‘I love and hate Bruno Mars at the same time’: Babatunde Aléshé’s honest playlist

The comedian is a fan of Fela Kuti and has mixed feelings about a certain uptown-funking hitmaker – but who did he most want to be growing up?

Babatunde Aléshé

The first song I remember hearing

I remember as a very young man, being in the living room in our council estate in Tottenham in north London, watching Bad by Michael Jackson on MTV, thinking: “Who’s this? I want to be like this person.” I was a Michael Jackson fanatic from that day on.

The song that I do at karaoke

Don’t Stop ’Til You Get Enough by Michael Jackson is a banger. It’s very high-pitched, so it’s hilarious for me to try to sing. But it’s a tune, so it gets the party popping.

The first single I bought

Horse & Carriage by Cam’ron on cassette from Our Price in Wood Green in north London. I played it every day for three months.

The best song to play at a party

If you want to get the party started, then Talkin’ da Hardest by Giggs is the tune to play because everybody knows the first verse. That’s how you group everybody together. You capture the party, then everybody’s good.

The song I stream the most

Rhymes Like Dimes by MF Doom. I’m a huge MF Doom fan – rest in peace – but he’s an acquired taste. The lyrics are pure joy. It makes me feel instantly calm. If you’re a fan, every song of his is pure bliss.

The song I secretly like but tell everyone I hate

I love and hate 24K Magic by Bruno Mars at the same time. It’s cheesy as hell, but it’s a tune.

The song I can no longer listen to

I’ve absolutely rinsed Obsession by Omarion. I must have played it a million times. Now it doesn’t have the same feeling, I have to skip it.

The song I wish I had written

I Luv U by Dizzee Rascal captures my teenage years. Grime was everywhere back in the day. Everybody wished they were Dizzee because that song would set any rave off.

The song that changed my life

As a Nigerian, when I first heard Water No Get Enemy by Fela Kuti when I was about 23 and learned more about him – he’s a national hero – it changed my life.

The song I want played at my funeral

Gentleman by Fela Kuti. He talks about the fact that he’s not a western man and so does things in an African way. I love that he’s so unapologetically African.

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