the lyrics from Pharrell that are genuinely really positive," he says, "I chopped up the saxophone and the horn parts to go with his chorus, and it really turned out better than I would've imagined."

Have a listen. Here's wishing you a happy mentality, and thanks for the track, DJ 100 Proof!