Ranked No. 78 on Pitchfork Media's "Top 100 Albums of the 1970s"
Fela Kuti also known as Fela Anikulapo Kuti or simply Fela, was a Nigerian multi-instrumentalist, musician, composer, pioneer of the Afrobeat music genre, human rights activist, and political maverick. Over a decade after his death, vindication has come to Kuti, Africa's musical genius. AfroBeat, his gift to the world, is now an international staple.
Throughout his life, Fela contended that AfroBeat was a modern form of danceable, African classical music with an urgent message for the planet's denizens. Created out of a cross-breeding of Funk, Jazz, Salsa and Calypso with Juju, Highlife and African percussive patterns, it was to him a political weapon.
This disc is an overt response to the consistent harassment afflicting Fela Kuti's Kalakuta Republic in the early '70s under the oppressive Lagos authorities. The title track is a direct reference to an actual incident that occurred in which the cops planted a marijuana cigarette on Kuti -- who promptly swallowed it and therefore destroyed any evidence. He was then held until he could pass the drugs from his system — which miraculously did not occur when his fecal sample was then sent for analysis, thanks to some help from his fellow inmates. Because of the costs incurred during this debacle, Kuti proclaimed his excrement as Expensive Shit.
The album's B-side contains the metaphysical "Water No Get Enemy." It's a poetic, organ driven track, deriving its name from a Yoruban proverb that instructs on the power of nature. This song is Fela's encouragement to his fellow Nigerians, saying, essentially, that if you're working in tune with the universe, nothing can be done to stop you. Extending the point further: the world needs the black man, and therefore it needs Africa.
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